Monday, September 30, 2013

Going to school on Sundays--Seriously??

Right at the start of the semester here, we have had quite a few days off. We had the Mid-Autumn Festival, with a four day break, and now it is National Day, with a whopping seven day break. But in China, when you have a break, a thing that makes sense is that you should make up for the days that you had off, right?? RIGHT??

When I first heard that we would be required to make up all Fridays off by holding class on SUDAY instead, I was surprised, to say the least. First of all, there is the logical thing of, why would we make up only Friday's class, and not do anything about Thursday's missed class? And what about all of the other days we miss for longer breaks? All of this Friday class make-uping has actually given us a surplus of Friday class sessions, and now we've attended it two times more than classes on other days of the week, and a week of attending class six days in a row!

And then the little anglo-christian deep inside of me was like--"You can't do that, Sunday is the day of rest!" I felt it so clearly, sort of like a violation of the sanctity of Sunday or something. I have not considered myself a religious person for a long time now, so it must have been something left over from way back in my childhood, when my family would go to church.

When we asked our program why the class schedule is arranged this way, we got a few different answers. It turns out that the holiday schedule is different every year, and that schedule does not get published until after the school year starts; this makes it impossible to know exactly how many class hours you will have when you pay your tuition. So that whole making up class things is so that you can what you paid for as far as class hours go. But there is another questions too, which is why isn't the holiday schedule the same every year, and why does it take so long to get it published?

 But its not just schools that are affected: government organizations are making up the days too. That means that thousands of people are living with uncertainty of their vacation time, and without the benefit of a fixed schedule. This creates problems as far as traveling, and creates a rush to buy tickets for the holiday. For example, if you're going to visit relatives, you have to either take a gamble on the dates to buy tickets before the rush comes on, before the dates are announced; or wait until the dates are announced and fight for train tickets and hotels with the rest of 'em. I have a classmate who decided to try and get plane tickets before the travel rush, but he got his dates wrong and had to miss a week of class because of it.

These are just the facts of life in China: waiting on government bureaucracy, odd regulation... No one bats an eyelash when this type of thing happens. Most people just shrug and say "It's just China," and get on with it. And it is a rather trivial matter...

Anyways, food for thought! Happy National Day everyone! Cheers~