Wednesday, July 16, 2008

... there will be others (response to Andrew)

Charities are back in the news as the case of financial misappropriation by the Ren Ci hospital heats up. Dirty linen hung to dry so far are questionable million dollar loans drawn from the charities coffers, fraud and a 2 million dollar apartment that god only knows how a venerable abbot is meant to afford.

It would have to take chronically sick minds to profit off the chronically sick don’t you think?

In light of this development, Andrew over at TOC maintains the need for faith in such institutions and said “many charity organisations in Singapore who are doing selfless work in helping the needy, the sick and the poor. Thus, it would be sad and inappropriate to tar all these organisations with the failings of the few”. I have to disagree here.

Andrew makes a reasonably sounding argument but isn’t that the same line of reasoning used to defend top ministers when their underlings fail?

The mishandling of funds in nonprofit/charitable organizations is a systemic problem that rears its ugly head when (ironically) such organizations become too successful. We see the same problems with mega churches such as City Harvest and FCBC.

I believe all these organizations are formed with the best of intentions. But ultimately success gets to the heads of their creators who begin to believe they are deserving of lets say a high salary that is proportionately small to the amount of donations/funds brought in; sounds like ministerial salary hike justification doesn’t it.

Andrew further states “the heads of these institutions may have failed and abused the trust of the public but let us not forget that when we give or donate to these organisations, it is the needy, the sick and the poor that we are thinking of.”.

Yes we give in the knowledge or at least hope that our donations reach these needy, sick and poor. But when the majority of our contributions go to the fattening up of a few men and their cronies, faith in the goodness of man becomes blind faith in the ignorance of man.

1 comment:

Ee Chuan said...

As a volunteer myself, I sometimes feel it's better to contribute your time and effort rather than to give outright cash donations if you are unsure of how the money will be used.

Sometimes working directly with beneficiaries allows you to know that you are making a small difference in that one person.

That's good enough for me.