20 January 2009

Move on, shut up

Is it really in the public's interest that we shouldn't know about how civil servants spend their wealth? That civil servants should keep quiet about it? Is it in the public's interest that the police should have summary powers to chase people off the streets? Full essay.

17 comments:

yuen said...

senior officials are supposed to be a bit embarrassed about their personal wealth, which they acquire as the side effect of their public service, almost like an unwanted burden; if they spend it on luxuries, they should at least keep quiet about the experience

Anonymous said...

Chee Soon Juan and sister will just get incarcerated once they leave home.

Effective way of fixing the opposition, and more international coverage on the lack of freedom here.

I agree it is sad that we have far fewer liberties than Malaysia and Thailand.

Anonymous said...

To those who think how
civil servants spend their
money is their business - think
again.

There is an unspoken rule in
the upper echelon's of
the private sector that your
car must not be flashier than
your boss'. Petty - but this
is corporate etiquette.

In the case of the civil servant,
his boss is the people.

The civil servant knows what's good
for him when he accomodates his ministers pettiness. He should
accomodate his minister's ultimate boss too.

wing said...

I have a question that's bugging me. Why did the Straits Times publish the article knowing full well the furore it will cause? Was it really a slip-up and as a result, some senior editors will face a roasting? Or was it deliberate?

Anonymous said...

"Why did the Straits Times publish the article knowing full well the furore it will cause? "

I think the entire upper echelon of the establishment is as clueless
as the governing elite
when it comes to political sensitivity.

In cliched terms, they have lost
touch. Since being in touch is
now getting less and less necessary
to climb up the establishment ladder. Please your bosses, not
your social inferiors. Even
if they wanted to please their inferiors, they haven't had practice for so long that they have
probabably lost all their skills
in that area.

Anonymous said...

I would think it was neither a slip-up nor deliberate. The mouthpiece newspaper probably thought that since SM Goh already advised Singaporeans to spend to keep the economy going, why not just give it some support. But they did not contend with the extent of the unhappiness with the excessive show-off.

Lost Citizen

Anonymous said...

"senior officials are supposed to be a bit embarrassed about their personal wealth, which they acquire as the side effect of their public service, almost like an unwanted burden"

Yeah, this is one of the downsides
of the higher civil service.
But what to do? The money comes
with the job - just take lor.
If you really and truly want to serve, all that money should not discourage you.

Anonymous said...

The Perm Sec is taking his cue from LKY who was featured on Channel U sometime in 2008 eating a very expensive & lavish Jap dinner at his 2nd son's sprawling home complete with a swimming pool. The HK chef who prepared the Jap dinner flew all the way to Japan to bring back the fresh produce. The 2nd son supposedly paid for that lavish Jap dinner but who knows whether a discount had already been arranged since HK chef was getting such good publicity from the Mighty One.

So Perm Sec had to follow in LKY's footsteps & nothing less than that. A pity now that there will be no more ways to find out LKY's foot soldiers lavish lifestyles since it is now forbidden.

I think you can find some snippets of it on YouTube if you try.

With the new law on no protests in front of Parliament etc would that law be Selective as in a group of China construction workers decide to congregate outside Parliament, would the govt apply the same measures as against the Myanmese.
I think not cos Spore govt is afraid of Big Daddy China.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the way the PAP has done over the years- progressively tightening the noose around its opponents or potential adversaries with laws and regulations due to their domination in Parliament. The Old Man has made himself very clear - his brand of democracy is defined as giving Singaporeans the right to vote every 5 years; and in between, any electoral majority is interpreted to mean that the PAP has the mandate to do anything, without having to consult anybody!

europhia core said...

Dear YB man,

May I ask as it is ironical that I noticed you have been travelling often in recent days admist this economic downturn. Your website has been telling us so.

Please enlighten us. Hahaha.....

Anonymous said...

I will have to differ from Alex in his view that civil servants should not have high salaries. I think on the contrary, they should be paid as much as they are worth if they were to be in private sector. Civil servants are not charity volunteers. Why should we have a different standard for talented people in the private sector and talented people in the public sector. Paying good salaries do deter them from corruption. Whether we like it or not, we do live in a materialistic society and people do measure success by the amount of money one makes. Ministers are also Singaporeans. It will be unreasonable to expect them to not have the same Singapore dreams as the rest of Singaporeans. In my view, although we should place ministers and civil servants on a higher standard for integrity in terms of incorruptibility, we should not expect them to be all like Mother Teresas who have given up the materialistic ways for a more saintly path.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 28 January, 2009 23:49:

Top civil servants have their cake
and eat it too. Job security of
government service and private
sector pay.

And are we getting value for money?
Hongkong civil servants are paid
less. (I wanted to use Scandinavia,
but pro-government types like
to say that we have a "Asian context", we are such country bumpkins that we need a better
class of people to rule us than
Europeans societies need).

Anonymous said...

To Anon 28 January, 2009 23:49:

Why private sector?

Why not globals standards?

Let's do to top civil servants what
they are happy to do to factory
workers, clerks, delivery men,
janitors etc: unfettered competition from foreigners.

Get them lowly paid top civil servants
from well run public services in
Northern Europe and Hongkong. Get
the public transport top guys from
Taiwan.

Singapore "top" civil servants
are hilariously overrated.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how incorruptible Hong Kong civil servants are. But Singapore has been rated by world agencies as one of the cleanest countries in the world. Anyway, I have often watched Hong Kong triad movies where a crime syndicate manages to penetrate the police force.
Of course, we cannot use global standards because the top civil servants are living in Singapore and they will be judged by their peers in terms of Singaporean benchmarks of success. Look at the U.K. Recently, there were some parliametarians taking a fee from lobbyists for asking questions in the parliament. I am sure if the same thing were to happen in Singapore, it will create a major scandal.
Lastly, I will like to add I am not pro-government but pro-Singapore. I do not want to see Singapore sinking into corruption.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know how incorruptible Hong Kong civil servants are. But Singapore has been rated by world agencies as one of the cleanest countries in the world. Anyway, I have often watched Hong Kong triad movies where a crime syndicate manages to penetrate the police force. "

You must think that Chee Soon Juan's account of the behaviour
of our judges and policemen
are fairy tales.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, we cannot use global standards because the top civil servants are living in Singapore and they will be judged by their peers in terms of Singaporean benchmarks of success. Look at the U.K. Recently, there were some parliametarians taking a fee from lobbyists for asking questions in the parliament. I am sure if the same thing were to happen in Singapore, it will create a major scandal."

And I'm sure if that ever happened
in Singapore, our free press will
be the first to expose and make a big deal out it.

And I am sure studies have shown more Brits in Singapore giving up
their passports than Singaporeans
in UK giving up theirs.

Anonymous said...

"Lastly, I will like to add I am not pro-government but pro-Singapore. I do not want to see Singapore sinking into corruption."

Yes. Those lowly paid Scandinavian
civil servants are causing their
countries to be cesspools of corruption.