As I am writing this, I have tons of unfinished work waiting for me. But instead of grabbing my invoices, numeric keypad and cheque book, I darted to this page. My mind just couldn't start. The black coffee I had this morning didn't give me the desired effect. The short yoga I did also didn't energize me at all. I guess my whole body and mind are just not ready to accept the fact that today is really the end the holiday season in Malaysia.
Living in Malaysia means enjoying more holidays than any other countries. Our multi-cultural society celebrates religious holidays for Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. We also celebrate Chinese New Year, International New Year, and Islamic New Year in addition to Independence Day, Malaysia Day, Federal Territory Day, Labor Day and King's Birthday. All in all we have about 17 days of public holidays in a year. Average annual leaves for employees is 14 days/year. Maternity days had been increased from 30 to 60 days.
So if I were a pregnant woman delivering my baby this year, I would get 102 off-days on weekends, plus 17 days of public holidays, 60 days of maternity leaves and 14 days annual leaves = 193 off days per year. A normal person would get about 133 days of holidays a year.
While lot of business owners complain that we have way too many public holidays thus reducing productivity of the country, I am not complaining at all.
I totally believe in having a balance life of work and leisure. Life is too short to be spent on work and work and work. The 133 days of holidays means 1/3 of our life was spent on leisure while 2/3 or our life was for working. I guess it's a fair deal.
Few years ago my uncle introduced me to his clients, two Korean guys, one in his late fifties and the other one was in his early thirties. Being a nice person, my uncle "entertained" his guests by taking them for a lavish Chinese dinner. We went to my favorite seafood restaurant that had live crustaceans, lobsters, fish, clams and varieties of prawns in their aquariums. Being generous, my uncle and auntie ordered 8 dishes for the 6 of us. While we were eating, I noticed his Korean guests looked restless, looking at their watches a few times. I asked them if they had more plans after the dinner. They said no.
With those many dishes plus difficult-to-eat Chilli Crab, we spent a little bit more than one hour in that restaurant before we paid our bills and sent our guests to their hotels. While my uncle's intention was to entertain his clients, it seemed like his clients were not entertained at all.... They were a bit agitated and quiet. So my uncle asked them if everything was fine, if they liked the food and if there were other things they would like to have. They said the food was very delicious and everything was fine.
When we got into the car, the older guy asked us if we always had our meals like that. We said no because if we ate like that too often we would end up popping cholesterol reducing pills everyday. He said, he didn't mean the dishes. What he meant was... we ate for 1 hour and 20 minutes. He actually timed our dinner..!
He told us that we had been wasting our time by eating too long. He said that if we had our meals more than 15 minutes per meal, we would easily waste 2 hours a day. Multiply that with one year, we wasted our productive time by 730 hours which was equal to 30 days per year, all for the sake of eating...!!
I was shocked...! I never thought that eating is a waste of time. It's a way to enjoy life.
I got so irritated that I couldn't help myself from asking him if he had been enjoying life at all. He said it's not the time for him to enjoy life. He would enjoy his life after he retired. I asked him when would he retire. He said when his son took over the business, he would retire and enjoy his life. As of now, he should not enjoy his life. I further asked him what would happen if he got sick when he retired and couldn't enjoy all the money he had. I felt bad but I really had to ask him this question : "Do you believe that all of us can die anytime?" "What happens if you die before your retirement?" "Then you won't have the chance to enjoy your life at all."
The guy looked at me as if I was a crazy stupid woman. He said it's so strange that I could think like that. If everyone thought like me, nothing would move and this world would be a very non-productive place. My uncle was so embarrassed and changed the topic of the conversation...
Well... if only I told him how many public holidays a pregnant Malaysian woman had in a year, I guess he would not want to talk to any of us anymore and my uncle would lose his clients.
So now, after wasting my time hitting the keyboard ranting about the end of holiday season, I believe I should start working...
But first, let me check my calendar for the next public holiday.