Wednesday, 25 November 2009

What's Wrong with This Picture?

The Lithuanian Ministry of Education took the time (sometime in the past) to write a rule stating that schoolchildren must use fountain pens exclusively beginning in the first grade. (Oh, the mess!) But strangely enough, at no time in the past did they take the time to write a rule stating that schools must provide toilet paper in the bathrooms/restrooms/toilets for children. Oh, no. It's BYOTP for children in Lithuanian public schools.

So typical of Lithuanian governing. Long lists of mindless, often arcane, rules (which can and will be interpreted differently by various bureaucrats you encounter) for the average citizen to follow, but almost nothing about the responsibility of the government to provide anything of value.

I heard another story recently that sort of fits into the same category (bad governance). You want to get your house hooked up to the gas main? You say it runs just a few meters from your property? Expect to shell out US$100,000+ (so I was told--obviously a gross exaggeration, but I'm sure the actual figure is something ridiculous when compared to salaries here [maybe US$1000?] ) for all of the fees, permits, projects that need to be prepared, etc. Make no mistake. Those in power are not interested in eliminating the excess bureaucracy that leads to corruption. It puts too much money into their pockets and the pockets of their family and friends working in the bureaucracy.