Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Holiday Con

Once again, we have the twice-yearly holiday rip-off.

We are informed that we are being given seven days’ holiday to mark May 1st, International Labour Day. Great, except it isn’t true.

After the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), the two most important public holidays are May Day and China’s National Day (October 1st). Prior to October 1999, these were celebrated by three-day holidays. This arrangement is still preserved in statute.

In 1999, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Chairman Mao’s declaration of the founding the People’s Republic, it was decided to extend the holiday. To everyone’s surprise, the ‘people’ celebrated in true communist style – by going shopping! The resulting boost to the economy so impressed the guardians of socialism that they decided to repeat it at every holiday since and call them “Golden Weeks”.

However, they can’t actually afford to close everything down for a week, so a confidence trick was imposed. They manipulate the calendar. They call Monday, Saturday and Wednesday, Sunday. Nothing is beyond us.

As a practical example of this hocus pocus, here are the arrangements for this year’s May Day holiday.

Saturday April 30th Pretend it’s Wednesday May 4th Go to work 0
Sunday May 1st May Day! Public Holiday Go shopping 1
Monday May 2nd Public Holiday Go Shopping 2
Tuesday May 3rd Public Holiday Go Shopping 3
Wednesday May 4th You dealt with this last Saturday Go Shopping 4
Thursday May 5th Oops. May Day was Sunday. Your day off! Not fair. Have it again Go Shopping 5
Friday May 6th Not ready to go back yet? Don’t worry. (We’ll get you later) Go shopping 6
Saturday May 7th It’s Saturday! You don’t go to work on Saturdays! Go shopping 7
Sunday May 8th Hey! You stole a day on Friday. Pretend today is Friday May 6th. Go to work

So you’ve had 7 days holiday! The fact that two of those days were days you normally have off anyway and two were days you were forced to ‘make up’ at other times, gets lost in the confusion.

After struggling through all the manipulation of the calendar (and all that shopping), I need another holiday to recover!

. This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2005 at 9:45 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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