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Must read: New rules for arts managers at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts

You thought there were bureaucrats in your office? The following memo has just gone out to staff at the magnificent NCPA.

Translation (c) Slipped Disc.



“Standard Guideline of Office Area” regulated in March 2013

I. Desk
1. Each employee is allocated three storage boxes. Books and magazines should be aligned in rows.
2. The telephone set shoud be put at the left side on the desk. The cup, glass and pen container at the right side.
3. Each monitor is allocated with a dust cover. One has to put on the dust cover after turning off the computer before going off duty.
4. Things not related to work should not be put on the desk, and absolutely not under the desk.
5. Sort stuff in the desk drawer folliwing the order of inside to outside, left to right and high to low. The lowest drawer is reserved for personal stuff.

II. Cabinet
Align things in the cabinet in the order from left to right and from high to low. Files should be put into file folders with unified tags.

III. Wall and Window Sill
1. The bottom of a hanging frame should be 1.5 metres above floor with maximum frame length 60cm. Content in the frame should be related to work.
2. The clock is expected to be hung above the door.
3. No stuff on window sill. Window glass should be kept clean and clear.

IV. Other Area
1. No exposed power line or power socket according to unified regulation.
2. No green plant, no ash tray, no personal garment.
3. Floor should be kept neat with dust bins unifiedly placed.

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  1. This really doesn’t surprise me. I have personally experienced and repeatedly witnessed near similar oppressive bureaucracy in the United States, when working with various orchestras and arts institutions. The Americans are actually not far from this totalitarian Chinese bureaucratic nightmare, except they do it in a more surreptitious manner. They all seem to live and abide by a never ending list of rules and oppressive regulations in their workplaces, both affecting their own interpersonal interaction between themselves and their colleagues (always living in constant fear of doing or saying anything that may be deemed politically incorrect or could be interpreted as ‘sexual harassment’, even an innocent comment like, “you look so nice today”) and in dealing with outside contacts. Anybody here who has dealt with bringing a foreign ensemble/orchestra on tour to the U.S. will know exactly what I am talking about, as each and every member of the ensemble must undergo an interview at a U.S. consulate, fill out endless paperwork. Then, once on tour, one sees the oppressive and politically correct behaviour of the U.S. hosts, never daring to say anything that could be seen as controversial or critical of their system. Having toured extensively in both China and the U.S., I find them both very similar in their crushing bureaucracy and fear of their citizens to make a mistake. Both are sad and oppressed in my opinion.

  2. Seriously? These folks manage ART and ARTISTS???? LOL!!!!

  3. Antonio Augusto says:

    When I read these “rules” came into my mind the words of sociologist Silvia Viana of his book Rituals of Suffering:

    The Nazi system forged a new form of ideology that dismissed the rationale justification of domination. Contrary to what is usually thought, was not the nonsensical ideas of their leaders – able to encompass the various paradoxes, such as the exaltation of the industry and the mythology of the return to the field – the source of obedience, but the way in which ritual become a social organization. (…) Primo Levi shows how in concentration camps, endless calls, the housekeeping impeccable beds, forced hair cutting etc.. forged obedience without any publicity needed. “

  4. Rudolph Tang says:

    Cann’t help wondering how the Japanese theatres manage their staff members.

  5. Peter_Shi says:

    According to the information I got from my ex-colleagues in NCPA Beijing, there is one important detail missed: If your teacup has handle, the cup must be placed in the way that the handle towards your position at 45 degrees.

    Plus, they have already got the dust covers for their monitors.

    It is said that NCPA’s boss got this idea from a “military singer”…

  6. José Bergher says:

    It would be interesting to know the regulations about the use of toilet paper and flushing the toilets, and if the users of the toilet facilities are permitted to smile while using them. Also, the placing of the Commie rulers’ photos at the right angle above the desks.

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