Friday, February 14, 2014

Lowest bidder

There is one golden rule that every American soldier would never forget when in combat which is that his weapon in hand is manufactured by the lowest bidder. Sarcastic but true, this Murphy’s Law has been learned in hard and bloody way.

The same rule may be applied to the computerized household registration system recently launched by the Ministry of the Interior. The new system was expected to link all household registration tasks nation-wide, hopefully a great convenience to help ordinary citizens save considerable time to make all necessary registrations. Unfortunately, things have never turned out as desired. Soon after its official launch, one glitch after another cost the whole system paralyze for days. Thousands of citizens had to go to the local registration office back and forth several times but still failed to register their marriage or baby birth, which was only a simple job of only a couple minutes if done manually. Public fury was thus imaginable. The interior minister Lee Hong-yuan had to remove his Director of Household Registration Department to appease the discontent. Lee later told the media that he deemed it necessary to revise government’s public bidding regulations because he considered the so called “the-lowest-bidder-wins” principle one of the key reasons for this system screw-up.

Chinese has a saying: the higher the price, the better the quality of the merchandise. That means you get what you pay for. I hate to add that part of this system malfunction was a result of a phenomena prevailing in politics in recent years. All politicians are anxious to achieve “something” quick to let the voters “see” what they have done in order to seek a second-term. Such rationale was the root of various fxxk-ups.  President Ma and his ministers should refresh themselves with the Murphy's Law all G.I.s follow. 

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