State Counsellor: If people trust public servants, they remain calm and contented even when governments change

A ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the Ministry of the State Counsellor’s Office was held at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) yesterday at 11:30am. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended the ceremony and presented awards to outstanding public service personnel and outstanding students.

Present at the ceremony were Union Minister for the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor U Kyaw Tint Swe, Union Minister for the Ministry of the Office of the Union Government U Thaung Tun, Deputy Minister from the Office of the President U Min Thu, Dr. Aung Tun Thet and U Toe Oung from the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) committee, heads of department, staff, award-winning outstanding staff, outstanding students and family members of the staff of the Office of the President, the Office of the Union Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In her speech at the ceremony, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “As our ministry is new, there can be some difficulties. But I hope that all will be satisfied with the fact that all of you are performing an important duty for the country. As staff in this ministry are personnel coming from various ministries and have come to know one another, I hope that they will learn from one another and learn how to work.

The work of the State Counsellor’s Office is to implement the main aim of our government. For example, rule of law, internal peace, amending the Constitution and striving towards a true federal democratic union are the aims of our government, and the Ministry of State Counsellor’s Office will have many opportunities to implement these aims. The opportunity to work for your country (in such a way) is not something that everyone will get this kind of chance. It will be a valuable opportunity if those who have this chance put it into a good use.
Some may think that their fate (kamma) is not good because they have to take up this huge and heavy responsibility. I have mentioned this frequently. I want to define kamma. Kamma is, in fact, an action. Most see kamma as the outcome result of past deeds. If the present outcome is not good, we think it was because our kamma is not good. But I don’t want to think of kamma this way. The present kamma is the main one. I want all personnel who have come here (to serve) to consider themselves as having good kamma.

Working under the leadership of a Union Minister, having the chance to work with well-experienced persons in politics and public service sector is good. But more work has to be done, and it is important that this work is done with a higher standard. One of the weaknesses of our country is the decline in our education system. Decline in education system is not the same as declining in other matters. For example, if an economy is in decline, a country with citizens who are highly educated can speedily correct it.

It is said that it takes about twenty years to become a human being. What it means is that only when a person reaches about the age of 20, can they become a full grown human being. This is the time when they become ready to enter into life and ready to face challenges. At this age, our citizens would have become university graduates. As this is a time when we are encouraging vocational education, we can say that is the age when we complete our education and use it to face life.

But due to the weakness of our education system, two generations of our people did not have good kamma. Their past kamma was not good. But we will have to overcome the bad kamma of our past with good kamma of the present. We didn’t know what to do because the education system was not good. But this is not a good excuse. We will have to put in more effort. If we really try, we can succeed. But we must persevere. When it is time to go home and rest in the evening, we like to rest. But to develop and progress, we will have to lessen some of this leisure time and try to improve our ability. Staff members who are young need to take more time to study advanced skills and knowledge. Nothing will happen if nothing is done.
Nothing becomes something on its own. Leave it as it is, and it will remain as it is. If you leave it as it is, it will become something that you don’t like.
We all need to strive together towards becoming something that we like. Government servants, led by the government, must work more for the rule of law, amending the Constitution, achieving internal peace and national reconciliation. The roles of public servants are very important.

Public servants have dignity. If the people trust the public servants, they remain calm and contented even when governments change. They feel secure. We need to accept the fact that governments change if we want a democratic system. If the thinking is that there is no government change, this is not how to think in a democracy. Democracy is a smooth transition of a government. There’ll be changes as everything is always changing. As things change, groups and people leading a country should also change. Only then can we be on parity with everything. Despite changes in governments, the capacity and the integrity of the public servants should give stability and security to the people.

The Ministry of State Counsellor’s Office is unique. I want our staff to be unique too. They must develop themselves to be unique. I want all of you to do things in unity. Our ministry needs to set the standard. Because you have leaders who will teach and guide you, you will have the opportunity to become model staff. Don’t miss this opportunity. Our ministry knows more than others that our country has to face many difficulties.

