Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The authority that cried wolf

As I wrote in a previous post, the government takes a micro-managing approach when it comes to warning signs. Hikers in particular are at significant risk of catastrophe, if the dissuasive panels along the route are anything to go by. Unless your chosen foray into nature happens to be a 200-metre, wheelchair-friendly tree walk, then you're likely to encounter something like this:

Above:  Plover Cove country trail (please note the stone steps of the 'very difficult' trail.)

and anything vaguely promising in the distance gets a point-blank no-no:
Above: benevolent powers that be tell us to turn back on the ascent of Ma On Shan (needless to say, we continued)

Other logic-defying favourites of mine are 'steep cliff, do not proceed' (really? Because I hiked up here just to hurl myself off) and 'deep water' (with a drowning hand pictogram, next to a dried-out trickle).

Judging by the cheerful stream of hikers I usually pass en route, I am not the only one who pays little heed to these warnings. What'll it take to warn hikers of real dangers? The disembodied remains of unfortunate explorers mounted on stakes? Here There Be Monsters? Or maybe - just maybe - a little credit for common sense?

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