This country has survived by following protocols down to how an air stewardess should serve passengers. But these protocols were part of a system that was also being led by men who had the gift of common sense and some degree of critical thinking of when to follow these protocols.
Unfortunately this system has created successive generations of programmed robots who in turn have expanded just as government expands and extends the red tape the number of protocols and paperwork. Becoming a manager becomes a chore of pencil pushing mountains of documents and little else.
Another unhealthy tendency is that when things go wrong, the higher ups have the tendency to push the blame to anyone but themselves. It will naturally fall on the guy in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) culture who made a tiny mistake in the SOP and therefore will take all of the blame and get removed.
Another troubling aspect is the vicious way which mistakes are
condemned, causing a conspiracy of silence and unwillingness to own up,
which further perpetuates the unjustified blame game.
This has a chilling effect and its founded on fear of losing one's job, overpowering and greater than messages and initiatives to promote "critical thinking" and "creativity".
Or in the case of advertizing of an on-going project on a construction hoarding while Biopolis at One North was being built, "creative chaos" (whatever the fuck that was).
The above quotes have to be said in heavy quotation marks as they have become buzzwords of bullshit and are used to the point they hardly carry any of the original, real meaning. This country as a result of its small size and people-only resource has had to focus on middle-man type stuff like telecommunications and international business, and any venture that makes tons of money. But its obsession has also let 'creativity' and advanced thinking skills on a multidimension, imagination type level associated with successful people go by the wayside in the education system in favor of certificates obtained through exam-centered education.
Earlier the analogy of 'programmed robots' was used. Newly graduated people going out to work have to adjust and learn new things. Very often they have a hard time 'getting it', because of the pre-programming of the education system has removed that sixth sense, robbed them of their soul, made them conformists of the working and consumer culture.
The greatest oxymoron I have ever heard has to be the 'thinking soldier'. Imagine that in the most rigid of institutions, the armed forces. If there ever was a real 'thinking soldier', it would be someone like the fictional American trooper called Beetle Bailey.
'Beam me up, Scotty. This world's a shitty place.'