'Slaves' they may be, but they certainly don't come cheap.
"They were all my officers in Mindef, from the day they started work, they grew up with me. I can give you a long list of slaves,' he chuckles. 'So it's not all my work per se, I leave a lot of these slaves behind who continue to work."
At the end of the interview, he strides out briskly to keep his lunch appointment with a group of newly returned A*Star scholars - new slaves, he jokes. As they exchange greetings outside his office, he asks them: 'Who built the Great Wall of China? Who built the Sphinx and the pyramids?' Before they can reply, he chuckles: 'Slaves! Slaves! So, remember, slaves are very important!' "
Philip Yeo gets interviewed by the Business Times.
Full text available at Wayne's blog.
Edit (2 Mar): A reader of BT replied.
Published March 2, 2006
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
A lack of humility and graciousness
I REFER to the Philip Yeo interview (BT, Feb 25). Certainly, the learned civil servant has a lot to be proud of.
However, with all his qualities, he lacks humility and graciousness.
If only he had a modicum of humility, Mr Yeo would be a perfect human being.
Successful civil servants have no need to be inflated with conceit.
In the real world, with the brutal and cold-blooded cuts and thrusts, I've seen many Ivy League MBA-types biting the dust.
Without EQ, interpersonal skills and basic courtesy, in addition to the liking and respect of the masses, there is no guarantee that civil servants shooting off their mouths and operating from lofty heights can flourish.
May God have mercy on us if there's more than one Philip Yeo; it's just as well that he is 'irreplaceable'.
Michael Loh Toon Seng,