Thursday, 15 July 2010

Delay is the deadliest form of denial

Have you heard of Prof C Northcote Parkinson? He was a British naval historian and the Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya in Singapore, but he was also an author of about 60 books, many of them filled with his delightful wit. Ah, the richness of the English language. In one of his books, he suggested that there was a Law Of Delay.

And what is the Law Of Delay? Simply put, it means that "delay is the deadliest form of denial". If you delay making a decision on something, you are actually preventing or denying justice from being done at all.

Therefore, I'm not surprised at all that the matter of bringing down the two arches at the Penang Botanic Garden is being delayed so long. It's just Parkinson's Law Of Delay being put into practice!

Recently, the Penang Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) gave excuses for not demolishing the arches yet. First, the DID said that the tilting arch bore no immediate danger. Second, the DID was waiting for the official word from the Ministry of Tourism.

Yesterday after two weeks of dithering -- meaning complete silence -- the DID gave more excuses for the delay. Now, they said that they would have to consult the experts at the Public Works Department (PWD) before it demolishes the arches. "We have no experience in demolition," cried out the state DID's director, Anuar Yahya, "so it’s better for us to ask those who do."

And when he was asked when the demolition would take place, he said it was up to the Tourism Ministry. "We will meet with the ministry soon to present our report on the tilt of one of the arches."

Bah, humbug! They are all the same. One damn bloody excuse after another. All part of bureaucratic inefficiency, whether it is at the federal level or the state level, in whatever form: delay, denial, incompetence. Talk only, with no positive action. And in the meantime, I'm wondering what the NGOs in Penang are going to do next. Are they going to let this unacceptable delay carry on until November this year?

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