But when it is time to struggle and put up our efforts, other ministries are also doing likewise. But most of the time, it is the Ministry of State Counsellor’s Office that was in the midst of the heavy duties. This ministry is related to national reconciliation and peace. It is related to foreign affairs. It is also related to internal security, security matters and stability. Value this opportunity to participate in these matters. Be honoured. It is important to be happy and satisfied with our work. Only when you are satisfied with your work can you be satisfied with your life. Most part of the time of a public servant is spent in their worksite. Only when you are satisfied with the majority of the time can you be satisfied with your life. Only when you are satisfied with your life can your offspring understand how to find satisfaction in life.

Serving the public can be considered as serving your family. As most of our staff are women, some felt like being pulled between a public servant’s responsibility and the responsibility towards the family. This is natural. That is why we are trying to make the family life of our staff the best we can. We are placing much emphasis on staff housing. Our public servants have given their whole life working for the country and I want them to retire peacefully.
I don’t want them to be wondering where to stay after serving the country. They should not be asking themselves whether to live with that son or this daughter. I don’t want them to have this life. When they retire, they must be able to live peacefully doing whatever they wish to do. That is why we are giving priority to housing for the staff. This is not a short-term aim to get good staff. It is a long-term aim for dutiful personnel to retire peacefully.
In order to do this as well as many other things, the country needs to develop. It must be strong financially, and the government is striving for this. When the government is striving towards supporting this, public servants also need to strive and support. What they ought to do is, if a new minister or a new staff comes in, it is honourable and dignified to help and assist the newcomers fulfil their duties and responsibilities as quickly as possible. The ability to cooperate is an important qualification.

Nowadays, conferences and workshops put much emphasis on leadership skills. I don’t like this much. The ability to work in a team is more important than the desire to lead. If we have this ability, our country will surely progress. That is why all staff need to have this mindset. They must have team spirit and there’ll be progress when all work together as a team. Working together gives not only progress but also satisfaction. The work burden is reduced, too, if all work together as friends, comrades and colleagues. The work is also completed faster and effectively. Two heads are better than one. Of course, it wouldn’t be good if the two heads are knocking against one another. It would be more beneficial if they are united.
The time we work for the country is a very important time. We are laying the nation’s and history’s path for our next generation to take. Not all generations have this opportunity. Even if this opportunity is desired, most wouldn’t get the chance. Challenges that governments and public servants of developed countries face are much less than the challenges we are facing.

In our country, people are struggling to get sufficient nutrition. Be happy that we have this opportunity. Don’t be dejected. Use this opportunity fully. Don’t regret afterwards. There’ll be regrets when you don’t do what you ought to do at a certain time. People who have good luck (kamma) are those who live their last moments in life without any regrets. It depends on yourself alone whether you become such a person. No one can do this for you. Whether you have regrets or not depends on you alone.
Our staff must strive toward becoming people without regrets when they retire. This will be not only beneficial for the individual alone, but also to the whole country as well.

In conclusion, I pray that all personnel in the ministry would be able to serve the country happily and fully for the good of the country,” said the State Counsellor. At the ceremony, the State Counsellor presented awards to Daw Tin Sandar Win and Daw Khin Naychi Tun who attended and passed outstandingly in courses conducted by the Union Civil Service Board, and to Daw Hnin Hnin Wai who passed with flying colours the Linux Foundation Course conducted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

The State Counsellor also presented an award to Maung Aung Hmu Thet who passed the 2017-2018 matriculation examination with five distinctions. He is a family member of a staff from the ministry.

Next, Union Minister for Ministry of State Counsellor’s Office U Kyaw Tint Swe presented education stipends and stationery to two family members of staff that passed the 2017-2018 matriculation examination and to offspring of staff who are attending the universities, basic education high school, middle school and primary schools in 2018-2019 which were accepted by officials. Afterwards, the State Counsellor, Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Dr. Aung Tun Thet, staff from the Office of the the Union Minister, Policy Department and Union Peace Making Department posed together for a commemorative group photo.

Attendees to the ceremony commemorating the second anniversary of the Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor were then hosted to a luncheon.