Saturday, April 14, 2007

A workman is deserving of his pay

I doubt I can add anything new to the debate currently raging in the press over the issue of the government raising its own pay, and in particular, the huge pay increases that senior government officials such as ministers, are going to get. I agree that this process is open and has had its day in Parliament, with opposition, NMP's and even PAP MPs weighing in against, or at least questioning the timing of the increases.

If Singaporeans want more debate, they have got to vote more dissenting voices into Parliament. As it is, a steamroller just passed through town, and no one could so much as put a brake on it.

Don't get me wrong. I agree in principle that a good pay remuneration package is important in helping to keep a person on the job. Anybody who disagrees with this is a hypocrite. I remember the days when I first started working and progressively jumped from one job to another. While the environment, the nature of the job, the people, and the opportunities were major considerations in moving from one job to another, I have to admit that an increase in salary was a major pull factor.

So I can well understand the rationale behind the proposed increases. The only problem, as many people perceive it, is that serving in government cannot just be about money, it requires much more, and yes, including kissing babies every other weekend. In my opinion, any increase is ok if:

1. The workman does his job well,
2. The reward is commensurate with the good that that work has brought about (whether directly or indirectly)

Whether the heart of service is there is difficult to quantify and is best left to the electorate to decide every 5 years.


Of course, workman includes workwomen but to use workperson seem so clumsy on the language that I'll stick to workman, with the implied inclusion of anyone who works - man, woman or child.

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