Bell norms


The introduction of a new system which is still evidently unfamiliar/unnatural to visitors, who would be understandably reluctant to push an unmarked button on the gate of this clearly upper-class house with its prominent barrier. The question remains, however, why the message is written in English. The Burmese language has a word for “bell” – is this a suggestion of the cachet of the visitors to the house – “If you can’t read the sign and are trying to inquire about occupancy the conventional way, you have no right to be here”)? A marker of the high level of education (and English language knowledge) of the owner? A marker of the cultural inspiration for the installation of this bell?


Street-level ropes connected to bells located within higher-floor apartments (“ring-ropes”) fill this role for urban residents, and most village residents in this type of house install metal bells on their gates if the space between their wall and the house is perceived to be greater than the distance that human voice can carry. Unlike the solutions shown here, both of these solutions get around the issue of unreliable electricity.

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