Are Singaporeans obliged to be grateful to public servants?

Minister Chan Chun Sing ended his speech to public servants on 5th July by urging them to not be disheartened if people fail to show appreciation.

“I know sometimes it may be discouraging, and it might feel like not many appreciate what you have to go through,” he said.

The Minister seemed to be making the point that public servants go through hardship and Singaporeans are therefore duty bound to show their gratitude.

What hardship do they endure?

Are they not doing what other gainfully employed Singaporeans do – an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay?

It is rather odd – and outmoded – to adopt the stand that those in public service would feel discouraged if Singaporeans do not show appreciation to them.

Furthermore, how are Singaporeans expected to show appreciation? We pay for services, we make relevant requests in the course of interaction, we say ‘thank you’ if necessary. What other forms of appreciation are there for Singaporeans to embrace?

If anything, it was the government which did a disservice to teachers – one of the most important categories of public servants – when it implemented season parking charges. It is just the sort of thing to demoralise and dishearten the very ones who deserve special consideration.

Teachers work long hours beyond the standard working day. Public sentiment is that they deserve better than to be made to pay for parking.

So when Chan Chun Sing talks about showing gratitude to public servants, he ought to remember that the government has to take the lead because it sets the direction and implements the policies.

Having given teachers a slap in the face by making them pay for parking, he now turns around and asks public servants not to be discouraged if people do not show appreciation.

The Minister is once again trying to be too clever by half. Passing the buck to Singaporeans is just not cool and not the right thing to do.


Augustine Low

* The author is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.



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24 Responses to “Are Singaporeans obliged to be grateful to public servants?”

  • I dun trust this gov anymo:

    I think he’s also refering to this 4Gov.
    They may be waking up to feeling the sentiments on ground level -among citizens..
    Just have to read alternative news websites’comments(mostly negative) …plus that glaring incident re Min Indranee Rajah vs elderly citizen’s snub, at the hawker ctr..!
    But still i doubt much will change with these 4G numbskulls.

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  • Always Remember:

    Civil Servants is a term that applies to everyone and anyone paid by tax dollars.

    We grateful to all FRONT LINE civil servants that do the grunt work.

    These people have no choice but to follow stupid rules, do dirty work, say hurtful things and as a result have to take flak from the public, just so to feed their family.

    Don’t let million dollar ivory tower “servants” hijack the narrative.

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  • No more chances left:

    “Nobody appreciates us or says thank u for all the good we do for sg and sgs”.

    I feel thats what he was thinking too.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    Perhaps Minister Chan is suggesting that the public show appreciation by giving ang-bao when seeking any service from the civil servant. The more you give the more it is appreciated!

    @Minister Chan was that what you’re trying to say?

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  • Bobo:

    “I know sometimes it may be discouraging, and it might feel like not many appreciate what you have to go through,”
    Greedy seah, indeed very greedy. Turning Singaporeans into low class beggars and slapping them with all kinds of taxes and price hikes yet want them to lick and appreciate? There’re tons of PLP already, not enough meh?

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  • Bapak:

    When they are not transparent, non accountable, made out-of-the-world statements, ownself declare ownself innocent, bringing in so many foreigners to steal out lunch, keep shifting the withdrawal age of CPF, Indian can be Malay to disqualify a Chinese candidate to hide their shames and making live so difficult for the poor, you expect appreciation? Where are your sense of proportion & responsibility to the people? Your arrogance is beyond this world, we cannot accept.

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  • oute:

    Asked the Transport Ministry (LTA) officials – what hardship did they go thru..

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  • Gan Loong Ching:

    Looks like one potential PM successor sabotaging another.

    Sorry Ong YK, there goes your chance to take the PM seat. How could you not appreciate the hard work of teachers? You know how many teachers out there? No votes for you. No votes to sit in parliament. How to become PM?

    Masterstroke by Keechiu!

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  • Topics For The Dumbos:

    They shamelessly asked and paid themselves the world’s highest salaries while creating a huge mess of this country. Far from being grateful to voters, for giving them decent jobs, they come around talking and preaching nonsense, all should be persecuted for legalizing corruption and keptocracy.

    These self entitled greedy hypocrites must be brought to justice when change happened.

    Servile EX reporters of Shittytimes and shitty media, pap apologists, should stop writing such Useless articles of little value.
    If these bastards are not doing their jobs , then they shouldn’t be paid and shouldn’t be there, lest talking about “gratefulness”

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  • rukidding:

    Shame on Mr Chan !

    When come to salary….you people can so quickly compare yourself against the private sector and therefore “justify” your Obscene Salary increment ?

    Somehow,…you ( the very same)…”forgot” that in private sector…it is “hire and fire” inorder to get “best result” for the Company !

    Civil servant today are still much like an “Iron rice bowl” job,..and most civil servants work environment these day are BETTER than Pte sector…and what more when every now and then you hear someone “away” on another “short training course” again ???????

    Many of these staff are infact “not true blues” and are “foreigners” these days … do you expect them to understand our culture and emphatize with those in need of help ?

    Gheez…how you expect Pte sector to “have that kind of time and $$$$”???

    What more when Civil servant “tends” to “think” that “they are the ones with the “power and say” and are “protected by ah kong” ??

    I think ,…Mr Chan is “out of line in his thoughts and duty to the public”

    What a Shae ! ….Looks like you all want to have your Cake and eat it all too ?

