Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | June 12, 2010

This and that..

I think politicians everywhere have a tendency to cheat – be it in India or in New Zealand. Difference is perhaps the extent of cheating and the way society approaches the situation.

Recently, New Zealand has been marred by a corruption controversy surrounding politicians. Some politicians misused their official credit cards to meet personal expenses. Though most of them paid up those expenses within as early as six days of incurring them, still it is something they should not have done. The official credit card bill is paid by taxpayers’ money and why should taxpayers bear the cost of a politician’s personal expense? Even if that is for six days.

The Parliament and the news media are going full throttle on these tainted politicians. The general public mood on these politicians is that of disgust. What are these politicians doing then? If it was in India, the simple answer is they will deny the charges (say the likes of N.D.Tewari) and throw mud at others. Ultimately nothing will touch them or taint their careers. However, in New Zealand as I see it the reactions are a bit different.

The interesting case of famous politician Shane Jones is a case in point. Shane Jones has been accused of using the official credit card to buy and watch pornographic movies in hotels where he stayed. Since, his entertainment expense is considered to be in the highest of uncivilized category, of course the focus on him is the most. There are jokes floating around about him along with serious comments about his audacity. I was watching an interview of Jones on the television the very day when the controversy broke out. I think the interview can be found here

In the interview the journalist asked Jones about the accusation. Jones was not only quick to admit it but made it very clear that he is ashamed that he has done such a disgusting and a potentially self-destructive act. He said that though he has ultimately paid back but still he has nothing to defend his actions. He apologized with very straight face (not emotional at all) and said he will do everything to redeem himself. Jones also said that he is having trouble in the family after this controversy broke out but he is trying desperately to apologies to people whom he loves, his colleagues and supporters of his party. He said, he will not quit and is ready to face any punishment.
Since, I come from India I was surprised. These things don’t justify the cheating etc but in India something like this has never happened and I doubt will ever happen. Perhaps Jones wanted to get sympathy by owning up to his actions, but whatever may be the ulterior motive to me it was surprising to watch.


For the first time, I am in a country that is playing World Cup football. More than that, there are so many people around me who have representation in the event – New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Serbia, Germany, Australia, England, USA, South Africa and probably many more. We are 1 billion people in India but sadly we probably will not play in World Cup football in my lifetime.



  1. New Zealand are actually playing well. They almost gave Italy a run for their money. As for India qualifyinhg….bigger miracleshave happened…so…..why not?

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