Successful and well-off Singaporeans may not want to serve in government because it is no longer an appointment of prestige and pride

I refer to the article “The more successful Singapore is, the harder it is to attract political talent: Chan Chun Sing” (Channel NewsAsia, Jul 22).

It states that "

Bharati: Is it more about the money than anything else?

Chan: I don’t think it’s about money per se, but when you are in the late 30s and early 40s, in the private sector, that is the stage whereby you hope to achieve your personal aspirations, not so much about money but the contributions that you can make. But you’d like to prove yourself at that stage. By the time you reach the late 40s and early 50s, and you have been a very successful private sector personnel, it is also not often easy for people to just cross over to the public service sector because you would have a certain lifestyle, a certain social circle of friends, and so forth. So it’s not so easy. The way of working may need to be adjusted, and there will be some challenges.

But having said that, I think we are constantly on the lookout for people who have done well, and at the same time, would be prepared to come forth to serve the country. Even if it’s not in the early 40s or late 30s, or even in the late 40s and early 50s, we are on the constant lookout for it. You can never be satisfied with your diversity, and every day we challenge ourselves to see whether we have any blind spots and that is something we have to do on a continuous basis.”

No longer an honour and prestige to serve?

My friends say that it used to be an honour and prestige to serve in government – when you would be greeted with respect and cheers always by whoever you meet or wherever you go.

Highest paid in the world – not something to be proud of?

But now, you are arguably, increasingly greeted with ridicule and shame that members of government are doing it more for the money – perhaps arguably, the unintended result of being the highest paid in the world.

Least transparent and accountable – shameful?

Coupled with being arguably, one of the least transparent and accountable governments in the world – who in his right mind would want to serve in government if you are already successful and well off financially?

Ownself check, pay, decide ownself?

Ownself pay ownself highest – ownself check ownself – and now ownself decide no need to check ownself – has made it an embarassment for successful Singaporeans to even contemplate serving in government!

The above – my friends say one!

Your views please?

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my friends?


Leong Sze Hian
A.S.S. Contributor

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