Friday, 5 February 2016

Public Servant – what it is and what it is not: A primer for the know-it-all middle class of Malaysia.

Public SERVICE (and SERVANT) does not mean what you think it means. Public servants serve the public (collectively). Yes, we are all MEMBERS of the PUBLIC. That does not mean that the OCPD in your area is YOUR SERVANT. That's just dumb. If you think this is in any way remotely true either linguistically or in the real world, then you are dumb. 

Public servants are very qualified persons who have gone through rigorous tests and are trusted to work for the good of the nation. That is why they are given very favourable working conditions and a pension. Their service to the nation is highly regarded. Their capabilities are highly regarded. 

They are not your "servants" in the sense of what you understand the word "servant" means. They are not there to wait on you hand and foot. If you think like this, then you are dumb.

Oh, you may say, "I pay taxes. My taxes pay their salary. So they work FOR ME." Again, you are dumb. You pay taxes because that is your DUTY as a citizen to the nation. That does not make you the boss of the public servants.

So, to summarise: "Public Servant" is a term for people in the civil service. They are not servants for individual members of the public. They are servants to the nation. And yes, they are also "the public". 

So yeah, if you think you can order or belittle or insult members of the civil service, then you are dumb. And there are laws against such behaviour. So, try to not be dumb.

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