Nomological Net

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faults in the clouds of delusion

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fiction leading reality, by half a hot scalpel

There's a classic episode of Yes Minister featuring a hospital with no doctors. Here's an extract from the screenplay of that episode, followed for contrast by an email that I received recently:

*******

Bernard explained that at this hospital there are only 342 administrative staff. The other 170 are porters, cleaners, laundry workers, gardners, cooks, and so forth. This seemed a perfectly reasonable figure. So I asked how many medical staff.

"Oh, none of them,' replied Bernard casually, as if that were perfectly obvious in any case.

"We are talking about St. Edward's Hospital, aren't, we, Bernard?'

"Oh yes,' he answered cheerfully. "It's brand new, you see,' he added as if that explained everything.

"How new?'

"Well,' he said, "it was completed eight months ago, and fully staffed, but unfortunately there were government cutbacks at that time and there was, consequently, no money left for the medical services.'

*******

Dear Tabula Rasa ,
Now University is working hard on the control of A/C operation, the general allowed A/C time for office is from 08:00-23:00 for Mon-Sat. So we have to review every request that the A/C extension is requested. As instructed from our Dept Director, staff are recommended to use the office ( with A/C ) from the above stated time, and special or occasional long A/C time shall be entertained upon individual ad-hoc request. So we can only maintain to 08:00-23:00 for Mon-Sat for your office, and we always ready to discuss with you for the reason on your request for A/C in your office after 23:00, or you can send ad-hoc request for occasional over time work.
Please raise your view when you still in need.
Regards

*******

It's oddly comforting, in a time when conditions in the US and A are drifting towards those described in 1984, to know that China is instead following the path first revealed by Messers Lynn and Jay.

16 Comments:

Anonymous l said...

minor comment.
hong kong =/= china.
hong kong == erstwhile colony, held by people of the same brand as lynn & jay.

2/14/2007 12:43 AM  
Blogger Rahul said...

I don't see the problem (except for the fractured English) or the connection with Lynn/Jay. It seems more "green" to me to turn off the AC at hours when people are unlikely to be in the office, and turn it on only on request. At my workplace they turn it off at 7 pm, except for computer server/cluster rooms. (After that I turn on the fan and/or open the window if I'm still there, no complaints.)

2/14/2007 2:35 AM  
Blogger Revealed said...

Please raise your view when you still in need. That has got to be the motto for someone somewhere. And if it isn't already, I'm usurping it right now! :-|

2/14/2007 2:37 AM  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

Good point by I. As someone said; "The British invented bureaucracy for India, the Indians perfected it". I guess the same applies to your island.
Give a peon a rubber stamp and he is king of his realm.

2/14/2007 2:46 AM  
Blogger Szerelem said...

Agree with I.
And how awesome is Yes Minister????

2/14/2007 4:32 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

l, szerelem, mt:
yup, try telling that to the chinese.
although i do see that it's a "special administrative region", with special administration as described.

rahul:
a) first and foremost, i should be able to dictate when i can use my office.
b) who are they to decide unilaterally that there will be no a/c after 11, or on sundays?
c)last night i called their "ad hoc usage" number. the gent there courteously noted my request to get the a/c back on, and did zip-all about it.
d) it might not have been so bad if the offices had openable windows. no window in the building can be opened since they designed it to be typhoon-proof. or so they claim.
e) i don't fancy using a fan when it's as cold as it is.
f) i could go on.

revealed:
heck, yes! you could even put it to music
raise you view mama
higher! higher!
lower you view now
like a periscope

2/14/2007 9:01 AM  
Blogger Rahul said...

tr - unconvinced.

This is actually one thing I absolutely hated in the US -- AC all the freaking time and windows that didn't open. And insane temperature settings, that you generally couldn't do a thing about (there was a thermostat but I'm convinced it was a dummy, it had no impact at all) so that you needed a sweater in the summer (and perspired freely in the winter). And in Manhattan, the AC exhaust in the summer makes the streets even hotter than they need to be.

(I also hate the fact that I cannot individually control the AC in my present office -- I more often want it off in the daytime than on in the evening -- but at least I can close the vents with some acrobatics.)

Anyway, we're emitting way enough CO2 as it is, why should ACs run all night in every office by default? I agree though that they should honour your request when you need it on.

2/14/2007 1:45 PM  
Blogger km said...

I always thought the A/C is supposed to stop working EXACTLY when the project goes into crunch mode and everyone's required to work late hours and weekends?

2/15/2007 2:47 AM  
Blogger progga said...

Mssrs Lynn and Jay are (were?) a riot. I'm torn between the books and the BBC series.
As to building-wise AC/heat, let's not even go there.

2/15/2007 4:24 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

rahul:
well, as it turns out, here the offices are uninhabitable without air-conditioning, or at the very least, circulation. and the way it stands, instead of fixing things, the (purportedly) support staff are fixing to legislate us out of our offices. it's a wonderful breezy 15 celsius outside -- why can't they at the very least move some of that air indoors? (and if they can't, they have no business moving me out.)

km:
and that's exactly what's happening here.

progga:
unfortunately, we have to :-|
or we riot...

2/15/2007 10:20 AM  
Blogger Rahul said...

Yes it's stupid to have windows that don't open. I thought only the US did that.

Anyway -- as a practical matter, not in condonement -- I'm pretty happy working from home (or anywhere else where I can bring my laptop and get broadband). I can even access my office desktop via VNC if need be, or access journals by "tunnelling" traffic through my office network.

Now you'll probably tell me that you're so savagely firewalled you can't do any of these things... Most IT departments don't know the dividing line between security and paranoia.

2/15/2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger Szerelem said...

HK has thermostats that just dont work. It's so insanely COLD when the aircon is switched on.

2/15/2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger Revealed said...

Heheh. Yeah (Cept u didnt make it rhyme, and I do adore rhymes *sigh*).

On a more practical note, my sister has a theory that when temperatures are adverse you should just sit perfectly still, even stop breathing if possible, and you won't even notice the temperature (I did point out that it might be cos you're dead, but she sticks to her theory). So if that's of ne help in the present crisis :D, feel free to use it :P

2/15/2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

rahul:
well actually i *can* remote desktop, thankfully. (although it doesn't seem to be working right now, hmmm.) however i work much better in office and i try for as clean a division of my time as i can. so home is for non-work - except when urgent emails pop up - and for those as well, the Powers That Be have legislated no email half an hour before bedtime or after waking.

szerelem;
hk has thermostats? news to me.

revealed:
i tried it. had an out of body experience.
on a more prosaic note, you'll have to excuse the lack of rhyme. i'm rather one of those modern poet types, with driblets of hair escaping over the collar. and actually, that was a lyric. rhymes set to music remind one of nursery, don't you think?

2/16/2007 12:55 AM  
Blogger Revealed said...

Heh. But some of my best memories are those of the nursery :D. And music set to rhymes prevents lyricists from taking themselves too seriously, don't you think?

And aren't you happy you had the out of body experience? One less thing on that list of things to get done before you turn 30 :D.

2/17/2007 1:46 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

revealed:
30!! i wish!
you flatter me :-)

2/25/2007 9:31 AM  

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