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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports


I had an interesting three days immersed, or rather drowning, in civil service- speak in a workshop. It’s the polysyllabic language of the vague – and it’s been done for so long that it has become second nature or even expected of civil servants.

Anyway, I promised my very promising class that I would say something funny or semi-funny about bureaucratese, which is really un-funny.

  1. If you can help it, never use the word help because you can always “facilitate’’.
  2. Remember that even if you do use help, you should say that this “is in order to’’ help.
  3. Civil servants always “like to assure’’ people, although it’s not very assuring when just assure would suffice.
  4. If you use collaboration, add co-operation. They go together.
  5. Never refine, enhance or develop anything. It must always be “further’’ refined, enhanced and developed.
  6. If you must monitor anything, always monitor “closely’’.
  7. Hyphens are excellent: remember to be resource-resilient, process-efficient and, yes, environmentally-friendly.
  8. This is the mantra: we must always be “sustainable’’ in everything we do. In fact, sustainability is everything these days. Repeat ad nauseam.
  9. We must always make progress, hopefully “steady’’ progress, if not “fair’’ progress.
  10.  When in doubt, say you will “review’’ but never say when.
  11. Everything we do must be “in line with’’ a structure/strategy/ framework/ philosophy/protocol/vision/mission.  Take your pick.
  12. Finally, remember to be “inclusive’’.

Just bureaucrateasing…

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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