[OPINION] From our ancestors to modern leaders: the story of corruption

This article first appeared on The Conversation.

Corruption has existed since the Egyptian dynasty and still persists in almost every country around the globe.

After huge corruption scandals in Malaysia and Brazil, Indonesia has just witnessed one of its regions losing more than 90% of its councillors as they are implicated in graft cases.

Looking through history, corruption seems inevitable.


The Oxford Dictionary defines corruption as “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery”.

Corruption originates from a Latin word: corruptus. The word is the past participle of corrumpere, meaning “mar, bribe, destroy”.

Corruption is as old as human history. The First Dynasty (3100–2700 BC) of ancient Egypt noted corruption in its judiciary.

The practice also existed in ancient China. In Chinese mythology, every household has a Kitchen God who watches the behaviour of its members. A week before Chinese New Year, the Kitchen God ascends to heaven to present

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