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November 13, 2019

Maintenance-free — non-existent

Since the beginning of civilization, mankind has been creating numerous things for his living, accommodation, houses and buildings. He has also invented many transporters which are faster than walking and running. Initially he used domesticated animals such as horses, oxen, mules and elephants to power the transporters in the forms of carts, coaches and chariots. A fast transporter called a “car” was invented in the early 19th century which was initially powered by a steam engine and now in 21st century developed so much so that there are cars run by petrol, diesel, gas, hybrid (both petrol engine & electric motor), battery (electric car) and currently  fuel cell propulsion; using hydrogen gas from the filling station which is mixed with oxygen from the air and get the power through combustion and water will come out from the “exhaust” pipe making the environment completely safe. No carbon dioxide and/or carbon monoxide gases will be released from the fuel cell engine but only water, making 100% environmentally friendly.
In the area of construction, man has been building homes, residence, apartments, condominium, hostels, guest houses and hotels for human accommodation. To provide and facilitate transportation we have built roads, culverts, bridges, flyovers, underground roads, railways, trams and sky and underground trains.  Not only road transport has been developed but also sea and air transport are now very advanced. Mega size container carrier, bulk carrier and liquid carrier ships are plying in international sea lanes to transport heavy goods and various products around the world. Aircrafts are also so advanced that they can carry hundreds of travelers and tons of goods with high efficiency and cost effectiveness.
But as late Venerable Taungdann Tharthanarpyu Sayardaw U Ottama Tharya once told the disciples that “Men get old, All living creatures get old and All materials get rotten”, all things (buildings, road, bridges, cars, ships, airplanes) will get rotten day by day and eventually be damaged. In engineering term it has been known that every goods and product has a life time. Things will function during their life time as they are designed to do so. Still we need to “maintain” each and every material, regardless of building, road, bridge, cars, ship or air craft. Maintenance is therefore essential not only for the non-life things but also for the living creatures including human beings.
Many years ago, I applied to attend a course in a UK university and they sent me prospectus as well as “Maintenance Plan”. I was first startled having seen “Maintenance” which was clarified in the document that maintenance covered (a) accommodation-including furniture (b) meals (c) laundry (d) possible medical care costs. Yes, we have to maintain our bodies everyday, which every human being is doing. Without maintenance we will not survive or our life will be shortened. We will get sick without drinking water, meals, bathing, keeping warm etc.
For the non-life items such as buildings, roads, bridges, cars, ships, aircrafts there have to be a well designed maintenance plan, which will include the frequency of what to do, when and how. If regular maintenance is not enough, there will have to be repair plans. Above all these maintenance plans have to be adequately budgeted. Maintenance will ensure all non-life things will be functional fully in their designed life time and to their highest performance.  “Maintenance-free” is therefore non-existent.

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