The culture clash of a four day working week

People are arguing about how Labour’s proposal to implement a 4 day working week will make us the laughing stock of the world. I think that ship has sailed don’t you? What gets me is how Brits don’t realise that a 5 day working week is seen as being a bit of a woofy thing anyway.

In Asia people work anything from 5.5 (Saturday morning) to 6 days (a full Saturday) a week in office jobs and 7 days a week in many other types of jobs. They cannot believe that the working week in the Western world lasts only 5 days. This isn’t where the disdain ends.

Asians also cannot believe that Western people take ALL their holiday entitlement, down to the last hour. In Asia, that is a sign of a desperate lack of commitment to one’s career and job. An Asian worker who hardly takes his/her holiday entitlement to spend time with family or to do those icky jobs around the house and garden is seen as being an exemplar employee.

A week off work a year to tend to the garden will be seen in Asia as being the height of stupidity. Taking time off to tend to a desperately sick relative is seen as the height of indulgence. Get my drift?

Which all brings me to the next question. Given that there are plans to turn Britain into a Singapore sans the hot weather, how long down this Asian vs West road do we go?

In other words, how much of British values will be sacrificed to adopt Asian ones when the whole point of Brexit, I thought, was to reclaim, dig in hard and plant solid Britishness?

Having been brought up in Asia let me forewarn you that emulating Asia involves more than a free trade port and ships sailing in and out. It also involves a wholesale change of British culture, values and a whole way of everyday life. You may visit Chinatown and eat at your local Indian but that is piddling prep for what may come.

I, for one, would prefer to take holidays, see the world, sit in the garden chairs bought from Argos and just clear out the cupboards on my days off.


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