Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Education of a high flying civil servant.

I hope Karen Tay will in a couple of years time come to appreciate that this is not a "..even more exciting to be working in the service..."

People's lives are at stake here. It is too serious to be exciting or fun. Yes, you will be excited, have fun and be seriously challenged but the sense of responsibility and the seriousness of the task may not make you always feel excited because you cannot be playing with people's lives.

Karen will probably make it to the admin service. I hope by that time her superiors would have taught her the right perspective.

The trouble with all these young high flyers is that they are too focused on their personal achievement and career building. They start their careers on the wrong track and must be guided toward the ethos of service. They were too young to learn from Dr. Goh about 'holy orders'

All well and good but I think also too idealistic. We can only guide as many as possible in the path of service. Far too many cannot be persuaded or trained but yet their talents are needed. Therefore the standards of governance must always be kept high. Voters must keep standards high and be difficult to please.

I expect a busier CPIB in future. Can't be helped in a environment with a corrupted sense of what is success. I applaud Peter Ong, the head of the service on his message on weeding out corruption.

Update: Found this as a I turned the pages of today's ST. This is better than nothing. Of course if you tell these scholars that they will need to spend much time on the ground, I wonder how many might choose not to take up the prestigious scholarships. In this sense our education strategies have failed, but in mitigation almost all other societies have also not succeeded. Precisely history is littered with tragedies of revolutions because their best and brightest were too self seeking.....I am afraid now they will be inventive about appearing as servant leaders. Appearing only. Voters must be educated and not be conned. Don't forget that bad apples keep good apples away, but we get the leaders we deserve.


  1. It is a oxymoron to tell the CS to not be afraid of making hard (unpopular) decisions but the other hand, they should listen more (populist) to the people's feedback and input. Agree it is a hard balance to tread but let's face it, the last 40years of unequivocal blind trust that we have place on our policy makers has to some extent yielded us some really bad results. Results that only 10-30 years down the road that citizens can fully realize the good/bad of it. And as far as I can see, CS talents is directly proportional to how much they are paid and inversely proportional to how much responsibility & accountability they have to take.

    You cannot expect to get 'buy in' from public, or for public to make an intelligent decisions without coming forth with more data & decisions transparency. Something they are still in their 3rd world mentality.

  2. The problem with the civil service especially the admin service is that they are cut from the same cloth. If you try discussing national policy issues with some of these people, you realise that they have very similar views and vision for our country (groupthink?). At first glance that may sound very good but think again, that means they are all dangerously one tracked mind. For example, many of these people cannot imagine life without the PAP. Why not? Didn't we learn from history that no regime will last forever and if that is a given, and the civil service does not provide for the contingency of a change in ruling party, wouldn't that be a very dangerously short sighted civil service? The responsibility of the civil service is much greater than your political masters even like you to think. You don't owe them a living. Your job is to ensure that the country continues to be managed and run seamlessly through good times and bad while taking policy cues from the ruling party. Just look at the British civil service: the civil service wouldn't bat an eyelit when a different party wins the general elections. Next day the civil service continues to work with whoever has taken over 10 Downing Street. If the head of the civil service has not prepared all of you for this mentally, then each of you better learn to get used to that sooner rather than later because the better you are at managing change, the better it would be for our country. Political party can come and go but the civil service must be there to manage the day to day affairs of our country. Please start keeping your ear to the ground if you have not started yet. You are employed by the people of Singapore and you owe your allegiance the nation above anything or anyone else. Please keep up the standards for all our sake.

  3. That is why Civil service "scholar" can come out with tourist ads asking Aussie to "Get Lost". And recently saw another stupid smoking ads from HPB "I QUIT" and have to read those small little wordings to find the reason behind those quit. I thought the guy decided to "QUIT HIS JOB". All these advertisments from "scholars" were dangerously low class and absolutely lousy.