Honesty and Integrity


I don’t know what’s wrong with me recently. While shopping in China last year, a woman offered me 45 Yuan for a T-shirt and I counter-offered her 50 Yuan. She agreed immediately of course, but Mike stopped me from purchasing.

This morning after jogging, Mike passed me a ten-dollar note for my vegetarian beehoon. I knew I had a red note and when the stall lady gave me back the change of only $2.30, I asked her how much was my beehoon. She replied that it was $2.70. I told the lady I gave her $10 but she denied it, pointing that there was no ten-dollar note in her bin of notes. I returned to check with Mike and he confirmed that he gave me a ten-dollar note. He then went up to the lady and told her that he passed me a ten-dollar note. She had the same excuse but agreed to return me another $5 grudgingly.  Mike thought she had been dishonest as he had seen her putting two $5 notes into the bin moment before.

After that, I went over to the fish ball stalls to collect the noodles for the rest. She handed me the packets and said $5.60. I gave her $7 and she gave me back 40 cents. Confused, I went over to Mike again and asked him how much he had given me. He said $7. I asked him, how much change should I get back for $5.60? He became annoyed and asked what’s wrong with me. Feeling sheepish, I went back to the lady to get back the extra $1. She apologised.

The thing is, I don’t usually bother how much change I get back. I trust that whoever I deal with is honest enough to give me back the correct change. Thus, I am puzzled by this morning incidents.

Had the vegetarian lady really intended to cheat me? Had she been doing that to many unsuspecting customers? Why then was my ten-dollar note missing from the bin as she had claimed?

I have been trying to teach Aaron honesty and integrity. He had witnessed this morning incident and I felt compelled to stress to him dishonesty does not pay. I would never patronize that vegetarian stall again.

Yesterday, I also highlighted to him the case of the ‘Celebrity Hair-stylist’. If you have not read, a certain hair-stylist claimed he had done Nichole Kidman’s hair and even had a photo taken with Nicole Kidman at the back of his name card. When confronted by the press on another similar photo of Nicole Kidman with a director, he finally admitted and apologized for his misconduct. A moment of folly?

Sometimes, a moment of folly can change a whole family’s life. A classmate whom I have not met for a long time recently caught up with me. She confessed she had not wanted to meet me, just in case.

In case of what?

Well, her husband had been convicted of fraud and had left her pregnant and penniless, with another toddler in hand. She had been ashamed to meet me in case I had read about it in the papers.

I had not known but it would not have matter. She was not the one convicted. Just a moment of folly by her husband and it affected the whole family.

I hope Aaron learns from these real life lessons. There is no need for dishonesty when one has the ability.

And I? I need to do my Maths.

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About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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3 Responses to Honesty and Integrity

  1. I also like that one. Sometimes, when we go to Cleveland or Buffalo for grocery shopping, a few Indonesian friends would like to “Tompang”. When it comes time to calculate, e.g., I would round $1.49 to $1.50, $1.88 to $2 and when the total is say $22.80, I would just say “”Kira, kira twenty-five dollars, lah!” But then when they give me $10, I would not dare say it’s only $5 and say there is no “red one in the bin”. If I do like that, I think we would lose all our friends.

  2. hahaa! Vicky…this subject matter is my pet! i have all along champion on honesty and integrity ! But never forget the world is an entity of different characteristics of people. Put it simply and like a conundrum people with people, people against people.

    In my earlier blog entries, I wrote more on wellness, integrity, honesty and a simple good life. You may like to just browse through it. Only lately or rather for the better part of last year, more on political commentary.

    In true essence, honesty and integrity, is like common sense, cannot be taught. You have it or you don’t…Our parents never taught us to be dishonest and we must hold our dignity an integrity! Then, where do we learn to be otherwise??

    I put it, it is all in the very person’s character and the thought in one’s mind…it is either ‘the devil or the deep blue sea’…both are as uninviting…!

    Just hope you understand the ‘maths’ of it, as you said. Never be too trusting to people. Even your best friend may take advantage of your naivety when you are least aware. You never know?….Stay cautiously engaging.

    We definitely learn more as we move onto the complexities of the human world…the animal world is so much ‘safer !!’ if you understand what I mean. Regards

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