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Tan Chuan Jin implores Singaporeans to work ‘smarter’

Posted by temasektimes on August 9, 2012

Though Singaporeans work the most number of hours a week to earn a living, they are still not working ‘smart’ enough, said Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan Jin.

Speaking at the Ministry of Manpower’s National Day observance ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Tan called on Singaporeans to work ‘smart’:

“We all know that we work many hours in Singapore, and that’s something that we ought to look at — whether we can be more efficient in the way we work, to work smart,” the acting minister said.

Mr Tan also urged Singaporeans to eradicate poor working habits without elaborating more on what they are:

“Personally, I think there are a lot of poor work habits, so we end up actually working longer than we need to. But, those are things that we can eradicate. Volume of work is one part.”

He added that Singapore must continue to attract foreign companies and ‘skilled labor’.


55 Responses to “Tan Chuan Jin implores Singaporeans to work ‘smarter’”

  1. Lim said

    I think TCJ should start at home e.g. all the ministries, statutory boards and govt behemoths – implore them to work smarter. Personally my own experience is bodies such as army camps, POSB/DBS banks and polyclinic work the stupidest – many unnecessary paperwork, waiting and red tape. These are the things Chuan Jin should eradicate first. Work smart means getting rid of unnecessary dead wood which thickens the layers obstructing things from moving smarter and increase overheads. But unfortunately these people are so good at wayang, politics and flattery that the really good smart efficient ones die extinct. So what is TCJ talking about imploring us to work smarter. Good advice starts at home in the family i.e. govt bodies.

    • cc chia said

      Yes, I agree. The Singapore government and their civil servants should work harder and smarter first before telling us what to do.

      If the rest of the country “worked as smart as them”, almost nothing would be done, except lots of talk with no action, and we would all be paid the world’s highest salaries without much responsibilities and the expectation to perform at our jobs.

    • Adrian Pang said

      Exactly! We have the world’s most EXPENSIVE and INEFFICIENT Government, and this guy has the cheek to tell Singaporeans to work smarter? He needs to F-OFF!

      • no sense of identity and belonging said

        This man is an abject,he posed with impish audacity to show he is once,a one star general with the SAF imploring Singaporeans with an insidious insinuations to work more smarter so that with the gains he could upkeep his ongoing unjustlfied high salaries.

        Singaporeans won’t be fooled by this kind of talks by this paper one star general (without real battle field experience) and literally speaking when in any emergencies that occurs nationally or internationally I could imagine his leadership will be catastrophic

        I say Singaporeans is even more smarter than smart but also with a limited tolerance and patience to having faced a government with hoards of poor leadership judgements and poor decision making polices

    • Dave said

      Ya, take out your smart phones and work. Anywhere, everywhere – toilet, bus, breakfast, lunchtime, dinnertime, tea breaks, bedtime, family time, every time all the time.

  2. ken said

    f u paper general. i pray for war to come and all angry singaporeans will shoot the pap first den negotiate with the enemy.

  3. Roy said

    Actually I agree with what is said. If you look beyond he fact that it’s said by someone from the ruling party and that we might disagree with him simply because he’s a minister or minister of state, there is research which shows how working more efficiently, and in that sense, smartly, can help reduce work hours. 

    Aside from what he’s saying, I’ve been thinking that working shorter hours will be useful. In Europe, the countries with the shortest working hours have the highest productivity. In Australia, for example, their working hours are very short but their economy can still grow.

    So if we look aside from who he is, the content of what is said is already evidenced by research and available statistics. If we can work more efficiently, or smarter in that sense, we can reduce work hours. 

    • Adrian Pang said

      Dude, who do you think contributed to the poor productivity of the Singapore workforce? The bloody PAP!!! By introducing lame Foreign TRASH into the country, they’ve lowered productivity by enormous amounts!

    • AL said

      It is generally true that by working smarter, things can be done more efficiently…
      However, not all industries will have the benefits of this statement…
      Working in Australia is totally different in terms of work culture…they can really KIV just like SAF…They are much slower paced in general, while most of the companies in Singapore DEMANDS for immediate response…

      Thus I beg to differ with your statement…

  4. Angrrrrrry citizen said

    talk cock la paper general! you should go whack those greedy bosses who exploit our employees to their death by over-working them till late in the night! what efficient??? if you really know the true situation out there aside your ivory tower and your paper gneral qualification, you will speak and do the right things!

