S’poreans working for the government or state agencies who have had dealings with their Asean counterparts have similar stories to tell. And then there is China and Suchou in particular. So do S’pore investors and bizmen.
Some Germans also point to the model of the Prussian bureaucrat, whose sense of pride in ensuring decisions taken at the highest levels of government are implemented speedily and to the letter, still runs deep in German ministries. It took a while for Berlin and Brussels to realize that a similar ethos did not exist in Greece. Far from it.
But one M’sian (with experience in dealing with civil servants in three countries) says that, in their different ways, the civil servants in Indonesia and S’pore are merciless. In Indonesia, for private gain (this he can understand). In S’pore for the benefit of S’pore Inc (thinks this is “deft”). In M’sia, he says, the civil servants are usually clueless except when it comes to personal gain.