When courage is a virtue

One must have spirit and spunk to execute tasks only for good reasons and not otherwise.

SIR Winston Churchill once said that courage is all that it takes to stand up and speak and courage is also all that it takes to sit and listen. I would like to share my thoughts on the topic COURAGE, a value which is very much related to the ethics and integrity of any person or organisation.

In this context, my focus is on moral courage rather than physical courage. Writer Ambrose Redmoon looked at courage not as the absence of fear but rather as the judgment of something more important than fear. While author Mark Twain saw courage as the resistance to fear and English author Samuel Johnson regarded it as “the greatest virtue of all for unless we have this value, we will not have the security of preserving all the other values”.

In relation to what these great people have to say about courage, I would like to reflect on my personal experience in tackling bribery. This is to inspire other school leaders to embrace the virtues of courage, honesty and integrity.

In 1996 I was given the unenviable task of turning around the Tawau Technical School in Sabah. This school had a long-standing reputation for being a failing school scoring only 28.28% passes in the Secondary School Certificate Examination. With such poor academic results, it was clear that the whole management of the school needed reengineering. It took me lots of courage to enter the school not knowing what to expect.

The most terrifying moment was when a notorious man demanded that the school pay him for projects that did not even take place.

As he talked roughly, he placed two fingers on the table and started tapping them. Puzzled, I asked him what it meant. He said that it was his gesture of offering me commission if I were to pay him. Two fingers had signified 20%. Upon seeing that I would not accept his bribe, he turned violent and threatened to kill me speaking in Hakka ngai sart ngi!

At this juncture, I gathered enough strength and retaliated aggressively. I jumped up to meet the challenge, demonstrating as if I was going to wield Chinese kungfuand shouted Sart! (Kill!)

by  MARY YAP.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Education/2014/11/09/When-courage-is-a-virtue/

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