Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Glut

Every public holiday is an enormous privilege. Of course, while we (as employees) get R&R, it is worth remembering that holidays are paid for by our employer(s). In Malaysia, there are 16 official public holidays. Add the employee’s annual leave, which may vary between 14 to 24 days in a year. And tally the weekends too – i.e. Saturdays and Sundays, which total 104 days. Even if many may be working on Saturdays, for most office workers, it is either a half-Saturday every Saturday or alternate half-Saturdays that they are obliged to work – meaning, Saturdays cannot be productive, if we want to be honest about it! If we add all these off-days up, it should come up to a minimum of 134 days – and these do not include sick days, compassionate leave, study leave (for some) and other types of off-day benefits. Okay, let’s forget about these – let’s assume most people are like me – I hardly take leave of this kind. So, 134 days represent 36.7% of the 365 days in a year. And I am sure that when we calculate these off-days as a ringgit value, it will be of some significance to the wage bill. The fact that we have too many holidays do not augur well for a country’s productivity, besides also knocking our competitiveness.

Take this month of December, for instance – there are 4 Fridays but 3 of those Fridays are public holidays. See what I mean? Are we surprised if diligence and hard work flew out of the window? We cannot afford to be lax about work anymore. Doug Firebaugh said: “Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow”. But if we are perpetually on holiday, we won’t even move! So how can we envision a better tomorrow?

Today, Arulkumar re-confirmed his participation for our dinner meeting tomorrow – and his Sunway Toastmasters Club brings the tally to 11 clubs in total. Francis Chiong from MIHRM Toastmasters had texted me to say he is outstation and will only be back late tomorrow. And I thought it was really super of him to insist that he will drop by, no matter what – just to show support. Everything is set and for sure, we will have a wonderful meeting tomorrow. I bet you, even our own HICT Toastmasters will be pleasantly surprised with all the arrangements made. There will be many firsts at this meeting!

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