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Mall of Indonesia Poster – Dogs cannot enter

Here’s a poster from the Mall of Indonesia in North Jakarta, Indonesia. Similar to the Tokyo Metro poster, “Please Do it at the beach”, literal translations and cultural differences can make instructions confusing.

In this poster at the Mall of Indonesia, visitors are advised that dogs cannot enter the mall. But the poster then advises visitors to keep their dogs on a lead. And this is where the confusion arises. If dogs aren’t permitted to enter the mall, why are visitors being advised to keep dogs on a lead?

There are various ways one can interpret these instructions. One way is to understand that there are differences throughout the world when it comes rules adherence. In Western countries, vehicles stop at a red light regardless of whether the roads are busy. However in some Asian countries, while vehicles generally stop at red lights, the red light is often ignored when no other vehicles are around and it’s safe to pass.

With this understanding, perhaps the poster is using similar reasoning: Dogs aren’t allowed in the mall. However we know that some of you won’t follow the rules. As such, if you bring a dog in here, make sure you put in on a lead and keep it under control at all times.

Another interpretation stems from the use of unclear language, a common occurrence when translating instructions into other languages that are not native to the country. Perhaps the poster is pointing out that dogs aren’t allowed to enter a specific part of the mall. But in other areas within the mall, dogs are to be kept on a lead at all times.

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