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$2200 bikes, $600 chairs, $25,000 French cooking classes - and $60 haircuts


What do these tell us? It's a sorry state for Singapore.

The civil servants are good at calculating. They fit the saying, "one who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing". Sure, the cost-benefit analysis, the life cycle calcs. and mostly because that is not their money. Why are chairs even the subject of a product life cycle costing analysis? Are they supposed to be office furniture or are they thrones? I suppose Durai had been too harshly treated because he did not produce a cost-benefit analysis for his golden toilet seats.

In all my years of public and private servitude, chairs seldom saw a life of 2 years. The company gets restructured, a new one takes over, and out goes all the "old" office furniture, and in comes the new ones with the favourite colours of the new management. This is the case of Spring Singapore. What was wrong with the old Spring Singapore building and its offices that they have to move into new ones at Fusionpolis? The Chairman's office was done up poshly at the old office in Bukit Merah to give a warm welcome to PY, but it had to be torn up because PY preferred to move into a more spanking new environment at Solaris. In the end, not only him, but the whole staff moved out. Isnt that a waste of public funds? Would Dr Goh have done the same?

One may also question whether civil servants intend to do a lot of sitting at their desks instead of management by walking around the city and neighbourhoods and understanding the ground's problems better?

The issue with all these purchases is the ease with which our public moneys get spent and without a blink of an eye in hesitation. Is it because the Ministries are filled with surpluses that had to be spent away? Why werent they prudent in budgeting that they have allowed excesses to be left over? They don't feel anything when they had to spend $2200 on a bike or $600 for a chair because they can afford it - they have the budget!? Forgetting for a moment that it is not their money, and they are the trustees of public funds. When you have public servants ready to spend $25,000 on French cooking lessons on paid vacations, can we expect them to be sensitive or numbed when it comes to spending public funds?

Another perception that these expenditures create is that there is an elitist feel about it. We are given to understand that public servants deserve to be pampered because they are the elite and doing a helluva job governing us. When we complained about phenomenal salaries paid to Ministers, the Old Man raked us for not seeing it in perspective. Are we again to look at these in perspective?

Recently there was the story of the teacher who cut a student's hair and the boy's mother took umbrage. What bothered me is why she had to spend $60 on a 12 yo's hair? Sometimes I think that Singaporeans deserve the kind of govts they get. This is an example. Must be the 60%.
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This PY guy is like a wastrel son of a very rich family when he was with EDB.
Spending ah kong's money like his own and behaving as if he alone support the whole economy of this island.
All the great work he claimed to have done for Singapore is no where to be seen now.
What results do we get from all the investment he made in the name of Singapore.


A more cynical view is that they knew what the consequences were. methinks they started by saying, "I want that bike or that chair", and knowing that it is public funds, they had to go about the circuitous route of finding a justification or a rationalisation for it. Hence, the cost-benefit BS.

All my life of working, I have never had to see a Cost-benefit BS done for an office chair. In the financial statements I read and used, they are always costed under Office Equipment or Furniture. Hardly a capital expenditure.

So, it's like a teenager who has been eyeing that expensive iphone. Hmm. How to justify and win that argument with the parents? Yes, ask them to look at it in perspective. If he doesnt change it for 10 years, it costs next to nothing. But we know the truth - phones have short life cycles.

Sadly, when the PAP had the Commies at their backs, they had to lead spartan lives too, or they would be cast as wastrels and unbefitting of people's trust. Now after decades in power with all Opp decimated, they have become very soft and very complacent and very insulated. It's time to further reduce their parliamentary majority.


Alfrescian (InfP)
Generous Asset
Han fook kwang finally wrote something worth reading today - that it is not whether there is any flaws in the procurement process, so no need to go round defending it. But rather, is there a need for all these expensive items when there are cheaper alternatives.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Despite all that he managed to pay $8 for heart surgery.

Most Penangnites are crazy shit stingy. This is a very well known fact in Malaysia. Go to KL and I think it is the only state of people where Malaysians have the worst things to say about them.