Skip to main content

Warpped around old-fashioned civil service

As appeared in The Malay Mail today.

Haresh Says
By Haresh Deol

TWO lunch sessions with interesting personalities in a span of three days spewed forth the refusal of civil servants to embrace changes involving attitude – and dressing.

I refuse to accept the bureaucratic attitude. I totally refuse to accept what they expect people to wear when they visit a government department, leaving aside an official event.

So, after both meetings, I wondered: Is the civil service stuck in a time warp? Are bureaucrats attempting to stamp their authority on freedom of expression? Are they expecting us to be a rubber stamp of themselves?

If they are, the civil service is doing a disservice to open-mindedness. If they are, public servants are being judgmental of the very people, the taxpayers, who put food on their table.

That’s not acceptable. That reeks of a cranky public frontline that’s narrow minded.
Just what has dressing to do with intelligence? Does a tattoo make a difference? Does long hair make one any lesser? Does walking into a government department with jeans lower one’s dignity?

I met with former youth and sports deputy minister Gan Ping Sieu last Friday and two days later with the magical Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing for different reasons but inevitably ended up speaking about a similar subject – the need for a change in mindset when dealing with civil servants.

I met Gan in my usual outfit - a pair of army shorts, rock-themed t-shirt and sneakers. I was bemused when he commented:

“I’ve not worn jeans for the past 10 years and when I was with the ministry, I thought I could occasionally shed the corporate look.

“One day I wore khakis to work and an officer told my driver that I should wear pants and a tie to work instead. Khakis are apparently too casual, according to the officer” said Gan while relating his three years’ in the ministry.

On Sunday, I met with Lim. Honouring Kelantan who had just won the FA Cup football final, I was in a Red Warriors jersey and jeans. Joined by fellow news editor Pearl Lee, we spent more than two hours with Lim, speaking about a wide range of issues.
Suddenly, the mentality of the civil service cropped up.

“They are so used to the same thing they have done for years that they find it difficult to adapt and embrace changes.

“Their mindset is like a template - a sheet of paper with boxes and one will be judged based on how many ticks you get on that paper,” said Lim.

That reminded me of my days studying civil engineering in a local public institution. The institution was so fixated over obtaining International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) status that the lecturers were bogged down with paper work which affected our classes.

Government departments are so wrapped up in bureaucracy and stuck with a certain "template" when performing a certain task. They simply fail to see beyond.
It is not about what “we must do” but about what "we should do” – two different meanings that offers two different results.

The change of mindset needs to be seen across the board - from those brainstorming over a new policy to those tasked with implementing and executing such policies.

I would rather have a fruitful discussion in shorts and sneakers while sipping teh-o kosong at a mamak shop than to be in a ridiculously icy-cold meeting room filled with corporate looking individuals with hideous ties, hiding behind power point presentations.

Right after our meeting, Lim tweeted: “There’s so much we can learn from the young. If only we’re prepared to listen with an open mind. If only we don’t jump into hasty judgments.”

I would like to believe Lim was referring to Pearl and I.

HD says: And to quote Lim during our second meeting session yesterday - "When I met them many years ago, they were in jeans & sneakers...just like you. Today, they are world leaders."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.
From

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.

Why?

It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.

---

UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.

---
ORIGINAL POST

A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…