Monday, July 23, 2007

What Makes Malaysians Most Happy?

I've tried to examine what makes Malaysians laugh the most elsewhere on this site. Unexpected accidents, mishaps or tragedies not involving death, unexpected reaction, verbal replies and repartees, and sex related jokes or anecdotes seemed to win top prize. BUT, LAUGHTER CAN BE A MOMENTARY THING, A FLEETING MOMENT OF JUBILANCE OR JOY interspersing a long and extended period of gruelling, mundane and repititious working life with snatches of lighter moments here and there. A few bursts of laughter a day do not necessarily constitute HAPPINESS.

Sooo....what IS happiness? When is a Malaysian most happy? I don't mean just laughing away with friends over silly jokes and ticklish or hilarious situations, but feeling real happy, bubbling with joy or contentment and full of exuverance, falicitations and a zest for life!

Whoaaaa.. There could be too many candidates for that prize. A pay rise, a promotion, getting the first "yes" from your girl or
boyfriend for a visit to cloud 9, walking through the golden threshhold of matrimony, striking a lottery, getting the car, the house or the job that you've dreamt about.... All or any combination of those would make a guy bubble up with joy and happiness!

But ask a schoolboy or a schoolgirland what type of answer would you get? A HOLIDAY....... No school, no homework, no
getting up at 6 o'clock or earlier in the morning! What more if there's going to be shopping spree, a trip to some exotic
holiday resort with fishing, boating, skiing etc., or even a stay in some luxurious hotel where you can swim, frolic or just laze around by the poolside.

And you know what? Even adults, married or single, with children ( ie. mommies and daddies) or without, tend to agree that HOLIDAYING is one hell of a source of happiness in life. It gives you a break from the bane of working, the stress of keeping up with the work schedule, meeting deadlines, fulfilling expectations and competing with friends and foes, and worst of all,
keeping up with your own hopes and aspirations and dealing with the frustrations involved. I say "one hell of a source of happiness" because holidaying has its own price in terms of efforts and expanses. It involves a lot of NECESSARY and COLATERAL DAMAGE to the purse or bank account. And, unless it's always overflowing with bounties, it can take its toll on your peace of mind when the holiday is over!!!

So, HOLIDAYING and VACATIONING seems to take the first place in making us Malaysians ( and I'm sure others too if they are normal people like us) happy. I've some young people who said that getting married and settling down with the one he or she loved very much, is or would be the main source of happiness. But some married couples, especially older ones, seemed to be rather ambivalent or even nihilistic on that matter. Some said that once the honeymoon is over, the beez begin to buzz or boss around. I'd better stop there, before somebody clobber me on the head...

The holidaying and vacationing matter is not over yet. Expenses is one thing, What about the time required? How many of us had kept postponing the holiday or vacation we had planned for so long?

That takes us to the issue of HOW MANY DAYS DO WE WORK IN A YEAR AND HOW MANY DAYS OF REST ARE WE ALLOWED? Unless you're the master of your own working empire, the big boss of your own companies and conglomerate who can take off for a vacation in Los Vegas, the Pacific Islands or anywhere you want anytime you want to, the holidays are dictated by the office schedule.

For the normal office worker in the Government and the private sector, working days are five days a week ( it used to be 5-6 days) from 8am to 5pm or 8 hours a day excluding lunch and coffee breaks. Looking at the 2007 calender, we have 262 working days for the year, 104 rest days on weekends ( Saturday and Sunday) and 15 days of public holidays for WP and KL with 6 days falling on Saturday and Sunday.

According to my rough mental calculation that gives us a total of (262x8) 2096 working hours per year for 2007, leaving us with 102 days of rest ( subtracted from 364) or 896 hours calculated in terms of normal working hours ( 8 hrs /day). Hey..
that works to about less than one hour of rest for two hours of work or less than a days rest for two days of work. That's the time you have for working out a holiday schedule. But of course. In addition to the normal weekends and public holidays, all white collar workers are also eligible for at least 20 -30 days of leave. That's another 160 - 180 office hours equivalent. So we do have about a day's rest for two days of work. Am I right or I need a holiday to cl;ear my mind and straighten out my maths.

That's beside the point. What I have examined is one of the common sources of happiness - the holidays and vacation - and
our chances of taking it from the normal schedule of office work for the year. It doesn't look that bad at all provided that you can afford to go on a holiday every year or more than once every year. Those in business and measure their income in terms of the time devoted to work, will of course have to work out the opportunity cost involved before taking a vacation. But, look at the faces of your beloved ones. Do they need a holiday and a vacation to make them happy. If so, why not make them happy for you'll be happy too. What's money for anyway? We make money in order to spend it, right? Spending money never fails to make one happy.......

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