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In China, The Weekend That Never Was

No workers were harmed in the creation of this image

How would you feel about a long weekend that included Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday?  Would it change matters much if you were told that you had to work the preceding Saturday and Sunday to make up for this munificence?  This cruel and unusual realignment of the work week is precisely what workers in China are faced with this coming weekend.  

Wednesday, April 4th this year is the Qing Ming Festival, a Chinese holiday also known as Tomb Sweeping Day when Chinese traditionally visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects.  In order to make a “long weekend” that includes the day of the festival, authorities have decided to essentially shift the weekend back by two days.  

Are Chinese netizens grateful for this “long weekend?”  On Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog platform, gratitude seems to be in short supply.  @宝尼小跟班要登船 complains: “Isn’t this all just to get one more day of rest on Qing Ming? Do we need to pay the price of a seven day work week! I am really tired…a super, no-holds-barred kind of tired! I wish I didn’t have to take this accursed holiday!” @Angela_HIME agrees: “I wish we didn’t have this holiday. My body can’t take working seven days straight.”

Seizing on the tomb sweeping theme, @小米粥的意想世界 quips, “This is not a Qing Ming mini-vacation. [Instead] this is clearly: Work for seven days, die from exhaustion, then have a Qing Ming [tomb sweeping] for yourself!”

@当时我就震惊了 is definitely not enjoying this Friday as much as usual, tweeting “When I think about how this friday is an illusion…that cuts me real deep….”

Rubbing salt in the wound, Soufun.com, a popular housing website, reminds netizens from its official Weibo account: “A warm reminder: When setting your alarms don’t forget to set working day alarms! Although tomorrow and the day after tomorrow are Saturday and Sunday, you still have to go to work~ Please relay this to the friends that you care about ~ Be careful not to oversleep! ”

For readers outside China, doesn’t this make the upcoming plain, boring two day weekend seem so much sweeter in comparison?  The power of schadenfreude should not be underestimated.

For readers inside China, please don’t hate us.  And please remember to set your alarm clocks for a work day wakeup.

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  • Xumushi

    This post may not be perfectly clear to those living outside China. What actually goes on during most holidays in China is this: employers insist that staff “make up” for the holiday by working on normally free weekends before/after the holiday, and they are not paid overtime to do so. So for many working class people, so-called “holidays” are a huge burden. Of course, this practice is illegal but widespread.

  • Xumushi

    This post may not be perfectly clear to those living outside China. What actually goes on during most holidays in China is this: employers insist that staff “make up” for the holiday by working on normally free weekends before/after the holiday, and they are not paid overtime to do so. So for many working class people, so-called “holidays” are a huge burden. Of course, this practice is illegal but widespread.

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