Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bureaucracy gone mad!

I thought I'd heard every variety of bureaucratic stupidity imaginable . . . but I was wrong.

Vietnam is considering banning small-chested drivers from its roads - a proposal that has provoked widespread disbelief in this nation of slight people.

The Ministry of Health recently recommended that people whose chests measure fewer than 28 inches (72 centimeters) would be prohibited from driving motorbikes - the most popular form of transport - as would those who are too short or too thin.

The proposal is part of an exhaustive list of new criteria the ministry has come up with to ensure that Vietnam's drivers are in good health. As news of the plan hit the media this week, Vietnamese expressed incredulity.

'The new proposals are very funny, but many Vietnamese people could become the victim of this joke,' said Le Quang Minh, 31, a Hanoi stockbroker.

'Many Vietnamese women have small chests. I have many friends who won't meet these criteria.'

'It's ridiculous,' said Tran Thi Phuong, 38, a Hanoi insurance agent. 'It's absurd.'

It was unclear how the ministry established its size guidelines or why it believes that small people make bad drivers.

Officials there refused to comment on its controversial proposal.

The average Vietnamese man is 5 feet, 4 inches (164 centimeters) tall and weighs 121 pounds (55 kilograms). The average Vietnamese woman is 5 feet, 1 inch (155 centimeters) tall and weighs 103 pounds (47 kilograms).

Statistics on average chest size were unavailable.

When Nguyen Van Tai, a motorbike taxi driver, heard about the proposal, he immediately had his chest measured. Much to his relief, Tai beat the chest limit by 3 inches (7 centimeters).

'A lot of people in my home village are small,' said Tai, 46. 'Many in my generation were poor and suffered from malnutrition. And now the Ministry of Health wants to stop us from driving to work.'

Vietnamese bloggers have been poking fun at the plan, envisioning traffic police with tape measures eagerly pulling over female drivers to measure their chests.

'From now on, padded bras will be best-sellers,' said Bo Cu Hung, a popular Ho Chi Minh City blogger.

That's all very well for the ladies, but what are the men to do? Become cross-dressers?

Bureaucrats! Grrr!



Oleg Volk said...

Perhaps VC will ride again...and treat the bureaucrats to dirt naps.

fuzzys dad said...

It makes me wonder if this kind of silliness is in stores for America.
If Obama gets elected.

jeg43 said...

Holy ****! Now you've given our bureaucrats more wacky regulatory ideas.

Betty said...

If I passed this story on to mom, she'd undoubtedly point out the fact (again) that I need to gain ten more pounds. I'm sure there's plenty of Viet bureaucrats who don't meet the size requirements, but they likely can afford someone to drive them around all day.