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"Integrity is the essence of everything successful"- Richard Buckminster Fuller
We often hear people spilling out quotes and words on integrity but what is integrity?
Given a bowl containing white and black beads,and if you're told that the black bead will corrode the white ones, and were asked to discard the black beads,it would easy to do so as they are easy to be identified and are distinct from each other. If these beads signify the rights(white) and wrongs(black) in life,we are more likely to get a lot of grey beads along with some black and white beads. The question is,how do we separate them from right or wrong?
I happened to come across this problem personally just recently. As of 24/4/2014,I'm an undergraduate in Technology University of Malaysia (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia). I'm fortunate to be bestowed with a full scholarship throughout my studies here. In the agreement,it says that I should not posses any other scholarship or bursary or any form of financial assistance of monetary nature.
PTPTN is a student loan in Malaysia that aims to provide financial support for local students in their tertiary education. However,the criteria says that I should not be holding any scholarships. This idea came to me that I could apply the student loan as a cheap loan to leverage my portfolio. Of course,this is strictly speaking,not allowed. However, just like some witty lawyers, I reckoned that PTPTN is,technically speaking not a scholarship but a loan and if I could somehow bypass the PTPTN side(I have actually figured out the killer plan but it is very technical), it is very possible for me to take up the loan without both my sponsor's and creditor's consent. It may not sound like much but a cheap loan of 28,000 MYR at only 1% per year is a very tempting offer. Imagine if I could compound them at only 20% per year? I would have 58,060 MYR by the end of my fourth year. More than enough to pay back the loan + all it's interest.
It all comes down to these thoughts of "it can be done. Besides,I'm not harming anyone,I'm just borrowing money and I will pay it back once it's done" vs "It's not correct morally and ethically". So I went around asking other people's opinion,and to my surprise,it is agreeable to most people. Probably because Malaysians are so "smart",we tend to look at the matter as this, Is it worth losing the opportunity to make 30,000 MYR almost risk free in the name of self imposed principles and life values?
Then I came across these posts by one of my role models,Ken Chee (Singaporean Entrepreneur,Also in the field of Investment,very inspiring person,in fact,I learnt about the quote by Buckminster Fuller from him). He likes to write a lot about life values and life wisdom. But one word that he likes to mention is, Integrity. This word made me ponder for a while, I kept on hearing this word,even learnt about it in our moral classes during my primary schooling days,but what is it really? The definition below is what I found upon searching it on the internet. The first keyword made me feel ashamed of myself at that instance,Honesty.
I believe the world is a shady place and in order to influence the world and not otherwise,one has got to hold tight to his own believe and principles. When I had that plan and was about to carry it out,I was not feeling well, why? It's almost risk free,what do I worry about? I believe I know what I was worried about,Death. The death of my moral values,the death of my integrity and the death of my ability to separate between what is right vs what is wrong. There are many ways to reach our dreams,but no matter how tough it is,we must persevere through it without losing ourselves. Today,I'm tempted by this opportunity to misuse the student loan,tomorrow,I might receive an offer to reveal "confidential company data". But I believe I will be able to make better decisions tomorrow for I have learnt Integrity.