Thursday, February 07, 2008


Most people frown whene you tell them that you are working in the public service sector. Somehow this term, public service sector is too difficult for them, and they will subsequently follow up your reply with another question, 'Gahmen ah?' The next question will be 'where? LTA? MAS? NEA? MFA? MND?' When you say none of the above, they looked as startled as a deer caught in the headlight. The acronym HDB will totally deflate their expectations and they will go, 'HDB? Do what? Lift upgrading?'

There is this misconception about stat boards. People don't regard all stat boards as equal. They believe that MAS is more glamourous than say, LTA or HDB. Anyhow, HDB will be right at the bottom of food chain in stat board rankings. People cannot deal with the fact that you are working at a place that affects about 83% of the total Singaporean population.

I am not sure where they get this impression from. But I anticipate that this is because their impression of public housing is as of something next to the dumps. Even if they live in HDB, they will deny, camouflage, engage in acts of subterfuge to distance themselves away from their reality. Only if you live in places like River Valley, Orchard Boulevard, Newington Towers, something absolutely mind-boggling to pronounce will you proclaim it with pride and gusto.

Why do you think HDB is embarking on labelling their new estates with fanciful and classy names like Sengkang Green, Punggol 21 and Tampines Promenade? Why do you think HDB is engaging in the DBSS project? Singaporeans are a materialistic bunch. On top of that they are are a lot where to lose face is worse than death. They will rather die than lose their face. That is why, living in a HDB flat will forever be in their backlog list to impress someone.

Working in HDB will hence, be tasked as an unglamourous job. This is because they believe it is a social welfare service. You are dirt poor, useless, unambitious and totally inept because you live in a HDB flat. To serve these people would mean that you might as well label yourself a social worker. You deal with neigbourly disputes, car parks, public complaints, housing loans, evictions and rental flats. HDB is a non-profitable organization. No, we are a cost-incurring institution because 83% of the Singaporean population demands us to house them in quality housing at affordable prices.

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