The Unlucky Minister’s Guide to Gift Etiquette

Dancing Through Corruption: A Socratic Comedy on Integrity

By Plutonix

Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran resigned after facing corruption charges yesterday, as confirmed by the prime minister’s office, marking a historic development for a city-state that prides itself on maintaining a squeaky-clean government, reports CNN. The allegations against Iswaran   include accusations that he received gifts totalling more than $119, 000 from Malaysian billionaire Ong Beng Seng in exchange for advancing his business interests. These purported gifts encompassed business class flights, luxury hotel stays, tickets to the F1 Grand Prix, English Premier League matches, and West End musicals. The former minister has pleaded not guilty.

In the bustling agora of ancient Singapore, Socrates, the venerable philosopher with an affinity for questions, found himself entwined in a discussion about corruption, integrity, and the unexpected humour that can accompany such weighty matters. Joining him were another politician Eshwar who resigned amidst corruption charges, the ever-punny Cleophantus, and Moris, a thoughtful visitor seeking insights from distant lands and who brought a fresh perspective from Mauritius, a country grappling with its own challenges of corruption.

Welcome to “Dancing Through Corruption: A Socratic Comedy on Integrity.”

Socrates – Wise philosopher and lover of questions
Eshwar – Politician who resigned amidst corruption charges
Cleophantus – Curious citizen with a penchant for puns
Moris – A thoughtful citizen from a distant land
ACC – Anti-Corruption Commissioner in Mauritius

 Scene: The agora in ancient Singapore, where Socrates, Eshwar, Cleophantus, and Moris engage in a philosophical dialogue about corruption, integrity, and the lessons learned from various experiences, all peppered with a touch of humour.

Socrates: Greetings, my friends! Today, let us embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries of corruption and integrity, infused with a dose of humour. Eshwar, pray tell, how do you navigate the treacherous waters of gift-giving?

Eshwar: Ah, Socrates, the perilous path of presents! It seems I need a manual on Gift Etiquette for Dummies.

Cleophantus: (grinning) And what about a sequel, “Bribery for Beginners”? It could be a bestseller in some circles.

Eshwar: (laughs) Let’s focus on ethical bestsellers, Cleophantus. Lessons in virtue rather than vice.

Socrates: Eshwar, you faced accusations of receiving extravagant gifts. Were they perhaps wrapped in shiny paper with a bow?

Eshwar: (chuckles) If only, Socrates! Perhaps I should have insisted on plain brown paper to avoid such scandals.

Cleophantus: (innocently) Or better yet, gift cards! Nothing says transparency like a piece of plastic with a predetermined limit.

Moris: (joining the banter) In Mauritius, we might consider coconut shells as gift containers – eco-friendly and scandal-resistant.

Socrates: (stroking his beard) A commendable idea! Now, let us ponder the challenges faced by Mauritius in the realm of integrity. How do you, ACC, keep the Commission unswayed by external pressures?

ACC: (with a twinkle in his eye) Socrates, we equip our investigators with an armour of wit and a shield of scepticism. Plus, a mandatory daily dose of laughter to keep the spirits high.

Cleophantus: (laughs) The world could use more anti-corruption stand-up routines!

Eshwar: (nodding) Indeed, laughter is the best defense against the dark arts of corruption.

Socrates: Eshwar, what advice can you offer Moris in navigating the complex landscape of political influence?

Eshwar: Well, Socrates, perhaps they could introduce a “No Bribes, Only Punchlines” policy. A good joke can be mightier than a political connection.

Cleophantus: (grinning) And if all else fails, they can hire stand-up comedians as integrity consultants!

Moris: (joining the laughter) A brilliant idea! A nation united by laughter is a nation resistant to corruption.

Socrates: (with a twinkle in his eye) And what of Singapore’s lessons for Mauritius in building a resilient system of integrity?

Eshwar: Singapore, my friends, is like a well-oiled machine of virtue. We nurture leaders who understand that the real Grand Prix is the race for integrity.

Cleophantus: (winking) So, no need for business class flights when you’re flying on the wings of moral high ground!

Eshwar: (laughs) Precisely, Cleophantus. We aim for a government so clean that not even a speck of dust can find a place to settle.

ACC: (joining the jest) In Mauritius, we’re aiming for an anti-corruption force so sharp that even corruption trembles in its presence.

Socrates: (smiling) Let the wisdom of humour guide your efforts, my friends. In the pursuit of integrity, a well-timed joke can be as powerful as the sword of justice.

Moris: (reflectively) It’s heartening to see humour intertwined with wisdom. In Mauritius, we often say, “Laughter is the best medicine, especially for corruption.”


Socrates: (nodding) Wise words from Mauritius! Now, let us explore the role of public perception in the fight against corruption. Eshwar, how does Singapore maintain the public’s trust amid allegations and controversies?

Eshwar: Ah, the delicate dance of public perception! We believe in full transparency. We’re like a fish tank with no secrets – well, except for the fish’s clandestine meetings, of course.

Cleophantus: (laughing) Fishy business indeed! But how do you handle the skeptics who think the fish might be involved in some underwater corruption?

Eshwar: (grinning) We invite them for a tour of the tank. Transparency at its finest!

Socrates: And what of Mauritius? How do you ensure the public sees the ACC as a force for good?

ACC: We embrace the power of social media. We’re considering launching an ACC TikTok challenge – dance away corruption, one viral video at a time!

Cleophantus: (chuckling) A dance revolution against corruption! What a time to be alive!

Moris: (smiling) Laughter and dance – perhaps the antidotes to the poison of corruption.

Socrates: Eshwar, your resignation amid the charges speaks volumes about accountability. How does one balance personal integrity with the demands of public service?

Eshwar: (thoughtfully) It’s a tightrope walk, Socrates. But personal integrity should always take the lead. As for the tightrope, we’re considering installing safety nets made of integrity. A bit bouncy, but much safer.

Cleophantus: (with a grin) A circus of ethics, complete with safety nets and dancing elephants!

Socrates: Eeshwar, your sense of humour remains intact despite the challenges. Now, let us consider the lessons for Mauritius in nurturing leaders who prioritize integrity.

Eshwar: Moris, my advice is to create a leadership academy where integrity is not just taught but danced, sung, and performed. Let the leaders be virtuoso musicians in the orchestra of honesty.

Cleophantus: (chuckling) A symphony of integrity – the sound of corruption fleeing!

Moris: (with a smile) An academy of virtue! I shall propose it to our leaders. Perhaps we can have integrity poetry slams too.

Socrates: A poetic approach to ethics – a delightful suggestion, Moris. As we conclude our discourse, let us celebrate the power of laughter, dance, and wisdom in the pursuit of integrity. May your nations be guided by the light-hearted spirit of virtue.

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 19 January 2024

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