Corruption & the Deadly Sins

International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December 2006 marks three years since the signing conference for the United Nations Convention against Corruption was held in Mérida, Mexico in 2003. We support the movement, with the hope that the will be embezzled fund can be used to improve quality of public services and people welfare, among others.

When we talk corruption, normally we directed our fingers towards government officials. People staged demonstration in front of government offices and vented angers to the head of state for doing lousy job to curb rampant corruption.



I believe that's not fair. The culprits are not only government officials, and the responsibilities shall be shared. Besides, we’ve been protesting and shouting for years with little effect. Is there any other way in combating corruption?



Indonesians are familiar with mo-limo, a Javanese teaching on the five deadly sins.

  • maling (take other people’s belonging, stealing),
  • madon (act of extra-marital sex, adultery),
  • madat (act that cause loss of mind, drugs),
  • minum (act that cause loss of mind, drinks),
  • main (act that lot fate, gambling),

People are born with complete set of traits, good and bad, including mo-limo. Parents, neighborhood, social circles, education, reading and viewing habits, may affect people tendency to certain element in the mo-limo.

Nobody’s perfect. A person can be strict on one thing but very lenient on others, influenced by repeated experiences and the way he or she interprets and reflects to the situations.


High class corrupters can be very tough in dealing with drug abusers, such as some of judges; true gamblers do not cheat nor steal money; drug users may hate liquors; drinkers do not take drugs; women chasers hate corruptors, and so forth.

Some of those who staged demonstrations to hang corruptors are those who were strongly rejected pornography bill that would curb pornographic act.

Can we eradicate mo-limo from earth? We can’t, of course. Hence eradicating corruption is just a slogan. What we shall do is to control the magnitude by introducing completely transparent processes, systems and procedures. Reward and punishment shall also be improved and executed.

Corruption, as well as the other mo-limo elements, is a complex social and moral problem. We shall not hate corruptors, and other sinners. They are just human. We just need to deal with the root causes and work on it, one by one, day by day.
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