Opinion: Fly control

POSTED: 05/30/12 10:08 PM

One could say a lot about the Chinese but not that they’re not ready to think outside the box. After the country introduced the one child per family rule in 1978 to keep the number of Chinese manageable, it now also has a two-fly rule: in public toilets no more than two flies are allowed to zoom around at the same time.

The Chinese government had decided that all toilets, especially those in tourist areas must meet these new requirements. The government did not make clear what the consequences will be when three or more flies enter such a public toilet, and it has also not indicated who will be charged with enforcing the new rules.

Just in case some readers start thinking that we are pulling their leg, we obtained this information from a rather impeccable source, namely the stately British BBC.

Since we have a solid Chinese community on our island, we think it’s a good idea to ask them to dive a bit deeper into this story and then come up with recommendation to bring the midges-plague around the Great Salt Pond under control. Two midges per building sounds good to us.

St. Maarten’s beach policy pales compared to the Chinese public toilet-policy because the rules are endless. An improvement for tourists who were up to now unable to make the difference between the toilets for men and women in Beijing is that all signs in the toilets have to be bilingual from now on: Chinese and English.

The government also set rules for advertising in the toilets. The ads are not allowed to frustrate the function of the toilet space (whatever that means) and they are not allowed to be illegal. We figure that ads promoting free and unlimited internet access fall in this category.

There are even rules about standards for the odor in public toilets and about cleaning public garbage bins.

Foreign media were ready to piss on Beijing’s parade, wondering whether it is possible at all to enforce the new rules. That makes us wonder: why ask a question to which the answer is obvious?

The Beijing News reported that the government dreamt up similar rules ahead of the 2008 Olympics. In spite of this hygiene vary per toilet, the reporter observed with an authority as if she (or he) has made a personal tour of these grisly facilities.

What do we learn from this story? That governments keep taking themselves seriously, no matter how crazy, insane, stupid, backward or ridiculous the measures are they expect their citizens and their flies to live up to.

What a great country.

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