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  • pap clown and deputy clowns:

    the title does not make the man, nor woman.

    just because title is prime minister means prime minister caliber? far from it. actually, and sometimes, more harm than good, as such always are clowns and such always are surrounded by deputy clowns, all yes sir yes sir for the S$m the title of prime minister can bestow, without accountability.

    when any pap deputy clown speaks, can what they say be better than what clown says? surely cannot since a servant cannot surpass his/her master.

    on the other hand, when any pap deputy clown speaks, can what they say be more clownish than what clown says? it depends. if clown instruction is never to surpass him in clowning too, then, no chance for deputy clowns to surpass. and looking at the state of Singapore past 15 years and current slate of deputy clowns, the truth, not pap fake news is, pap clown reigns supreme.

    this is troubling. not a single deputy clown either is master of caliber or in clowning. meaning, good for nothing.

    as mentioned, good for nothing can do much harm. 70% sheep asks for it. so utterly stupid 70% sheep to ask for it.

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  • John Lim:

    We should not paint civil servants and ministers with the same brush. It is the civil servants that get things done.

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  • LIONS:

    Yea,GRATITUDE FOR TURNING US FROM FIRST WORLD TO THIRD N IN OUR OWN HOMELAND WE ALL HELP TO BUILD so well that name-calling FTs keep flocking here despite sgs being condemned as ungracious n XENOPHOBIC???

    For the record,i am sure countless sgs are grateful n fully appreciate what Old Guards n former lowly-paid perm secs had done for Sg n sgs?

    But these NEW GUARDS N THEIR LEEder want GRATITUDE from us for $crewing up our lives while helping Jobless aliens to come hrre n take over the jobs we have being doing most productively?

    I think that shows how DAFT N ARROGANT blokes like KEE-CHIU teally are!

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  • Sesame Street:

    Public Service,pls wake up your idea!

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Nonsensical utterances of a highly paid minion! Public servants are risk-free public employees who have the benefit of an iron-clad rice bowl, govt-mandated bonuses & performance-unrelated salary increments throughout their career life. They are immune from the vulgarities of the private sector.
    Whatever that goes on within their sphere is their own business. Carpark fees for teachers, in a Democratic setting, should be an issue between their Teacher’s Union & the Education Ministry. The public shouldn’t get involved in such trivial matters of an internal nature. In S’pore, the teachers union are toothless & hopeless, teachers cowardly & the PAP authoritarian – you get what you vote for!
    In S’pore, we have a PAP govt who thrusts themselves into the limelight like some firefly. In Developed Economies, the heavy lifting are done by the private sector eg. Corporations, NGOs & driven individuals interacting with the Public sector govt bodies (for regulatory issues & citizen’s concerns). In S’pore, the PAP takes centrestage like a Prima Donna or Diva! In the process, the public gets embroiled with a govt-inflicted trivial issue which clouds the real pertinent issue ie. the Economic Management of S’pore! When you put a cart before the horse; in a downhill, you descend very fast which is what S’pore is doing!
    The PAP 4Gs are embroiled with micromanaging S’pore when they should be macromanaging the Economy. In that respect, S’pore is destined to fail going forward.

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  • Boh Kia See:

    There is nothing to be grateful to public servants about. They are the highest paid public servants in the world and works for the PAP.

    They are not serving the public as much as they are serving the PAP. As we all know the PAP is against local Singaporeans and therefore rules are interpreted against citizens. There is this attitude when you get into the public service area, that everybody there is trying to cheat the PAP–to get something for nothing. Because this basic premise clouds all their actions, the onus of proof is on you.

    So there is nothing to be grateful to the public service as they and the PAP are one.

    For example there is this person called Seet, who was involved with Jho Low who was pilfering from 1MDB. But you will not hear about him being charged or prosecuted. He is protected by his family connections. Why did the public service not prosecute him? But if it was you or me in his position, you can bet the public service from various departments will descend like a ton of bricks.

    Personally, I would not consider them to be “public servant” but PAP employees.

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  • I'm halimah also Jiak Liao bee:

    Hello Kee Chiu Paper General, people will not know you are an idiot if you just keep you mouth shut.
    But, being paid millions $$$, you just have to say something stupid to justify your obscene pay check.
    And you are supposed to be one of the so called 4G leaders ?
    I would rather say you are the foremost 4G retard.

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  • another:

    They can be awarded up to 12 months bonus. They should be grateful to us.

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  • old man:

    A lot of worms on 1MDB will starts to crawl out soon. that’s is why civil servants are mobilized to get ready for the next GE before the exposures and embarrassments creep in. Won’t be surprised it will be held this quarter or next.

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  • Appreciate How?:

    Do you want the public to shower them with gifts or even better to provide them with sex or even money ?

    Please use your brain before shooting with your mouth.

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  • oxygen:

    TO PROTECT THEIR POLITICAL MASTERS & their jobs, civil servants tell rotten lies.

    Fernvale Lea debacle proves my point.

    Even ChuaMui_Hoong said that when civil servants lie, don’t shrink and dumb down, but instead GASLIGHT THEM. I AGREE!

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  • HarderTruths:

    You mean like the builders of the Pyramids who have to be grateful to the Egyptian Pharaoh for allowing them to live so they can suffer for another day?

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  • Plp also accepted.:

    Plp also accepted.

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  • Bertrand Russell says:

    Again, in regard to actual human existence, I have found myself giving honour to those who feel its tragedy, who think truly about Death, who are oppressed by ignoble things even when they are inevitable; yet these qualities appear to me to militate against happiness, not only to the possessors, but to all whom they affect. And, generally, the best life seems to me one which thinks truly and feels greatly about human things, and which, in addition, contemplates the world of beauty and of abstract truths. This last is, perhaps, my most anti-utilitarian opinion: I hold all knowledge that is concerned with things that actually exist – all that is commonly called Science – to be of very slight value compared to the knowledge which, like philosophy and mathematics, is concerned with ideal and eternal objects, and is freed from this miserable world which God has made.
    [Utilitarians] have been strangely anxious to prove that the life of the pig is not happier than that of the philosopher – a most dubious proposition…

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