Yes, that's us! A handful of hardworking, capable, efficient, creative and full of initiative civil servants in this administration. The stereotyping of the old days that government employees come to the office at 11 a.m., read some newspapers/gossiping, go to lunch and then go back home by 2 or 3 p.m. is very far off today's reality. Admittedly, we do still have some left over of the older generation who might fit that stereotyping quite nicely. However, that's not what I'd like to talk about. I'd like to talk about those who are overworked and underpaid.
Until quite recently I thought only Indonesian civil servants have the honor to use the term overworked and underpaid. I was quite surprised and pleased to find out that our counterparts in Vietnam were also in the same boat.
Previously, I always had this inferiority complex while attending international events overseas when the informal conversation started to digress to salaries. As far as I know, other fellow participants from neighboring countries e.g. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore enjoy a much higher salaries than us Indonesians. No self-respecting Indonesian could preserve their dignities when mentioning to others that he/she earned a meager US$ 100/month. While every foreigners they met continuously praising their country as a rich one.
Now I'm pleased to learn that while our salaries has increased substantially to US$ 200, our Vietnamese counterparts still earn around US$ 130. However, US $ 200 is not enough to live in Jakarta which has become the 11th most expensive city in the Asia Pacific.
I'm hopeful that the government will take serious efforts to amending this shameful fact. One dignity isn't determined by one's salary, however, a country's dignity shall be undermined if she doesn't pay close attention to her precious workforces' salaries.