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[Opinion] Holidays

Posted August. 25, 2002 22:23,   


‘Holiday’ is a compound word made up of ‘holy’ and ‘day’. Christians has long considered holidays as holy days when they go to church and take a rest. In the Middle Ages, people called a certain period of the year set for pilgrimage holidays. For them, the visit to holy sites is a ceremony both religious and festive. They travel throughout the world including beautiful cities, where leisure businesses such as spas were later developed.

I hope the ‘holiday’ will be a day of relaxation and fun for Korean families as well. Most of advanced countries have already adopted five-day workweek, and our government is now preparing legislation of such a system. It emphasizes that by reducing working days it will not only improve the quality of life for people but also enhance productivity in work places. Businesses, however, counter that the system will end up weakening competitiveness and causing a great damage to the nation’s economy as a result.

▷According to an Internet survey conducted by a civic organization, most people turned out to favor the plan to reduce the number of working days, though they were divided over the timetable. 79% of the responded approved the introduction for five-day workweek. But only 59% said that the system “must be in place before the year’s end.” 15% said “one to two years later,” 11% “three to four years” and 15% “later than five years.” Most of the respondents also cited delay in services, sagging corporate competitiveness, lowered income and a chasm between classes as major problems they believe likely to ensue the introduction of the system.

▷As a majority favors the five workweek system workers will be able to have full weekend holidays sooner or later. We must remember, however, that it has been only years since we were mired in a devastating economic crisis. That we must put ourselves on guard against indulgence in consumption and pleasure seeking, degradation of competitiveness and a chasm between low and upper classes.

The new system is aimed to elevate quality of our lives. It is important to settle the dispute between the labor and the management on the issue. But it is no less important to find a way to create a healthy leisure environment for weekend relaxation.

Kim Woo-sang, Guest Editorial Writer, Politics Professor at Yonsei University