SC: Can you tap the card twice to credit $100?
SYT: Cannot lah, government very clever one.
SC: Okay, lor. BTW, congrats on your $500 bonus.
SYT: What $500 bonus?
SC: Didn't you get the memo? It's in all the newspapers.
SYT: Aiyah, that's for full time staff only.
SC: But you are also serving the public, what!
The Public Service Division (PSD) justified the one-off bonanza by explaining that the Singapore economy grew by 2.6% on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2015, faster than the 2.1% growth in the preceding quarter. You don't need Accounting 101 to appreciate that the civil service is a cost center, not a profit center. Surely the productive elements in the private sector - whither in construction, manufacturing or sales - deserve the ex-gratia pay-off more. After all, the windfall is tapped from their income taxes and other monetary contributions to the economy.
Not having worked a day in the public service, it's best to let someone else explain the anomaly:
"Do you know how government make decisions whether it's regarding what to teach, interest rates, defense, welfare all the stuff that impacts you? Middle management hears a [insert word for sound of odoriferous discharge from anal cavity] from a minister and tries to guess what he means. Doesn't want to ask in order not to look stupid. He doesn't know what to do, so he asks the most junior guy to write a paper. The junior guy does his best and the paper floats up to his head, it bounces back an forth a few times between them, then it bounces to a director then a few times with another higher up. There are many layers. By then, it is morph into something completely different and it gets implemented. A senior guy once told me that writing papers and second guessing your boss correctly is key to success. Practical experience, actual care for serving the interest of Singaporeans actually a detriment."
(Thanks, anon@6/18/2015 4:15 AM)
Sceptism aside, there has to be method to the madness. Those 82,000 beneficiaries could easily translate into votes.