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A 4-day-work a week is not what we need

CC Pung’s dose of philosophical musings.

The writer is a Sabah Justice of Peace and Tokoh Wartawan Sabah and Labuan

MALAYSIA’s economic performance has been flat and GDP per capita figure has stagnated at about USD11k for more than a decade.

Even a person with zero knowledge about economics knows that it has something to do with our national productivity.

But alas in the midst of this stagnant situation and the worsening inflation, I hear this talk about adopting a 4-day work week.

Of course, the main proponent of thos idea is Malaysia’s big (relative to population) civil service with 1.2 million-plus of them.

At the risk of being accused of generalisation and over simplification, I’m not going to label our civil service, said to be among the biggest in the world and, at the last estimate, was made up of 90+ percent Malayu/bumiputeras.

As such they are a vital bank which the political establishment has been going out of its way to pamper and protect.

While the lack of productivity, rampant graft and persistent question about quality and Integrity, expensive conferences are regularly staged supposedly to fight corruption and promote integrity and productivity.

I’m told that junior officers are paid to head so called committees in their respective offices to oversee related programmes which, I assume, are largely a waste of resources.

And, as I recover from a long week that included the Harvest Festival holidays, their replacement holidays, the official birthday of the Malaysian King and whatever ‘breaks’ the Malaysian creavity conjures up, I’m thinking that a 4-day work week is not what we need.

This reminds me of a joke I used to share among my beer buddies who actually concluded years ago that Sabahans had 4-day work week since years  ago.

We had a theory that Sabahans are quite fond of what we called “aramaiti’, or simply getting together, drink and have a good time.

Instead of ‘let’s go for a drink…’, a Sabahan will typically wave and say ‘haus…..”  (malay for thirsty). And we are ‘haus’ often…and it lasts.

A drinking session typically starts Friday, and long sessions are a matter of bragging rights.

If for some reasons the Friday session had to be shortened, another one can start of Saturday, and followed up for good measure with wine on Sunday.

Because Sunday precedes back-to-work Monday.

The bozers kicked in to say ‘let’s whack it’, and the ‘beasts’ emerged in every partaker.

What followed is they’d drink till they forgot, and by the time they regained some sobriety, it’s the following day.

Suddenly it dawned on them that they have wives to answer to and kids to send to school.

Work is not possible when one could t even straighten his hair or remember his zipper.

In a daze, he survives. It’s Tuesday, the first day of work in the week. There’s still this nagging hand over and trying to get a perspective of what needs done for the week.

It’s Wednesday, and sober enough to recall what has been overlooked the last two days and futile attempts at making up.

Unlike drinking, work is so exhausting. Let’s unwind with a hot cup of teh tarik at the canteen.

It’s Thursday, Alex called to remind of whose turn to pay for the next session spiced up with  a village style bbq (sinalau) and fresh bahar (coconut toddy).

Did you promise your better half to cut back your aramaiti sessions? What lies are you telling this time? That’s OK, you tell yourself.

The whole damn bog picture is a lie anyway.

I may have checked in the office for five days and put in a mighty 10 hours of warming my chair, I’ll still get paid in full, get an increment or even a bonus, and, most of all, keep my wife happy and my kids fed.

Malaysia is wonderful.
Let’s drink to that.

Editor: The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Talantang.

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