Monday, April 06, 2009

Of Pay and Other Matters.

So. My pay got cut.

It was expected as the civil service cut back on it's payments to staff due to the economic recession. (I'm not afraid to use the word and let's call the spade a spade shall we?) It was not as bad as I thought it could have been but the impact is certainly felt. With two kids to put through nursery and a house renovation under way, it would certainly have been better to have more money than less. And I think that anytime there's a pay cut, it feels bad. (A pay revision however is always welcome...)

So anyway, my pay got cut...but I don't really mind.

As I mentioned before, it's nothing new and it's something that I've been anticipating for a while. As civil servants, our pay should move along with the economic trends that affect our nation. After all, as civil servants, we serve the nation. That's our lot and that's what we need to accept. The one thing that really spurs me on to feel this way is that the $xxx that we get less a month or the $xxxx less that we get through the year will after all go toward worthier causes, right? There are people who are a lot worse off than I and I would like to say that we got a pay cut so that we can help others in need? That others do not need to be laid off? That by forgoing that (relatively) little per month, someone else can put food on their family's table? Those are the thoughts that help me to placate my (obvious) disappointment over the cut.

There's been a lot of scrutiny of civil servant pay, and I think that a lot of the anger and the frustration is certainly justified. There is a certain line that would certainly have been crossed when one considers the fact that what some of us earn a month will pay for the living expenses of a family (or several) for a year. I for one would have loved to see Mr French Cooking school sacrifice his $45000 vacation to buy dinner for every single person in his constituency. In sounding out my own frustrations over those practices, I realised that I would be totally hypocritical if I cried out for the pay cuts of those above me and ended up hoping that my own pay wouldn't get hit.

So here I am. Smaller paycheck...non-hypocritically saying that it's a good thing we're doing.

And think about it: If we can cut the pay of civil servants by about $100 (at least) per month, with a total number of about 60000 civil servants (ballpark figure...) working at the moment. That adds up to about $6000000 a month in savings? $6 million dollars could do a lot of good for people. $6 million dollars a month could buy a lot of food for people who can't afford their three square meals. It could mean more subsidized health care. It could help to save jobs. There's potential there.

I just hope that my (imposed) sacrifice will mean good things for Singapore. Despite my cynicism, I still believe that we do have a duty to those among us who have had bad breaks. And I think that because we have chosen to serve the nation, we should take the lead in helping out.

So here I am, tightening the belt because it's all for the greater good. I just hope that it does, at the end of the day, mean something to someone who needs it. And not go into the pockets of some undeserving shmuck who already earns too much money.

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