As the executors of a nation’s civil power, civil servants are the foundation of a nation’s competitiveness and their duty is to serve the country first, and not themselves, former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) told a forum at the Examination Yuan yesterday.
Commenting on his five decades of public service, Siew said he was proud of his one and only career.
Execution is the key that differentiates a government and civil servants are the hands that implement government policies, Siew said.
Civil servants and those planning to go into public service should know what the job entails, Siew said. That is the only way they can do their job properly and gradually become a “professional” in execution and in making a career of it, he added.
Moreover, for civil servants to become dedicated to their jobs, it is important that they develop a sense of duty and feel that it is their vocation, he said.
Siew said that in his five decades of serving the people and the government, he felt that his duty was to make the nation richer and for people to benefit from this wealth.
What is even more important is that public servants realize that they should not count themselves among the beneficiaries of this wealth, Siew said.
Civil servants should never be avaricious and seek to benefit themselves and they must always remain neutral and impartial, he said.
These are the most basic qualities of a civil servant, Siew said, adding that people who wanted to make money should be in business, not civil service.
Citing his own experience, Siew said he started his career at the bottom of the ladder.
He said he had once taken the day off for his wedding, but the date had coincided with a four-day visit of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand to Taiwan.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mobilized the entire Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and I felt duty-bound to come in to work, even though I was getting married that day,” Siew said.
He said he only made it to the wedding after a colleague dragged him away from the office for the ceremony.
‘I returned to the office as soon as the feast and ceremony were over,” Siew said.
He cited another incident, when he was sent to Kuala Lumpur to greet a visitor from Taiwan.
“I suffered from gastrointestinal hemorrhage mid-way and was coughing up blood, but I didn’t go to the doctor until I had dropped off the person,” the former vice president said.
“I don’t really stand out and am not an exception; I just work harder than others,” Siew said.