  5. Cassandra Wong said

    For some working smart means don’t work at all or delegate work to those below them. It is happening even eveywehere. Those in power will make those below them work by dangling carrots such as promotions or better performances. It is not difficult to see bosses walking arund, drinking coffee in the canteen and networking. They leave the dirty work to people below them who also work with an ulterir motive End result? Low productivity and lots of wayang. But the big bosses like wayang so what to do? Wayang all the way lor! Loads of bullshit out there!

  6. Very hard to work “smart” under a “stupid” gahmen.

  7. Lucia said

    TCJ, I doesnt agree with your statement. SAF doesn’t work OT. SAF’s work can KIV but ours can’t. U should try outside world before u comment.

    Not many SAF ppl come make it when they come out to work. Might not be easy to find a job coz can’t adapt to our world. Some went back to SAF coz couldn’t adapt to our world.

    For goodness seek, comment with something logical.

  8. They earn easy high salary and still have the cheek to tease us ?

  9. Tan kee khoo said

    Have it ever occur to you that these new ministers have really nothing to say that haven.t been said before (ad nauseam). So he thinks he is saying something new by saying work smarter, think outside the box, etc. These are repeatedly said by hundreds of more prominent people 30 or 40 years ago. Another stupid general who became a minister, just like the other kee chew. Typically I would say that this should be coming out from Zorro mouth instead of this chap.

  10. Dr Ken MANSUKHANI said

    Dear General Tan Chuan Jin
    I somehow feel your “working smart” comments to us the public were uncalled for. Period!

  11. Not Agreed said

    I do not agreed with the acting minister’s statement to generalize Singaporeans of not working smart enough. On what basis, statistics or standard does one make this gauge? How working smart is smart? Is he referring to more red-tape cutting in place?

  12. kaypoh said

    Yeah LHL & Kong Hee are the shining examples of working smart, followed by Darinne & that protected underaged pros….all earn highest $$$/hour just using one or more of their orifices only!

  13. Leslie said

    TCJ, you have never work in the private sector. You will never understand how life’s out there.

  14. IronMan said

    Calm down, guys. He is actually refering to SAF. SAF concept is, highest ranking is the smartest. If a soldier is smarter than his generals, it is called insurbodination becos of questioning your superiors. A soldier do not think, just do what is being commanded. Just like TCJ taking orders from his superiors.

    • ian said

      So many ‘chiak liao bee’ paper generals and paper admirals,
      no wonder the SAF needs a budget of $12 Billion.

      Tan CJ should learn to think smart before talking about working smarter. It is a no brainer if the idea is not smart to begin with, the rest of Singaporeans have to pay for it.

      Firstly, does Tan CJ still thinks importing 1 Million PRCs into Spore a good idea ?
      How about importing retired PRC generals with battle experience for a song ? Even some Bangladesh/Pakistan ex generals with battle experience ?

      • IronMan said

        Good idea! To train all these useless generals here. Dun talk abt battle exp, also lacking a nightclub brawl. In conclusion, never had a real case fighting exp before. In the beginning, we had an Israeli to train our army in basic military. American soldiers have to complete a real life mission to pass as a navy seal. Here, just paper qualification to become a general.

      • see quincy said

        Reply to IronMan: You need butchers or some secret societies members to be your generals. Are you one of our soldier who was trained by Israeli? “talking about working smarter is not a smart idea”? What the two of you proposed are smarter? Don’t be sour grape to discredit people like that, PLEASE.

      • IronMan said

        @ See Quincy

        During WW2, isn’t the Japs lead by butchers. I said in the beginning, ie the initial state of NS trained by an israeli, i am trained by sergeants & officers that cower behind their ranks. Our military personnels are not the right examples to talk abt working smarter. Get it, PLEASE!

