Sunday, 3 October 2010

OMG , its a holiday

Hooray, Hooray, It’s a holi holiday – if you were a gawking teenager in the 70s, you would have probably tapped your feet in rhythm to Boney M. If you are a toddler, teenager, 20,30,40,50 something or a laorenjia (old old man), in China, you would instead be singing Oh My God; it’s a holiday and run for cover !

This week is “National Holiday” in China. Oct 1 is the National Day in China – some 61 years ago Mao Zedong declared the People’s Republic as formed. Never mind that China was “founded” long long ago in the mists of time – Chinese history begins with whenever the current ruling dynasty started – that’s the way it has been for all those centuries.

This is not a post on Chinese history. Instead it is a rant against the crazy Chinese concept of National Holidays. This whole week , a full seven days, is a holiday. All offices are shut. Banks are shut. You cannot transfer money from one bank to another. You can do nothing, especially if it involves the government. And since everything in China involves the government – virtually every company of note is government owned – it basically means you can do nothing.

Correction. You can actually do a lot. Go out that is. Some 1.2 billion Chinese do exactly that. Roads are clogged. You can’t get a ticket on a train or a bus or a plane. In every shopping mall, you can only stand on one foot ; there’s no space for the other foot – the only place you can put that is in your mouth ! This is also the time of the year when China is blessed with fairly decent weather. All the more reason why everybody is out. If Indians think they know all about crowds, they haven’t seen China – only Churchgate station at 8.52 AM can even come close to the National Holiday chaos here.

Heroic stories are reported of how police, volunteers, whoever have made huge sacrifices to be at duty and control the crowds. There will be the inevitable snippet of some idiot, who defied laws of physics to be wherever he had to be at during the holiday. And the tragic epic of another who couldn’t be where he had to be.

To compound matters, the Chinese now have at least three National Holidays. Spring festival, which comes in Feb, May Day week and now this first week of October. The madness is repeated for a week each time. Just a few years ago, the holiday would just be a day or two. But the trend recently has been to make people work on preceding and succeeding weekends and then give a full 7 days off.

This all looks a bit too much like the French in August. There are a million things that are great and glorious about France but holidays is not one of them. Why did the Chinese have to ape the French in this holiday madness.

So here’s a message to my Chinese friends. You guys actually work very hard. For all that hard work, you certainly deserve a holiday. Or two, Or even three. But please, oh please, not all of you at the same time !


Kiwibloke said...

Every country has its holiday week/month. I see nothing wrong with it. India's multiple festival breaks including Bengal's puja, Aus/NZ/UK has Xmas and new year, US has thanks giving, well most of Europe shuts down in summer. Good to have a break.

Sandhya Sriram said...

after an extremely stressed out month end... even this weekend has been like a very big holiday for me.

Its a very paradoxical situation. with both member working and children's school (even though my kid is still in play school - i still feel guilty skipping it for 10 days), you can't plan a holiday except when everything is closed and if it closed for me, it is closed for every one as well.

and given the slog we other wise put, i deserve this break...

I dont think this problem has a solution - does it?

zeno said...

Holidays Ku ellam OMG prefix potta mudhal aal neenga than!

gils said...

mishter zeeenoo...vaara vaaram vara Fridayku Thank godnu solrapo..holidayku OMG poatta enna?

-Thalaivar ramesh rasigar manram,
chennai kilai

gils said...

ooh..antha hooray hooray song Boney M is it!!! VH1 la classicsla epoovo potaan..saw it frm mid cudnt get the name :)

Deepa said...

You should have undergone an 'articleship' under a CA for 3 yrs. And work beyond the 3 yrs for all the days you took an off! Then, even a half-day off, (no matter how you spent that other half) was like summer rains! And my Principle (the boss) went by your last line when it came to holidays. We had a Muslim, a Christian, a Sikh, a Jain and Hindus in office, each one got their respective holidays, the others came to work as usual! :D

Ramesh said...

@kiwi - Nothing wrong, of course. Except you have to see 1.2 billion have a weeklong holiday and all deciding to take to the streets at the same time !

@Sandhya - Oh yes you deserve the break. And more. But it won't be a break at all if everybody else was also having his break at the same time .

@Zeno - Me not against holiday at all ; especially since I took off on a long "sabbatical" last year which was when I took upto blogging. But you don't want to whole world to be having a holiday alongside you.

@Gils - Ha Ha. Thank God and OMG is not very different !!!

@Deepa - Eternally grateful that I never had to undergo the torture called articleship.

Vishal said...

I would love to have these holidays concept around my current work environment so that I could sit back at home all those days reading your posts again and again :) and write a few. For a person like me who likes being at home on the holidays, it won't matter what is going on outside. At least I won't be part of those 1.2 billions taking the streets. :D

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

Dear Ramesh, I have very good memories of October 1 in China, way back in 1993. I drove from Zibo to Qu Fu (which is the home town of Confucius - or Kung Fu Tze to use his proper name) and visited his home, which is now a shrine of sorts. In the evening, I climbed up the 1000 odd steps to the top of the Tai Shan mountain, and found a dormitory to stay in for the night. Before turning in I rented a Chinese Army greatcoat for 20RMB. The next morning, at 430am, I woke up with the multitudes to witness the dawn over the Tai Shan range. On the way back I took a train and travelled with ordinary Chinese to Jinan, and still remember the happy faces of those going home. Oh, and was fed a lot of moon cakes by these ordinary, friendly, simple people who had never seen a heavily bearded "lau wai" before. A great experience.

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