Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Of Salaries and Bonuses.

Perhaps it's best to say that I really have some self interest in this topic before I begin. When I heard that civil service pay was going up being adjusted, I was quite happy. Yes, granted that it probably was because the ministers really decided that they wanted a larger slice of the pie, but that also meant that as a civil servant, my spending capacity would be increased as well.

What was interesting was that sometime in the weeks between the announcement and the subsequent declaration, I heard a sermon about the injustice of the income gap between the rich and the poor. And that it was the way of the world and not what should be. It gave me food for thought.

I'll have to admit that the reasons that I gave for the gripe over the proposed ~100% increase in ministers annual salaries was largely based on sour grapes. I mean, we work hard for what we achieve, it's common for all Singaporeans. So why should ministers get paid so much? Broken record. Over and over.

But when I really thought about it, I came to the realisation that we haven't really done all we can in Singapore. There are still the poor and the destitute in Singapore. They're around us even if we don't notice and they certainly are living in the shadow of our prosperity. Swept under the rug and forgotten.

And that nailed the niggling doubt that I had over the proposed increase of civil servant salaries.

In patting ourselves on the back for a job well done we have, in a sense, just told the poor that they really don't matter. Should we as servants of society really be rewarding ourselves so richly when the rich-poor divide continues to grow? Should we be saying that the progress that has left people behind is a good thing? Can I really say that the extra 3-5% that I'm getting is deserved?

Because when I see stories that tell of people living in one room flats not because they choose to, but because they can't afford to do any different, I really start wondering if we have done such a good job after all.

I think that we've still got a long way to go as a society. As mentioned before, we are economically successful, I will not begrudge our dear MM that. But I would like to believe that success is more than that.

I have to.

So while I grumble away about my measely pay increase, I'm going to keep this in mind. We've still got a long way to go. And I'm going to make that change happen.

After all, I have the impressionable youths in my hands. I might as well make use of them.

And I might, after all, mould the future of our nation.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post. well said.
~ rook (too lazy to log on)

Wed Apr 11, 12:49:00 pm 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh, ministerial pay democracy: for the ministers, by the ministers, of the ministers.

Sat Apr 14, 11:03:00 pm 2007  

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