Our Readers' Opinions
February 10, 2006

There is a howling ‘HOLLOW’ within!

With songs of praise and shouts of acclamation the world over, the name Professor Wang echoed in my head like a beating drum. This brilliant South Korean cloning scientist had achieved a landmark break-through in stem cell research. With the real possibility, at long last, of finding a cure for dreaded diseases like diabetes and cancer, I bubbled over with eager expectation. Indeed, Professor Wang’s accomplishment took possession of our hearts everywhere.{{more}}

But Then!

The news broke like an earthquake. The so called “break-through” was a fake. It was unbelievable as Professor Wang’s research and scholarship were acknowledged to be a continuous exercise of a ready and perfect obedience to academic excellence and the attendant ethics. Now at the very pinnacle of fame and esteem he stands out disgraced and humiliated.


Although there is something of the Scribe and Pharisee in all of us, finesse in cheating is fast becoming a virtue to be cherished. To be found out is the sin and embarrassment. The unrelenting search for stardom and instant recognition has produced forced-ripe imposters who refine and spread their synthetic vices as if they are values.

Not alone

In the world of sport, drug taking has reached epidemic proportions. It is who can use the better drug. That is what the competitive edge is all about. So just to be a hero or heroine the conscience is put to sleep and the director of conduct becomes the falsity within. So too in the fields of business, the trades, the professions, the church and in everyday “flesh and blood” real life, cheating is on the rise.

Story of Gertrude

One is reminded of the story of Gertrude in Andre Gide’s “Pastoral Symphony”. Gertrude was born blind and became attached to people in her blindness. When later in life she got sight through an operation, she made two remarkable discoveries. One was the extraordinary beauty of nature; the other was the misery and deceit of humankind. Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” probably says it all, “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”


Yesteryear, civics was a subject on the curriculum of primary schools. The early moulding power of education instilled values of honour, dignity and decency to oneself, others and country. The old-time Gazettes when advertising for a headteacher required a person who could mould the pupils spiritually, culturally, morally, aesthetically, socially, physically and academically. That was the charge but no longer now. We now set our mores, values and standards according to what the majority decrees. The inviolable core standards of discipline, hard work and decency, among others, are ravaged and savaged for there is no ultimate foundation in ethics.

True source

The true source of our power springs from own strengths – at least so we think. On a closer examination, despite our great accomplishments in the spheres of science, technology, business and sport among others, there is a howling “HOLLOW” within. You and I owe it to ourselves to check ourselves -the sooner the better!