Almanack: Golf is good for you, honest

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The Independent Online
GOLF has been under fire recently, with honesty under debate in clubhouses all over the country. But last week support came from Malaysia, where the country's top civil servant encouraged government officials to take up golf to boost efficiency and honesty.

'Many officials have picked up the game,' Ahmad Sarji, chief secretary to the government, announced, 'and office performance has not been affected.' Ahmad, who was speaking at the end of a tournament for farming sector civil servants, went so far as to suggest that honesty among civil servants could be instilled through the sport. 'One could be tempted to cheat when the ball hits the rough,' the top bureaucrat admitted, 'and this is where integrity and honesty are tested, even if the game is friendly.'

Cynics have suggested that Mr Sarji is defending civil servants from government accusations that they spend too much time on the course during office hours. Nonsense, says Mr Sarji. Why, the game even teaches economics: 'The sport is about economy of strokes,' the club-toting Mandarin suggests, 'and one has to be efficient to keep the number small.'