Friday, July 21, 2006

flexible rules

Sorry no picture for this one but here's an interesting regulation, as seen in a Hong Kong taxi:

"As a general rule there maybe an extra charge for baggage."

So will I be charged or not for my baggage?

Vagueness is an official skill in China. Chinese Government rulings, regulations and guidelines are all couched in this sort of language. It provides built-in flexibility because you never know when you are going to have to make an exception or change your mind about something. Ambiguity allows for case-by-case assessment, the attitude being that there are too many possible variations to cover in one defined rule so it's better to stay flexible and decide what's best to do when you need to.

Of course, the taxi rule is just some fine print no one pays attention to but it is rather different when this is the case for company law and civil legislation. How do you think it would change your behaviour if you're not sure what you can and can't do or you know your well-being rests on the interpretation of that day's adjudicator?

1 comment:

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