Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kurakot here and everywhere

Pinoys complain about corruption or "kuarkot" in Filipino; in government and due to desperation some believe that in other countries there is no "kurakot". As a Pinoy who has traveled and lived overseas, I hate to say this but there is kurakot everywhere.

The latest National Geographic Magazine (NGM) has a feature on Nigeria's oil and the political unrest it has spawned. This hits home to all Pinoys overseas and homebodies since not a few of our professionals working in that country had been kidnapped. The abductors are part of the insurgency movement that the NGM features. In Nigeria, 50 years of oil revenue has not a bit improved the lives of Nigerians in the oil producing regions. The end result is environmental damage and political unrest. The oil gobbling world would rather look another way. Nigerian light is the world's best. (Shades of beer?)

Corruption is also a big issue in Louisiana. Many Americans believe that this US state is the most corrupt in the Union. The locals have joked to me about it in a way like us Pinoys do, like the tale that "a state official kept bribe money in a freezer filled with crawfish". To verify, I googled "corruption" and "Louisiana" and voila, I came upon heaps of op-ed pieces and FBI statements (made for public consumption of course)! The FBI's chief honcho in the state described it as "epidemic, endemic, and entrenched. No branch of government is exempt.". Sounds like my own government.

But to be fair, it isn't Louisiana. A National Press Club commissioned report listed Missisippi as the number one. Eeeks, that's just across the state line.

Louisiana has attracted attention due to Katrina and the damage it brought upon the state. Of course the state has to ask for billions of dollars from Uncle Sam to rehabilitate New Orleans. Some politicians on Capitol Hill are against infusing more funds. This is the fare of the political table nowadays.

A wag also correlates civilization with artful corruption. It seems that in this wired world, the way to do that has changed. Once a nod would suffice, now we have an electronic trail. So the conclusion, civilization has gone down the drain!

Nonetheless the crooks still go to jail even in Louisiana. Even with slick defense lawyers, justice can still be done. That's the difference between the Philippines and Louisiana. The only people sent to jail for graft in the Philippines are government employees who stole a few thousand pesos.

Louisiana Pinoys joke that if the Philippines still wants to become a State of the American Union, then we should look at Louisiana.

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