  15. Two is better than one said

    These half-cooked army generals(CCS&TCJ) are simply talking cock and just shooting things off their mouths (纸上谈兵) on the citizens instead of re-looking at the policies that affecting the nation as a whole.

    Trying to use all kind of buzz words,”productivity”, “efficient”, “work smart”, “Faster, Cheaper Betterer”, and continue to condemn the citizens for not working smart and using all kind of excuses to bring in more FT(rash)s.

    Are all those FT(rahes) working smarter than we the Singaporeans??? I don’t think so except the real talents in the upper echelon. They are only good simply because they are CHEAP but nothing more than CHEAP CHEAP.

    They are just simply not practicing what they had preached.

    How on earth that from two ministries, it will become three ministries in Nov that we call this “productivity”? Shouldn’t the two ministries increase their productivity to take on more responsibilities like what LSS has been advocating all this while.


    Come Nov with three ministries instead of two, is it cheaper and faster????
    For sure it is definitely going to be more expensive. For faster, I have my doubts.

    Whether it is going to be betterer (LSS’s buzzword) it is yet to be seen??? For this I reserve my comment.

    One obvious thing here is we have to pay more with another Million dollars Minister besides more staff and resources are required. All these will have to come out from the government’s coffer which is also our taxpayers’ money.

    • see quincy said

      If you yourself is up to half the mark of “army generals”, I am sure you would not have used such a derogatory and uncalled for remark on army generals. Please do not use freedom of expression to freely degrade yourself.

  16. GiveNTakeback said

    How to work smart when in office 30% speak Mandarin, 30% speak Indian & 40% speak Tagalog? Go read the Tower of Babel and see what happened!

    • Leslie said

      Agree. Different culture, different background, different attitude. Some FTs are very good in talking, carry balls and throw their work to others. Piss off!

  17. Bertrand Ngien Wen Tseah said

    Look at the rank on your shoulder, how much are you collecting monthly? as compared to those who are working hard and OT to make ends meet.

    • Naivety said

      The standard monthly basic salary of a Brigadier General is at least S$25,000 per month excluding AWS, Performance Bonus, Variable Bonus & other benefits yet!

      For a Minister level appointment, it is about 2 Million Dollars per annum!!!

    • see quincy said

      That rank on his shoulder was originally yours? and he grabbed it from you?

  18. Ex-pap supporter said

    He had never worked in SME or any private organisation before and do not know how private section functioning.

    It is not the matter of working smart and all bosses wanted employee to work and work and if you finish your work, they will pass you more and more….

    That why all SME like foreigners as they been forced to work more than 10 hours a day and SME called singaporean lazy as we only worked 8 hours a day!

    SME tried all means to get foreign quoted to squeeze and make all dollars and cents from the more than 12 hours working with them!

  19. animal farm said

    He has never even ventured out on his own to the real would, how is he to know? More likely a reflection of himself and the barracks. It is smarter to keep one`s mouth shut than to tell the whole world….

  20. Common people said

    On paper he could be right. Did you & TCJ consider the working culture in Singapore.?
    Do you think working smart to increase productitive really translate into shorter working hour?
    Bosses see you leave office on time – you are dead, not to mention if you finish your work early & leave early. Bosses don’t just give everyone 10 assignment to finish each day. The assignment is never quantifiable.
    Can we change this culture first? Do you think our TCJ & the Union will intervene into changing this culture across all businesses?
    Talk talk can lah. Do ? Maybe must get any other 3rd parties to spent several years, spend a hefty amount of money to study into the problem first then say.
    Beside high cost of living, this could be one of the set back for low birth rate. After a long day work, where to find strength ? Ask around, you will 9 out 10 to agree with it.

  21. Dog444 said

    Paper General dun wayang like life in the army

  22. voice of the people said

    oh yea… indirectly… he call us stupid again… like what prc people always say… cant wait to hammer these good for nothing losers

  23. Singapuraboi said

    TCJ oh please! Just accept this as Singapore culture. When returning to Singapore after working in the US it was a culture shock. I was not happy with how my colleagues work and thot they were lazy and time wasters bit learn really quick that they were working smart I was not. I come in early to plan my daily tasks and set out to achieve everything in the list and there would usually be about 21 things to do. Of I has more tasks then I would eat at my desk. I finish all my work promptly at 6 or latest 6:30pm.y colleagues would still be working and whining about long hours. I thought I was efficient but my boss had other thoughts. He said I was either skiv

    • Singapuraboi said

      Skivving or underworked. He promptly loaded me with even more work until I was going home at 9 pm. I was doing other people’s work.

