Friday, June 19, 2015

Free Money

One has to be blind to miss the sweet young thing (SYT) stationed at the ticketing terminal to help the senior citizen (SC) redeem the $50 Public Transport Voucher.
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!
SYT: !!!????!!!

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.

26 comments:

  1. Don't you even suggest that it is vote buying. It's all perfectly legal. Even the Ministers get to collect the bonanza.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is vote buying a kind of bribery?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The legal definition of pork barrel:
      used in reference to the utilization of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes.

      Delete
    2. Porequisites of the job!

      Delete
  3. Wah...it must be a once in 50 years kind of one-off achievement where they receive 2.6% yoy growth man!!!
    So impressed. Is it courtesy of the 5th airport construction works , or the real productivity increase due to the wage increase that contributed to it huh?

    Since is all a mind reading exercise, I am guessing that it
    is because the Games of Throne season is about to start. Power is a very powerful aphrodisiac, and the electorate would certainly learn and get to see valuable lessons when they inject more talents into the contest.

    IS for their own good, really.

    ReplyDelete
  4. $500 can offset another 5 years of mis-management and screw-ups meh?
    Give you one drumstick for one day.
    You give back 50 chickens over the next 5 years.
    True or not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. many people can't see this ... sigh.

      Delete
    2. $50 to cleaners. $500 to CS. More $ to Pioneers...wow, so much free money that we not actually raiding the reserves at all. That's for rewarding all those people who shed their tears to queue up and send off Ah Gong. Not to mention revering his god-like status. So many people so deserving.

      Just take lah. Giving you $50/$500 now, in exchange for $50k or $500k in your CPF retirement funds..is better than a drumstick deal man. They just need to annoint more NMPs especially those with very "sound mind" who will then ask you --Is CPF really your money? After all that top ups , is it REALLY your money?

      LOL..this kind of tactics never fail to work.

      Delete
  5. Civil service a cost centre? It collects more monies in the form of taxes, levies etc than it can spend, So it is a profit centre.
    It justifiably can use the profits to reward its staff so that they can be incentivised to work harder to collect more taxes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just answered your own question.
      CS "collects" , not "generate" monies.
      You bill and cost taxpayers money to maintain and upkeep the administration work going. You should be lean and mean. Not big and expensive.
      In banking terms, you would be called Operations and moved to 3rd world low cost centers in Bombay or MY or Philippines by now. Which is what most off-shoring has happened.

      Delete
    2. Civil Service is now Collection Service, complete with their own version of 0$P$ thugs. Late in payments? Repossess flat. Late in town council charges? Go to jail.

      Delete
  6. The strategy is so obvious and blatant now.
    Just like the SEA games closing ceremony, since 30% of ticket holders didn't give us a "guaranteed show up" ergo made us lose face with empty seats in front of broadcast camera, so we decided to give it away to volunteers and members!! Too bad you got shut off and outside the stadium.


    Now since voters can't give me guarantee, better give my loyal servants lah..guaranteed full house.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those 82,000 beneficiaries are already votes, strong-backing votes. I think they are losing them, esp since 2011. That's why all these $500.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not enough to go to France for cooking lesson leh.

      But can blow it on one meal at a quality sushi restaurant with a family of 4.

      Delete
  8. If PAP can easily take our tax monies and distribute freely like this, how much more freely will they dig into our coffer for self-enriching purposes. Don't count on our well fed, tamed president to do the check and balances.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Khaw is going to promise that every new HDB house built will have 2 kitchens - one dry one wet. Can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about every household get one $8 heart bypass?

      Delete
    2. So what is Khaw and his ilk gonna do with the $500 largesse that they give to themselves? He obviously needs this like he needs another hole in his heart.

      Delete
  10. I think when it comes to fixing the oppositions, these decision are made without memos or papers, under a advice of a foreign banker of electioneering consultant from DC. You may actually see some of the children working for them as a favor.

    ReplyDelete
  11. If it's so easy to give all CS $500, why is it so hard to give the poor a $500/year raise? Where are the basic morality and humanity?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Because we only eat once every 5yrs. Then we go back to suspended animation until the next election wakes us up to pick up the next $50 and vote them in. Personally, we should look forward to 2065 to pick up $100, to commemorate 100years of national political and spiritual suspension.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Here in Sin, our big spending Emperor thinks nothing of spending S$1.47 billion on the Changi Jewel, an artificial garden. Now he distributes money like confetti to the Civil Servants. Greece has 12 days to repay the IMF 1.5 billion Euros, or else. You want him to help your economy, or for that matter the whole cabinet, you're welcome.

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  14. They take full credit when economy "grows" (actually its just pumping taxpayers money digging holes in grandiose projects like Jewel), but takes no blame for sub par growth in the recent past. I remember "top" civil servants took only a halt to auto pay rise in the 1998 crisis, but no such generous gesture in 2008. Times have changed, mercedes and other luxury cars line the "reserved" car park lots of many ministries and stat boards. They no longer "serve" the nation,instead they serve their political masters and behave like elites. When an MP openly say you cannot pay them less than market or else they lose respect in the eyes of the leaders of society, you know that the civil service is essentially now a commercial arm of some "unseen" group serving their private interests.

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  15. Time to vote in a new government.

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  16. Its warp logic and poor justification to reward CS $500- because of disputable growth 2.6% in the economy.Statistics is how they interpret them.
    We had double digits during the 70-80s but I didn't see workers getting a single cent then.
    If we can't see thru this pork barrel, then we are blind.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This situation also happend when you exchange money with "non verified" exchangers. Even small fee counts when the amount is big enough.

    ReplyDelete