March 20, 2006

Looking out for your rights (and interests)

Yesterday, I heard that the Japanese word "kimari" is sometimes used to rebut a logical argument, meaning, "that's just the way it is." I wondered what stock phrases in Chinese are used as to justify bureaucracy. In Chinese, you can of course say, "that's the way it is" (jiu shi zheyang 就是這樣) or "there's nothing that can be done" ("mei banfa" 沒辦法or variations such as "menr dou meiyou" 門兒都沒有), but there is another more unique phrase with a more bureaucratic feel to it. When any kind of policy is introduced, it is polite to explain why. For example, if the wastebaskets of everyone in the office were taken away to save janitorial labor, then it would be nice to provide some explanation to the workers. If you can't think of a convincing explanation, then there is a stock formula to fall back on, "To protect the rights and interests of everyone." On the doors of bathroom stalls, there is a sticker that reminds us to conserve the toilet paper. Why? To protect the rights and interests of all employees, of course (為保護全體同仁的權益). In can also be used in conjunction with perfectly valid reasoning. For example, why can't I put open packages in the shared refrigerator? Well, the foul smell might "affect the rights and interests of others" (影響他人的權益). Beware, whoever is munching away on that dried squid, your stinkbag may already be violating my human rights!


  • Just got a new one in my mailbox at school: 教師如提前或延後一周在上課時間考試者,日後必須補課,以維護學生權益. (Like students are gonna care if their 權益 isn't being 維護ed b/c they didn't have enough hours of class...)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 30, 2006 12:04 PM  

  • That last sentence sounds good when read out loud!

    I saw another one at work yesterday. It said to wait three to five seconds between sliding our magnetic cards across the reader. The reason was not because the reader can't read the cards any faster, but to "維護同仁的權益."

    By Blogger Taiwanonymous, at April 01, 2006 1:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home