For the SAR's 190,000 civil servants who are accustomed to lifetime employment it is only natural any reforms seen as opening the way to 'premature' termination of their service are greeted with suspicion. If civil servants feel their job security is being threatened unfairly, then they have every right to air their grievances, including taking to the streets. And that was what 10,000 - the organisers claimed more than 25,000 - did on Sunday. But it is misleading for the civil service unions to give the public the impression that the reform measures being pushed by the SAR administration are threatening their jobs. Despite the unions' sabre-rattling, no civil servant has been forced to leave since the programme was launched 18 months ago. The most drastic measure was a voluntary redundancy programme aimed at slashing 10,000 jobs over a three-year period. But the redundancy offer is so attractive that at the Housing Department, one of a few targeted departments, an unexpectedly large number of officers have happily taken it up and left. By comparison, many employees in the private sector have lost their jobs as a result of a recession triggered by the Asian financial turmoil. Their severance pay was far less generous than the golden handshakes awarded to Hong Kong's ex-civil servants, many of whom remain eligible for pensions. Other measures, including an efficiency drive to boost productivity and a tighter staff appraisal system that puts an end to automatic pay rises, are also mild by private-sector standards. All reforms inevitably meet resistance, if only because they hurt vested interests. Apart from regular government employees, thousands of quasi-civil servants including social workers, teachers and public doctors, have also protested during the past month against proposed reforms. While it may have been politically unwise for the Government to have embarked on so many reforms at once, resistance should not be seen as evidence that they are ill-advised. Although their details could be fine-tuned, it is hard to dispute their merits. Implementing reforms is sometimes compared to administering a drug. The side-effects need to be controlled, but stopping medication is not an option.