08 March 2011

From civil service to political service

If the leaders of the People's Action Party have been more than truthful, their star recruits for the next election will feature senior civil servants such as the former chief of the army and other permanent secretaries, directors, and assistant directors from various ministries.

Prepare for their bundling into strong Group Representative Constituencies, where their ascension from civil service to political service political mastery will be accomplished on the coattails of popular ministers and senior ministers of state.

Prepare for the attempts to convince that these senior civil servants have earned their right to take charge of public policy, that they have exhibited the skills to lead Singapore as the fourth generation of PAP's leaders.

If you have read my previous post, you'll understand that like Wall Street and its increasingly well-educated financiers and their complicated toxic instruments, the Singapore civil service produces increasingly well-educated bureaucrats who have honed to an art the skill of producing improbable KPIs.

In the Singapore civil service, success is measured through how creatively its bureaucrats can create creatively skewed KPIs. The more educated and scholarly the civil servant, the darker his arts of creating such toxic instruments. This trend will continue as long as Singapore's bureaucracy continues employing expensive, highly educated scholars for fast track promotions.

To allow the continued ascension into heaven parliament of Singapore's senior civil servants is to reward their innovation of inventing KPIs and statistics that have less and less correlation to the base reality. In time (if not now), the map will bear no relation to the territory, the statistics will bear no relation to what they measure, the representation of Singapore will bear no relation to anything existing in Singapore.

Senior civil servants are a dead-end product of Singapore's meritocratic system. Do not expect solutions or initiatives from them. I strongly urge the electors to strongly reject PAP GRC slates that include recent senior civil servants.


Anonymous said...

Vote for civil servant = vote for SAME old shit for the next 5 yrs

Anonymous said...

The world of the private sector is a talented person's oyster . Only deadwood and conformers work in the CS

akikonomu said...

I'm not sure but at the fresh graduate level (baccalaureate and masters level), the civil service pays a premium over the private sector. At the junior college level, teachers and career guidance counsellors still encourage top students to sign up for bonded scholarships, no?

Paul said...

Outstanding analysis!

I have worked all my life in a stat board which is now "corporatized" and you are absolutely right! KPIs which have no relevance to the real situation on the ground are set and amazingly enough achieved just in time for mega-bonuses for the bosses!

That is what we got in our ministers who just received 9 to 22 months bonuses for achieving a GDP growth rate more than 10X the increase in median income!

From http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/faculty/michael.brandl/main%20page%20items/Kennedy%20on%20GNP.htm

Robert F. Kennedy on what GNP means.

Below is a quote from Bobby Kennedy on what the Gross National Product means and more importantly what it does not mean. He would have a made a fine economist...

"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968