Friday, April 16, 2010
Electives (Part 1)
I wish to share my very rare experience of attachment here. I was with the Ministry of Health in Putrajaya for two weeks before moving to Penang State Health Department in Komtar for the following two weeks.
In effect, my attachment was an extremely rare chance to work within the public sector ie government.
I found, there are three diseases plaguing our civil service (read: country)
1. Institutionalised Inertia
2. Severe lack of Passion
I called these, diseases of developing countries. And malaysia claimed to be one of the most developed among the developing ones, the incidences and prevalences of these diseases are shockingly astonishing. And these are chronic, infectious diseases with no effective treatment in placed, within sight.
And as I am facing immense examination stress enroute Finals in 46 days, I find writing such non medical stuffs helps. I'll write about the first disease in this note.
It is very easy to remember this disease. Our country's name helps. Malas + Inertia = Malaysia.
In the eyes of public, the government servants are all malas (lazy). No, i beg to differ. Not all.
I would say the middle levels are not.
If you think about it, there are about ONE million public servants out there in the service. Laziness maybe affecting some of them, but I think it is the general institutional inertia that is negatively affecting the service.
Everything has to be done in a certain way, at certain speed, involving certain people, and these are not alterable.
Everyone refused to change the way they are working just now, refused to be different.
And bear in mind, I am not talking about black and white protocols, we have great protocols and systems in placed, but no one is following them. But everyone is following the "way".
For example, lets talk about speed.
Now in the civil service, your immediate boss holds a speed limit camera. Not hiding behind trees like our police, but standing right infront of you.
If you work too fast or too effective, faster and more effective than your boss, you are in danger.
because you exceed the speed limit determined by your boss.
You will seen as disrespecting and trying to overtake your boss.
Career suicide committed.
And this has been there in the civil service for ages! Anything done to change this? I dont know.
You might argue the same is happening in private sector? I dont know. But in civil service, it is definitely rampant.
If you get a boss with very high speed limit, then you can do great things at great speed. But then, eventually, you will reach a level where your boss is not as fast as fast as you want. and you have to slow down.
and thats' very depressing.
None at sight. Because, your eventual, highest boss, are politicians.
and these are the slowest, slowest Malaysian, to change anything. Quote me.