August 19, 2016

Rules and Regulations must be Obeyable

Khin Maung Myint


A scene on the Banyardala road.
A scene on the Banyardala road.

The rules and regulations are integral parts of any society. They are in fact the tools essential for keeping a society well disciplined and orderly. It is the duty of every member of the society, or in other words all citizens as a whole, to abide by the rules and regulations of their respective societies. The rules and regulations, on the other hand, must be obeyable. To be obeyable they must be reasonable and practicable.
Every entity: government, business, political, religious, non governmental or social has its own set of rules and regulations. The absence of such rules and regulations would render any entity to become a disorganized one and is sure to fail. While the rules or regulations set by the government organizations concerned every citizen, the rules and regulations of other entities are meant for their respective members or followers only.
The rules and regulations set by the government entities cover almost every aspects in the daily lives of the public. For instance there are the municipal rules and regulations regarding the construction of buildings, access to the water supply mains, the prevention of encroachments of the sidewalks, disposal of garbage, etc, etc. There are also other rules and regulations, such as the traffic rules and regulations, electrical rules and regulations that the consumers and installers must abide, the use of loudspeakers, and many more. However, as I intend to write about the importance for these rules and regulations to be reasonable and practicable and hence obeyable by the public, I will not be listing everything.
Most of the public are not even aware of the existence of some such rules and regulations, thus they need to be made known to them. Just promulgating them at the time they first came into existence wouldn’t be enough. Awareness campaigns should be carried out periodically by using the media, both the print and broadcast, and warning signs should be posted, if necessary, to educate the public. Lack of abidance by the rules and regulations are caused, mostly, due to the ignorance of them by the general public.
As much as the publicity of these rules and regulations are important, they should also be reasonable and practicable to be obeyable. Here, I would like to give a few examples of unreasonable and impractical rules and regulations.
A few years back, honking of horns were prohibited. It was a very thoughtful action on the part of the authorities concerned, but it was too strict to the point of impracticality. The roadside signs that literally meant: “HORN FREE ZONE. NO HONKING FOR ANY REASON” are posted at some places in Yangon. Not that I don’t agree with the prohibition of the honking, but it was absolutely unreasonable and impractical.
The car horns are still being incorporated in cars since their invention and would still be installed in the future. They are useful to ward off unnecessary accidents. If there is an imminent danger of collision with another vehicle or if a pedestrian is negligently or recklessly about to cross in front of a moving car, a warning should be given, by first honking and then try to stop the car or make an avoiding manoeuvre. In such dangerous circumstances, the drivers may be compelled to use the horn. So, in my opinion, it should be “NO HONKING, UNLESS NECESSARY”. Then only the order or the warning sign would sound reasonable and practicable and hence obeyable.
I can understand the intentions of the authorities to eradicate the bad habits of honking in our country, a trend that is very rare elsewhere in the world. However, that campaign must be reckoned as a failure, because the habits of honking are even getting worse with the growing traffic congestions today. In most other countries, unnecessarily honking is deemed as an insult or swearing.
Another such example is the posting of signs on the Banyardala road and may be elsewhere too, where I haven’t been to. Those signs read: “NO PARKING ROAD, PARKING NOT ALLOWED TO ANY CAR”, However, I had noticed cars parked around the clock on that road right next to those signs. Whenever I saw those scenes, I felt as if they are mocking at or even insulting the authorities concerned.
In fact that road needs to be designated as such, and should be enforced strictly. These situations didn’t sprung up only recently, but I had been noticing such disregards to the warning orders since four or five years ago. In the beginning there were periodical patrols by the traffic police, however, lack of parking spaces made it impossible for the authorities to effectively enforce the orders issued.
To be able to handle that problem, it would only be fair to solve the parking problems first. Before that can be done, I would like to suggest that the authorities should consider removing those signs temporarily until such time that the parking problems are solved and proper enforcements could be carried out.
To cite yet another example of such absurdity, I would like to recall what I had written in an article about two years ago in the GNLM. The title of which was “Reckless Spitting”. Though the title was aimed at spitting, I had included indiscriminate peeing and defecating by the roadsides along the road circling the Kandawgyi Lake. I had mentioned about the warning signs posted along that road that read: “NO LITTERING, URINATING OR DEFECATING. WILL BE SUBJECT TO A FINE OF TEN THOUSAND KYATS IF FOUND”. On first seeing those signs I was pleased that the authorities had taken some positive actions at last. However, when I looked around if there were garbage bins or litter boxes and rest rooms or toilets in the neighbourhood, there was none. Thus those who couldn’t contain themselves are still carrying on doing the business of relieving by the roadsides in full view of the public. At least those signs were no more there now.
So, I would like to conclude my article with some suggestions. Unreasonable and impractical rules and regulations such as those mentioned above should be reviewed. If necessary, they should be abolished, substituted or amended to be in agreement with the prevailing situations and to be more abideable. On the other hand, if they are to remain in place, provisions for the necessary facilities should be in place for the public so that there wouldn’t be any excuse for them to disobey those orders.


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