  24. bb said

    You want to work in the pte sector very easy vote him out qnd see what career he can gets

  25. Not s smart comment said

    You must be joking. You, an SAF guy telling us to work smarter??? You can tell that to those in the civil service (especially the SAF), but not those in the private sector – the REAL private sector. Organisations like SMRT do not count!

    • see quincy said

      Don’t you realise many of our successful businessmen in Singapore are ex-servicemen from public sector including SAF? If you do not know any of them please ask around, and What “REAL” private sector?
      Tell us how much you know about the system of operations in SAF before you jump to your kind of conclusion and make yourself a joke.

  26. I am Singaporean said

    Dear General Tan, I was in the SAF for a good 12 years. Why I left the force during that time. I was quite a high-flyer too earlier. Gotten my SSG in 5.5years. Got my PP2 in my 8th year.

    I was too despondent with the way SAF worked. I worked hard and smart. Coming out with new ideas for the force. I initiated several new ideas. Called for several meetings with other departments. When I submitted my proposal to my LTC. The whole proposal was thrown out. Reasons: No Budget.

    After 2 years, the idea which I concepted out. Is now in operations and needless to say. The LTC is the smartass who came out with the idea and push for the idea.

    Working smart doesn’t mean anything at all. Unless you mean…. Do the right things at the right time in front of the right person. Other than that, you don’t really need to work much. Which is happening in SAF.

    Kudos to all the highly ranked officers who also exploited their mens….. simply NO SENSES OF SHAMEFULNESS!

    • see quincy said

      You have submitted proposal for improvement but thrown out and implemented later with credit going to somebody else? Were you the only person to make that proposal and haven’t you kept a copy of your submission? Wasn’t the reason for rejection given to you in writing? You should raise the issue with the authority with all these substantiating proof.
      We have seen so many of SAF WIT ideas implemented with proposing servicemen rewarded and reported. I do not see why your credit could be stolen in the way you described.

  27. Dear Mod, you and all those who commented on this page doesn’t seem to believe in working smart, as if it is blasphemous or something.
    Working hard has not gotten me anywhere. Therefore, I am only left with the smart option.
    And Mod, get an updated photo. Nobody is interested in his army past.

    • d goh said

      To understand a dumbass, it helps if you know his background.
      So far are you impress with any of the paper general or paper admiral ?

      • see quincy said

        If indeed his job was that easy and simple, and paid him that much, why didn’t you get into one? So? You do not work smart. Simple as that.
        For those who think only people with war experience to make qualified general. Read more. Many cases of general who went into winning war only after they were made general. So, it is not rule.
        The idea of working smart is not new, whether in private sector or in public sector, and tons of books have been written about it. That is why we need to talk about it – if you ever made it, it is for your own good, what harm to bring up the topic and think about it, again?

      • Who are you calling a dumbass?

      • d goh said

        relax tong seng, referring to the paper generals and not u. cheers man!

        sure win argument for any elite holding office.

        ordinary voters: “your damn policies are hurting so many ordinary sporeans”

        politician: you think my job is that easy and simple. Why did’nt you chaps get into one ? So? You do not work smart. Simple as that. LOL

        ordinary voters: ” so no need to attend any more dialogue sessions, just swallow the bitter medicine and …….hope to see you talk big again in 2016.”

  28. I will not be attacked for what I am not.

  29. retired colonel said

    to See Quincy,
    Tan CJ sends his greetings to you and while he appreciates your rebuttals to all the negative comments on this blog, he urges you to work harder and faster.
    TanCJ and myself notice you miss out on many negative comments, so you must Chia Yue and leave none unanswered. Good luck!

  30. [P]ine[A]p[P]le said

    Talk Cock Jeneral (Talk is cheap)

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