Not out of ideas 1: Civil servants on hamster wheels

by Shihang

Wow. I got an email today from someone commenting on a couple of suggestions I wrote up a little less than 2 years ago. I think they hold up pretty well, I mean. It was written in the wake of the 2011 general election, so some of the more topical suggestions may not be so biting, but given that the government has not implemented ANY of my suggestions (come on, people), I think it’s far to reiterate my call for a better Singapore.



A Manifesto for a Better Singapore

Or the only way left is up.

“Truffles steamed and served in diluted Milo taste like shit”. – Yeap Choon How

Anybody with half a brain can see that our government is delivering us to hell in a hand basket, knocking on the gates of Pandemonium, and personally hand-delivering a message to Satan asking him to bugger us repeatedly with a pitchfork. Sometimes they try to convince us that we are not actually headed to hell; we are actually on a trip to Disneyland, or a Justin Bieber concert! Sometimes, they don’t even bother and just tell us that we’re going to see the Satan and if we complain, we’re terrible terrible people. Either way, we generally tend to obediently nod, bend over and take off our trousers.
Not anymore. This manifesto outlines a suite of policies that offers a real alternative that promises equal opportunities for all by sharing the fruit (not fruits, dullard) of our prosperity in this period of uncertainty.

Welfare: Transforming the civil service
One thing the PAP says over and over again is that Singaporeans are self-reliant. The second thing the PAP says is that in this period of uncertainty, Singaporeans definitely need strong government to weather the storm. The third thing the PAP says is that we should stop slouching, remember to wee-wee if we really need to and take breaths at regular intervals.
This party avoids this contradiction: we do not believe that Singaporeans are self-reliant at all. A truly democratic government listens to its people, and our people are saying that they want money. Hence, we propose that we give a lot of money to a lot of people, as (1) they need it, and (2) we want to be re-elected. We promise to be responsible about this money, and propose that we pay for this hand-out by eliminating all civil servant and MP pay, reducing carbon-dependent energy by 20%, and buying a lot of hamster wheels connected to electric generators. About as many hamster wheels as there are civil servants and MPs in the country. We finally have a use for the party whip.
We are all in this together. Civil servants, the dedicated servants of the country they are, are happy to sacrifice some of the benefits they have enjoyed in the past to power the country through these uncertain times. The reason we choose our beloved and well-respected civil servants for this task is comparative advantage. After all, they do have company gyms and fruit vouchers. We reassure our civil servants that their beloved hierarchy of power will be preserved in this new arrangement: the hamster wheels will differ in size and build.
Our party is committed to developing local talent for careers in the civil service, but we are arguably more committed to giving people money in exchange for votes. We justify this using a utilitarian ethic: giving a lot people a lot of money generates more net happiness than giving some students too much money. The civil service must not be afraid of change. It must develop capabilities, foster mindshare and maximise value-add. Hamster wheels are an indispensable part of the civil service of the future.