OK, I confess. I’m proud of being a civil servant. When I stride into other government agencies to do “citizen-related” stuff, like renewing my passport, I proudly flash my Public Service card – and hope the other person *hint hint wink wink* will register that I’m “family”.
Unlike most lawyers who left the law to become restauranteurs, bakers or playwrights, I left to become a civil servant. I can’t decide whether theirs or mine was the braver decision. In fact, a friend of mine warned I would get “brain rot” if I joined the Civil Service. Fact or fiction? The jury is still out.
In my short stint as a civil servant so far, I have been able to be a part of policy making and developments that would have an impact on Singapore and Singaporeans. At the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, it was my privilege to listen to young, medal-winning Singaporean extreme sports enthusiasts share their woes about having to train overseas due to a lack of facilities in Singapore, and be part of the team that developed Singapore’s first international standard Xtreme SkatePark at East Coast Park. When crowds cheered and tears flowed at Jacques Rogge’s announcement that Singapore would host the first-ever Youth Olympic Games, it was a sweeter victory for the multi-agency team, who worked long hours and in double quick time to put together Singapore’s bid.
And now, I get to be part of a great team that’s shaping and making Challenge. In line with our mandate to promote change and creativity in the Public Service, we have taken on the challenge to bring Challenge to new heights. You will still get content from across the Public Service, showcasing our work, our people and how we work across agencies to bring benefit to our country. But we hope to continue to be able to ask ourselves the hard questions that many think of but may not articulaste, so that we improve as a Public Service. And we hope to unearth the gems in the Public Service – the people, the projects – so that collectively, we can celebrate our talent and our dedication. Our new sections include The Big Idea, our creativity page to inspire you and let you test out your inventiveness; our revamped Face2Face section now called A Cuppa With..., where we continue to chat with senior management and unveil some of their more personal moments; and finally, our Irreverent Last Page where we get to be irreverent – because we are allowed to laugh at ourselves even though we are civil servants, right?
Challenge celebrates its 15th year in print this year. While we celebrate how far we have come since 1995, what remains important to us is whether our dedication to quality resonates with you. Tell us whether you like what you are seeing with this revamp. We would love to hear from you. This is your magazine, and the Challenge Team is dedicated towards making you proud to call it your own. Enjoy this issue and Happy Public Service Week!