Not a community leader if you put your interests before community‚Äôs

Sydney, 7 July, 2018There are too many community leaders around us. All you need to do is to register an association and become a community leader. It’s an easy job. This itself is not a problem, if you want to help people and do some good things for the community. The problem is when you form an association to serve your personal interests and you have nothing to do with community work or interests. If you do this, you become a con man. You do what you are not supposed to do, and you don’t do what you are supposed to do. Let’s see what is happening in our own community. In Indian Australian community, we have many associations and many community leaders. Many community leaders turn into “journalists” to stay relevant and to get invitations from the Consulate and Government agencies. Some of them turn back into community leaders again after a few years. Many of these “leaders” are into things, which have nothing to do with community interests. Some examples are;1. Contesting elections for MP seats or Council seats, while holding positions in their community associations, which, by rule, are non-political organizations. In 2016, three community “leaders” did exactly this in Chifley, Cumberland and Parramatta area. Whether they had ability or not is a separate matter, but their dismal & performance is an indicator of their worth as political candidates.2. Calling yourself as an “independent” candidate, when you are a card carrying member of a political party. People are not fools. They saw through this game and refused to support this type of “independent” candidates. 3. You put pictures of top leaders in your event posters, without these leaders’ approval and without a guarantee that they would be attending your event. This is not only a false advertising, but it’s also unethical. 4. You raise money purportedly to help the family of a deceased, but don’t care to establish the need for financial help from the family before collecting the funds. You do worse, when you don’t return the money to the donors, after knowing that family doesn’t need the money. This is clearly illegal and wrong. Using pics of the deceased in your fundraising posters is not an acceptable behavior. 5. Lying and falsely claiming something, which you are not and haven’t done are your standard operating procedure, thinking people are fools and wouldn’t know about it. 6. Not doing any AGM for 4 years and not presenting financial reports to the members and Department of Fair Trading, while roaming around looking important as community leaders. 7. Allowing close family members as part of the executive committee and ignoring the concept of conflict of interest, and receiving membership fees into the personal accounts of the leaders, instead of the official account of the association. 8. Not having any idea or understanding about ethical behavior & governance, as is the case with some associations and community leaders. 9. Swindling and “wasting” of hundreds of thousands of your association’s funds, without any accountability, and getting away from the misdeed because the co-leaders are braindead and grossly incompetent.That’s not all. There are some who sell Visa sponsorships. They take $50K for sponsoring a visa. This is an illegal activity. It’s a crime in Australia to seek benefit (cash or kind) for sponsoring a visa. It is punishable with up to 2 years prison term and up to $300K fine. It appears that this illegal activity is the only business for some of the community leaders. The fraud is compounded by these con men by appearing to be “connected” and influential as a result of being seen in pics with top political leaders like ministers, Premiers and Prime Minister. As we know, having pics with Chief Ministers (Premiers) and Prime Minister in India is very difficult and is generally taken as an indicator of influence and being highly connected. Some associations and community leaders have given, and still give, “role model of the community” awards to scammers and fraudsters. This they do after getting some money from the scammers.Things are very frustrating and upsetting.There is a need for reflection matched with commensurate action here. Our community needs to look into community associations and should start asking questions from community leaders and community associations. We must make them accountable. We mustn’t allow such community “leaders” to damage the name and reputation of our community. We know that the vast majority in our community is that of decent and upright people, but we also know that a minuscule minority is capable of killing our reputation and good standing in front of the broader community.Before it’s misconstrued that my post is painting all associations and community leaders with the same brush, let me make it very clear. My intention is not to bag a good number of associations and people running them, because I know they are doing wonderful work, without being in the forefront. I admire them and am grateful to them. What I am concerned about is the growing number of selfish and self-seeking people, masquerading as community leaders, who are dragging us all down. Dr Yadu Singh http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSinghwww.twitter.com/dryadusingh