It’s exactly one week before Christmas. And like every other year that I’ve been in China you wouldn’t know it — as long as you stayed away from a shopping mall. There, the shops are full of Christmas spirit or at least the hope that foreigners and Chinese people who are related to or work with foreigners are going to go and spend lots of money on Christmas gifts. Apologizes for the cynical commentary, I just don’t feel very much in the Christmas mood at the moment. I generally don’t mind staying in China for Christmas as I get to escape all the commercialism at home — as you can tell from my words above that’s fast disappearing. The other reason is I get to spend time with Winnie and my friends and have what for me is the true meaning of Christmas — good friendship and that will still be happening this year. I’m also taking Christmas Day and Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for non-British Commonwealth readers) off this year to ensure I get a good rest.
The bad side is that the Chinese Government has gone and dropped a lump of coal in my stocking — and it’s not even Christmas Eve yet. They’ve gone and
canceled shortened the May Day holidays down to one day. Now, they’ve done the noble thing and added an extra day onto the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival as well as gave us Tomb Sweeping Day (April), The Dragon Boat Festival (June) and Mid-Autumn Day (September) as new public holidays, which adds one extra holiday to the public holidays for the year, but I am still going to miss having a guaranteed week of in May.
Joking aside, the reason the government is doing this because the country’s infrastructure can’t take the majority of Chinese all traveling at once three times a year during the Golden Weeks (the other two are Chinese New Year and the October 1st National Holidays). And I think this plus the annual leave that the government is promising to mandate will bring a lot of relief. But like a lot of others, I wonder if in the short term canceling the May Golden Week will just shift the burden to the October one.
Update: We’ve been asked to work Saturday December 29th in order to receive Monday December 31st off. That will provide us with a three-day long weekend for New Years.