"URA $400,000 Branding Peanut!" - Now That's Funny...

from, funny parts emphasized (though there be too many) -

Date: 29 July 2005
To: Editor, Singapore Review
From: Mr See Leong Kit
Subject: URA $400,000 Branding Peanut!

1 Introduction

Just look at the Pathetic And Pathetic (PAP) state of political/bureaucratic governance in Singapore:

(i) A string of fiascos after fiascos --- IDA $388 MILLION "honest mistake";LTA $500 MILLION proposed HQ Building; HDB $220 MILLION overly-generous retrenchment package; EHI Laboratory SARS case; MINDEF dunking death of 19-year old NSman; LTA Nicoll Highway collapse.

Good Question --- How much LEADERSHIP is there at the political level, and how much COMPETENCY is there at the bureaucratic level ???

(ii) Highly-paid Public Servants (i.e.politicians/bureaucrats) who are less than confident/competent in solving national problems --- so easily taken in by the latest management buzzwords (eg Branding) and conveniently hiring "foreign consultants" who charge exorbitant consultancy fees (which are paid out of public funds i.e. the hard-earned monies of the people!).

Good Question --- If our highly-paid public servants cannot tackle "small" things, how can they move on to do "big" things for the people to JUSTIFY their "big" fat paychecks and to EARN the people's respect/trust ???

2 Original text of my contributed letter to the press, which was edited/published under "Just a waste of public funds" (TODAY 28 July 2005):

The Urban Renewal Authority's reply "Marina Bay brand is more than just a name" (27 Jul) is a typically exasperating public reply, full of "form" (long-winded fuzzy-wuzzy explanations) but sadly lacking in "substance". URA had used the latest management buzz-word of "branding". But to thinking Singaporeans, it is clearly "throwing public monies to the wind".

The $400,000 spent on the so-called branding exercise reminded us of how the Land Transport Authority recently hired an American public relations firm to find out what people think of it after the Nicoll Highway Collapse. That Image Survey reportedly cost some $250,000 of public funds.

Allow me to offer these free advice for our Civil Service College to incorporate in their training courses for civil servants.

Show respect for the people by rendering properly-considered public replies. Never insult their intelligence with spurious arguments and smooth-talking semantics.

Do have the humility to admit, apologise and learn from mistakes in not repeating same.

Spend public funds wisely. Sinful spending of the people's hard-earned monies will lead to Singaporeans re-branding the term "civil servant" to "bird-brained bureaucrats".

Last but not least, never argue that $400,000 is a smaller peanut than the $600,000 annual salary of the former NKF CEO. Otherwise, there will be an online petition for the civil servant to be "retired early in the public interests".

3 The highly-paid Public Servants behind the $400,000 URA "Branding Exercise" and the $250,000 LTA "Image Survey" :

$400,000 URA "Branding Exercise"
Minister-IN-CHARGE (National Development) Mah Bow Tan
2nd Minister Lim Swee Say
Minister of State Heng Chee How
MND Perm Sec Tan Tee How
URA CEO Mrs Cheong-Chua Koon Hean

$250,000 LTA "Image Survey"
Minister-IN-CHARGE (Transport Ministry) Yeo Cheow Tong
Minister of State Lim Hwee Hua
MOT Perm Sec BG Choi Shing Kwok (military top brass)
LTA CEO BG Yam Ah Mee (another military top brass)



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