A Lost Generation; the passing of years in our generation is marked not by increasing wisdom and charitable behavior, but by the diminishing, or even negative, contribution one makes to society

Desi Anwar: A Lost Generation

By Desi Anwar on 2:01 pm October 19, 2013.
A friend of mine tweets his disgust at how the country is increasingly full of corruption. It is as if with the passing of time, the number of corrupt individuals around is actually going up, instead of going down. Surely it was not like this in the past? This actually makes perfect sense. Given the increase in the country’s population and thus in the number of people entering the age when they’re mature enough in their life and career to hold a position of power, then the number of those chancing to enter the corruption market can only increase.Perhaps I’m being facetious, but when you’re still in your twenties or thirties, the likelihood of getting entangled in corruption cases and shady dealings is a lot less as you’re probably still at a stage when you’re trying to build your life and career and far from the center of power and influence.

Reaching your forties and fifties is a different thing altogether. Then you’re supposed to be on the way to success or already become somebody or another. When you or your peers are at the peak of who you are as individuals and human beings, with enough experience behind you and still enough energy to be a force of positive influence in society. These are the years when we say with pride that our friends are bosses of such and such companies, owners of such and such businesses, important public officials, people of power, wealth, fame and success, etc.

Unfortunately, this is also the time in one’s life when things can go off the rails.

On the quotidian level, the normal for my peer is often anything but plain sailing. The women friends are either divorced, on the way to divorce, onto the next marriage, or those still in a marriage, are sandwiched between the expense of taking care of growing children now entering their college years and the equally expensive filial duties towards their aging parents, all the while trying to succeed in their career.

The men friends are equally destabilized domestically (divorced, having affairs, taking on a second wife, being found out having a second wife, having girlfriends of the same age as their daughter etc.) even as they become bosses in their companies, venture to start their own business and finally have the courage and maturity to pursue their dreams. Some are just realizing if they don’t make anything of themselves now, in their forties, they would not amount to anything much, as the job market is unkind to mature players.

The attainment of power at around this decade also exposes one to its negative influence. Power corrupts. Status blinds. And at the heart of success is the seed of failure.

Which makes it quite depressing when you look around and see that the passing of years of those in your generation is marked not by increasing wisdom and charitable behavior, but by the diminishing, or even negative, contribution one makes to society. Far from being the role model generation we’re supposed to be, we have become instead, a scourge for the young and the future of the country.

Indeed, there is something unsettling in the fact that when the people put in jail, got caught up in scandals and in corruption cases, having problems with the law, are increasingly names that you know or at least individuals you’ve rubbed shoulders with in the past. There is something unsavory in the idea that even as most of today’s young people are turning out to be smart, creative, talented and passionate individuals who care about the country, it is people of our age that are proving to be greedy, selfish and shameless.

Ah, that person. I knew him when he was still just an ordinary being. Very bright and smart. He became a high public official. Very important. A minister even. What, he’s in jail now? So is that brilliant woman I used to see at parties. Now she wears different clothes. As to that other woman, I remember her before she had that nose and those puffed-up cheekbones and bee-stung lips.

Desi Anwar is a senior anchor at Metro TV. She can be reached at desianwar.com or dailyavocado.net.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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