Friday, 9 October 2015

The modern day Marcus Licinius Crassus of Malaysia

I was reading The Rich: From Slaves to Super Yatchs, A 2000 Year History by John Kampfner when I came across these two paragraphs:

He may have been the richest of them all. Marcus Licinius Crassus was the ultimate oligarch who used the nexus of wealth and politics to become one of the most powerful figures in the Roman Republic.  He was the man of his times, when corruption was an art form, when violence, politics and profit were rolled into one. This was an era of rapid economic growth, with wealth flowing in from newly conquered lands.  Friendships and enmities, loyalties and betrayals, could be bought and sold. The elite were at it all, but some were more successful than others. His skills have proven transferable through the ages. He would have felt right at home in ……………in which ruthlessness and greed were regarded as inevitable parts of public life.


Crassus used his cash to make himself indispensable. He would house senators and fund armies. In doing so, he managed his reputation to the top. Through cunning and endeavor, rather than any particular skill, he came to dominate Rome, alongside his longtime rival, Pompey, and the precocious Julius Ceasar. These three would later be known as the First Triumvirate.  

Much have been written about Crassus over the millennia but reading Kampfner describing him in these lines made me think of his modern day reincarnation in Malaysia. The Romans, according to the great moral philosopher Plutarch, say that the many virtues of Crassus were obscured by his sole vice of avarice. I think fellow Malaysians would agree with the Romans regarding this particular leader in Malaysia that his many virtues are now being obscured by his insatiable greed.

Who is he? Who is the first person that came across your mind ? I'll offer a treat to those who get it right. 

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