What our corruption looks like

Corruption this, corruption that! From the highest ranks of government to the lowest thugs on the streets, the "C" word is constantly cited as the reason our country will never flourish to its full potential. But don't look to the typical apathetic citizen for solutions, as a 2011 Abac poll found that 64.5 per cent of Thais find corruption acceptable if the government can make the country prosper. And even if you find this ethically degrading, I'm sure all these so-called morals go out the tinted window when you're in a situation where some purple or grey notes can easily get you out of a bind.

So how much can corruption actually affect us?

Well, a lot, if you believe recent statistics released by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), quoting a study by US-based Global Financial Integrity, which found that an average of 192.6 billion baht illegally flowed out of Thailand between 2001 and 2010. This absurd amount was income from corrupt practices such as crimes, the drug trade and tax evasion.

So how much can corruption actually affect us?

Well, the money that we illegally lost could have been spent on...!

- Buying 11.7 million 16GB iPads for students around the country instead of the crappy tablet PCs the government purchased.

- Building 1.24 Suvarnabhumi Airports, basically meaning we could have constructed a whole new airport with money left over to hire a logical architect who could make the terminals less confusing to navigate and the runways sturdier.

- Covering the cost of 123,461 students to complete a two-year MBA programme at Sasin University to help our youth's education and perhaps shape more ethically sound businesspeople.

- Gifting 17,198 people with a Mercedes-Benz S500 Sedan so that we could look more like an affluent country instead of one where passengers are almost falling out the back of a pickup truck.

- Purchasing 2,569,199 Thai Airways one-way business class tickets to Copenhagen, Denmark, which was ranked as the least corrupt country in the world (tied with Finland and New Zealand) in Transparency International's 2012 index of the least corrupt countries.G

About the author

columnist
Writer: Sumati Sivasiamphai
Position: Guru Editor