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8/07/2011

The changing ethos of govt officers

The story of a permanent secretary driving around in his old 1.6 Japanese jalopy was legendary. Those were the days of thrift and leading by example. I remember a govt link company CEO was only comfortable with a 2000cc Mercedes Benz. Anything above was seen as flaunting and undesirable. A GM actually got a bollocking when he ordered a 3 litre limousine. That was seen as unbecoming. Thrift and propriety were important values to observe.

The ethos today is quite different. Not only is a 3 litre limousine common, some even flashed around in Lamborghinis and Ferraris. These are things that were frown upon in the good old days. I am not complaining as we have climbed the ladder of economic prosperity and what is a 3 litre car? It is time to enjoy our hard work and our success. Who would dare to announce a $50k cooking class in Paris then?

The ethos of new is to be who you really are. We need to announce that we have arrived. Perhaps it is also a dignity issue. In those days, a permanent secretary’s title is enough dignity to carry a long way. There is no need to show the pay slip and the number of zeros behind. Respect was more easily achieved and earned, and was real. Today, you need to be a billionaire to be respectable, or at least earn a million a year. Just flash it in the face of whoever and there will be instant recognition.

The ethos of the day is always set by the leaders. Monkeys see, monkeys do. Good example and exemplary behaviour at the top will be carried downwards. When the top is senget, you bet the bottom will be too.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Admist the recent talk about the increase in fares for our public transport, one must say that our MRT especially, is really a most convenient, efficient and hassle-free way of travelling around in our island country. And so many places of interest catering to one and all, at the doorsteps of these stations.
On occasions, one can also see respected personalities, like some medical consultants, waiting for their trains at Novena station. Cheers

Anonymous said...

The Ethos of older days were humility and frugality. It was the Mores of most society in the past.
Materialism seeps into our cultures and flaunt, vaunt and taunt become the norm.
Now we have acquired howlian'(boast and brag) on top of 'kiasu'(do not want to lose) and 'kiasi'(afraid of authority/power and superior).

Anonymous said...

Talking of ethos, "I don't know what to say." There are now so many facets to it. In the past social and traditional ethos were simple and straightward and the norms and values were accepted and practised as they were. Even the slightest deviation would raise eyebrows. I would say it was the same for national and political ethos.But as time past and with many highly respectable political stalwarts leaving the show, the ethos of right and wrong was bent and shifted and justified at the whims and fancy of the power that be. In the past we know what is right and what is wrong, what is black and what is white. The cynical words and actions of politicians in power have befuddled the people. But now the power that be behaves like a chameleon. It can shamelessly do all the wrong things and yet go on to justify their unethical crooked actions. The frequent change of electoral boundaries is definitely wrong and unacceptable to the people. It is downright a clear cut case of defiant and cheating. Disqualifying an opposition party's GRC candidates in an electoral district with the most irrational reason is clear cut cheating.If the government of the day cheats, what ethos can it pass to school children and teachers and to the public in general. The practice of suing opposition members to bankruptsy and destroy their families is not only highly immoral but outright brutish. It is tantamount to telling the people to kill and destroy their opponents. Is stealing a crime? That depends on who is stealing and how you do it. A case in point is the legalise self satisfying and self gratification of high insane salaries of ministers, MPs and President. Another case is the immoral takings from defenseless motorists in the indiscriminate erection of ERP gangtries and outrageous ERP charges. Isn't that legalise robbery? In fact there are so many other cases," I really don't know what to say."

SG

Anonymous said...

Part 1
Politicians making a mockery of the National Pledge.

Part 1
Let us examine the words and lines of the pledge and see how the political leaders make use

of it to hookwink and deceive the citizens and thus making a mockery of the Pledge. "We

the citizens of Singapore pledge ourselves as one united people". Yes, the citizens are

united as one united people, but what about the politicians. The political leaders have

shown very bad example in using insidious methods and divisive ways to divide the people

and rule . The PAP leaders do not give due respect to opposition parties and has always been

using all kinds of unthical and hard methods to destroy the opposition leaders. The

opposition politicians are also citizens, does the PAP need to destroy them just because

they have different approaches or ideas to run the country. Why does PAP threaten not to

upgrade and provide services for

constituencies which do not vote for PAP? Aren't the residents of those constituencies also

Singaporeans who also pay the same tax and contribute to the security of Singapore? Why

does PAP especially LKY call Singaporeans who not disagree with PAP policies daft? Is PAP

and LKY very sure those Singaporeans who go along with every PAP policy without

thinking or analytical thought not daft? Shouldn't the ruling party and the opposition

come together as one united people after each General Election. Can't the PAP leadership

be more magnanimous and generous in spirit so as to reflect the true spirit of the Pledge -

"as one united people." No party can assume to have the Mandate from Heaven to rule

forever." That goes the same for PAP. In retrospection look what happened to the Roman

Empire, Napoleon, Hitler, British Empire and now the Evil Empire - USA. The trouble with

PAP is that it leadership thinks that Singapore is its own private property and that its

leaders and the rich and influential are patricians while the rest of the by and large ordinary

Singaporeans are plebians who shouldn't have rights and say in the government. What a

dangerous and arrogant presumption? That goes to show clearly that the PAP policy and

selfish approach has always been working against the desire for a "united people."

Anonymous said...

