The Rules - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 1, 2019

The Rules

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Everywhere we go in life, we have rules that we have to follow. These may be moral rules such as "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife" or they may have the force of law like "don't steal" or "don't kill". They could even just be firmly enshrined customs like "stand right, walk left" where breaking them might get you shoved but won't have any lasting consequence.

Ever since I became literate in Chinese, one of the stranger things I have really liked to do is read the rules. The things that are prohibited—the things that people feel a need to tell you are prohibited—tell you a lot about the people.

Miss Manners may have said "no elbows on the table" but it never occurred to her to tell you not to clip your toenails in public. Or, as any college student can tell you, the nightclub with the "drug free zone" sign is probably the best place to score.

Like many of the hotel rooms I've stayed at in China, the Rules were posted prominently on the back of the door next to the fire escape map.

Provided by the district Public Security Bureau, they started out in the usual way, "for public order and safety," "according to this and such regulation" and proceeded in the usual way "must present valid ID", what to do if you don't have ID, "no transferring or renting your room or bed to someone else", and "any luggage left in hotel storage will first be opened and inspected".

"No caustic chemicals, poisons, explosives, knives, weapons, guns, bullets, or radioactive materials" is a regular one that often leaves me wondering: Who? When? And what happened? 

Don't fight. Don't brawl. Don't use the hotel room to produce pornographic material. Don't disturb other guests. Don't get blackout drunk. No games of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Don't make loud noises. Don't gamble. Don't do drugs. Don't sell sexual services.

Wait. What?

No games of Rock, Paper, Scissors.

What exactly is going on in this region that the Public Security Bureau felt the need to include games of Rock, Paper, Scissors in the list of prohibited behaviors that hotel guests must absolutely avoid doing during their stay?

The mind boggles.

An early to mid 90's illustrated edition of The Rules photographed in Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County on my 2012 Tour. It neither includes prohibitions against "Rock, Paper, Scissors" or radioactive materials.
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Marilyn MudgeThank you for the Rock, Paper, Scissors rule! I will ponder its significance for days, Iā€™m sure. šŸ˜†
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9 months ago
Bruce LellmanNow I will always think hard before playing Rock -Paper -Scissors in any hotel anywhere.
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9 months ago
Marian RosenbergTo Bruce LellmanMy Chinese friends have come up with various answers (most of which fall under RPS often being a drinking game) for why this is the case but no one can come up with a good reason for specifically singling it out among all the other potentially loud things you might do in a hotel room.
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9 months ago