Big or Small Fish – Does it Matter?


Our society is no stranger to the Schadenfreude philosophy as public take delight in the rise and fall of prominent figures and this is not unusual.


A German word, Schadenfreude is derived from Schaden (adversity, harm) and Freude (joy) which means ‘pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others’.

Because ‘bad news sell’, the media constantly ride on this philosophy to attract the public’s attention to increase its sales and readership.

To satisfy demands for bad news, unscrupulous parties with go to great lengths to pick a famous fall guy and openly cast him in a bad light to see him fit to be judged by the courts of public opinion.

However, there are drawbacks. Cases undertaken by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are now categorically discriminated as those involving ‘big fishes’ and ‘small fries’.

Usually, ‘big fishes’ refer to prominent personalities and public figures while the ‘small fries’ are those deemed to be too insignificant to face the limelight.

And the public hungers for ‘big fishes’ to be caught while cases deemed to involve ‘small fries’ are trivialised.

For instance, some are of the opinion that MACC’s on-going campaign against bribe-givers and the current probe on illegal loggers and smugglers target only the ‘small fish’. This is truly faulty thinking.

One could only imagine what would happen if serial traffic offenders bribe their way to avoid punishment or drug addicts pay off law enforcement officers to get off the hook?

The whole country would be in chaos if people could buy their way through to escape the long arms of justice.

Also, illegal loggers would have a field day bleeding Mother Earth’s resources dry as they are able to get away scot-free if they pay off well-connected individuals.

Thus, the public ought to be rid of the ‘big and small fish’ misconception as any and every corrupt act is morally and ethically wrong.

There can be no compromise when it comes to corruption as it destroys the nation as a whole.

The question is how far would we go to fight corruption in all areas, irrespective of individual and sentiments, to avoid bequeathing a broken legacy to our children?

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