Civil Service College

Civil Servants Feel That Singapore Is Hopeless

In a reddit thread on r/askSingapore, an alleged civil servant (u/Round_Amphibian_9082) asked other public/civil servants, “Do you sincerely still feel there is any hope for SG?”

The netter made several points in his rant.

1) There is no intent on the government to groom talent beyond paper pushers

They are looking for people who would drive the gears, not people who will make changes.

“you know you are just glorified project managers!”


The public sector is by design to be the second mover. Never be first mover, always moving when most of the market has moved already. In terms of technology, the civil service remains outdated.

Source: Reddit

Commenters agreed with this argument, pointing out that at the end of the day, the government still has to engage the private sector to execute some projects simply because they have been too far behind.

2) Policies are reactive and pro-business

In the netter’s experience, the projects they have worked with were focused on crowd-pleasing instead of focusing on what is for the greater good. Moreover, they are often also profit-minded.

“The only planners we had (LKY, GKS) are dead la tbh.”


The netter also shared that most of the civil service are often manipulating numbers to meet targets instead of trying to arrive at the result in the first place.

“Anyone else is also doing numerical “manipulation” to ensure that targets are met with so many assumptions in the calculations such that you feel you are doing math to justify a result instead of doing math to arrive at a result?”


3) Too many public and civil servants don’t care

u/Round_Amphibian_9082 blames this on the system. They share that you benefit more from working less. If you care too much, you will only be disappointed when you don’t get promoted. Your bosses will only pile more work on you “cos you farmer not scholar”. On the contrary, if you worked less, you will still get paid and get your bonuses.

Source: Reddit

Civil service is only a good place for scholars, that is how they come up with so many paper generals to lead the country.

4) Nepotism is all over civil service

And apparently the public does not view this as corruption.

“Any other ministry other than the few i was in where a certain GD is apparently the friend of the CEO? Or the a certain high ranking team lead is the son of a friend of the chairman?”


Other netters who claim to be a civil servant had similar stories to share.

Source: Reddit

5) Bad civil service leaders will ALWAYS remain leaders

u/Round_Amphibian_9082 shares that incompetent bosses will never lose their positions/”be dethroned” because of how the civil service works. Once the system recognizes these scholars as “high potential”, they will continue to be promoted.

“Often we say that the only way for one boss to leave is for him to become boss of another division!”


There are no measures to check the bosses’ leadership capabilities. Even if there happens to be a mass resignation under the bosses, they wouldn’t be penalized.

Even civil servants are unhappy with Singapore

All of the problems u/Round_Amphibian_9082 mentioned have been present for a while, and it isn’t going to change any time soon. Instead of grooming good leaders, they have scholars who are performing functions that they are not trained to do. These scholars are also not punished if they are bad leaders.

Source: Reddit

Our reactive practices has also been unsuccessful when coping with COVID, especially in the past year. Instead of stopping new variants from coming in, they are only imposing lock-downs on their own citizens (but leaving the borders open) when there is a spike in cases here.

What do you think? Is Singapore doomed?