Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Public Holiday

Najib, I suspect, is keeping himself very busy in order that he can crown himself champion in the popularity stakes – yesterday, in Parliament, he declared September 16 a public holiday – to mark the day Malaysia was formed 46 years after the fact (New Straits Times, October 20, 2009, p 1). Remember his other ‘well-received’ initiatives: 1Malaysia and GTP (Government Transformation Program) with their KPIs? Whether they make sense don’t really count because the rakyat is supposed to feel good about them, and that is all that matters. Whether these are all just catchy slogans and fantastic packaging of timeless concepts don’t cut ice because we are supposedly a superficial people who are easily appeased and placated.

Malaysia already sits on top of the world with the most number of public holidays – so having another one is “one too many”. How can we be productive if there is so much time off? I mean, the public holidays are so generous that I can be well-rested, that I don’t even need to take any annual leave! Honest!

On the other hand, it is an important day for Malaysians and one that is belatedly acknowledged and finally recognized. I guess its time has finally arrived.
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But the fact remains that there are many of us like our ex-Premier Mahathir Mohamad who worry about this excessive embrace of public holidays. He was reported to be lamenting the fact that the country is going overboard with too many public holidays, that we'd rather holiday than work. And The Malaysian Insider poured a bucketful of mocking cynicism over this whole issue, when it commented: “Successive BN governments have ignored calls to make Malaysia Day a holiday. Najib’s administration is now acknowledging the significance of the votes from Sabah and Sarawak”. It does seem that way, doesn’t it? Anyway, Najib has indicated, “Malaysians will celebrate two national days” and the citizenry will no doubt, dutifully rejoice.

But I don’t think we will see the end of this appetite for public holidays. Very soon, Malaysians will demand for (additional) public holidays for Ponggal, Vasakhi, Mid-Autumn Festival, Good Friday, Chap Goh Meh, and other commemorative days, and maybe, Rosmah’s birthday even. And when this happens, Malaysians will grudgingly grasp the sad fact that we have finally descended into the demented depths of loony ludicrousness. And as we love to say, Malaysia Boleh!

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