Politicians making a mockery of the National Pledge . Part 2
"To build a democratic country, base on Justice and Equality."
How democratic is Singapore and where is justice and equality when there is no level

playing field in politics? If the ruling party can use all kinds of high handed tactics to cow

the opposition and use veil threats against its citizens to frighten them into submission,it is

not democracy but demoncracy and dictatocrazy. "Justice and Equality." Do we have that?

The people can't have enough injustices and inequalities to cry to the Little Emperor. Now

they are crying to Heaven, only if Heaven has ears. Why are jobs indiscriminately given to

'Foreign Talents', be they manual or intellectual jobs. Throw a stone any where with your

eyes close it is bound to hit a FT. Just walk into any government department like hospitals,

schools, immigration, security and other administrative services and there you will find a

large percentage of FT. Even the private sectors are following the government lead and so

the banks and business houses and the building industry are employing disproportionately

large numbers of FT. It is sad and lamentable that DBS, OCBC and the strategic SGX are now

under foreign CEOs. These institutions were founded by Singaporeans and ran by talented

Singaporeans very successfully for decades. The previous American CEO of DBS closed large

numbers of POSB branches and caused depositors especially children to lose collectively

millions of dollars. Under the same American CEO, DBS sold toxic American financial

products to depositors or Singaporeans thus causing them to lose hundreds of millions of

dollars. There was no justice when these ignorant victims were either not compensated or

hardly fractionally compensated unlike in Hong Kong where the victims were fully

compensated. MAS which allowed banks to sell the toxic American financial products

instead of holding the ultimate responsibility added insult to injury by saying the victims

bought with open eyes. It is tantamount to scolding a victim of an armed robbery for

allowing a robber who is armed with a knife or pistol to rob him. I understand the same

American CEO caused DBS to lose almost a thousand million dollars in bad investments. Yet

after serving three years of unflattering service as CEO of DBS,he was allowed to walk away

with a scintillating reward of about twelve million dollars. Was it a reward for incompetency

and failure? It was throwing share holders' money down the drain. Do you call that justice?

Are Singaporeans really that 'daft'?

Similarly the present CEO of SGX a foreign talent who had hardly put in a year's service has

caused SGX to lose ten million dollars in service charges for a failed takeover of ASX, the

Australian Stock Exchange. He had also introduced the controversial Dark Pools trading an

untransparent system of big US cum Western syndicates operated by crooks and scoundrel

s under the guise of respectable bankers and stock brokers in black coats. This will not only

put the local investors to great disadvantage but also cause havoc to our stock market. And

by introducing high speed - split second computer trading to the big foreign syndicates he

is virtually converting SGX into a CASINO. It seems this FT CEO will also be rewarded with

many millions of dollars for his questionable service. Again what justice when under his

watch our stock market is reeling and the remisers are yawning with no business.

Anonymous said...

Politicians making a mockery of the National Pledge. Part 3
"Justice" is now a word to be frowned. Pension scheme is taken away from dedicated Civil

Servants who put their whole life service of Thirty or Forty years in the job . On the other

hand Pension is installed and given to any minister or MP for life even if he has served only

for eight years or so. Worst still all MPs treat their position as part time and they sit on the

board of many listed companies as directors and are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Isn't there a conflict of interest and all at the people's expense. Isn't it an anomaly that

taxpayers have to serve these shameless ministers and MPs for life in paying them an

inapprehensive high insane pension of hundreds of millions of dollars. In the meantime

hundreds of thousands of Singaporean workers are under paid and can hardly make ends

meet. Do you call that justice? Are Singaporeans really that "daft?"

Every year the government collects billions of dollars in road usage taxes , COEs and ERPS.

Why must the government keep on indiscriminately putting up ERP gangtries in every

nook and corner and collect unreasonable ever increasing charges from defenseless

motorists at every odd hour of the day- morning, day and night. Has the authorities gone

berserk over people's money? They 'suka, suka' take people's money whatever, whenever

and wherever they like. You call that justice. If so retribution must surely follow.

"So as to achieve Happiness and Progress"
Are Singaporeans happy especially the poor and middle class? They are burdened with

high PUB charges and high unaffordable HDB house prices. Both PUB and HDB make a few

billion dollars profits every year. Why must PUB make excuses to increase charges every

now and then? HDB can definitely lower the prices if it is not insanely obsessed with huge

unreasonable profits. The same goes with public transport. Is it necessary to burden the

workers with fare increases every time though SMRT and SBS are making huge profits in

the hundreds of millions. Of course it goes without saying the politicians especially the

ministers , president and MPs will undoubtedly have happiness and progress with their

high salaries and pension for life of hundreds of millions of dollars. Hope the public review

salary panel under Gerard Yee will be reasonable and keep their ears to the ground so as to

adjust politicians salary structure more closer to reality or else it will forever fester in each

and every coming General Election and that will be to the disadvantage of the current

ruling party. The annual total salary from the PM or president to the ministers should vary

from not more than 1.2 or 1.5 milliom to half a million or three quarter million dollars. In

fact the president should only be paid a nominal honourarium of one hundred thousand

dollars only for doing just a ceremonial job without responsibility. Finally The Salary Panel

must be bold enough to recommend the withdrawal of pension for politicians in order to

be in line with the Civil Servants so as to really achieve Fairness, Happiness and Justice for

one and all in Singapore. Only then can we dare to say Long live Singapore and hold the

Singapore Flag up in pride and righteousness and recite every word and line of the Pledge

with pride and sincerity and without mockery.

sg