First new weekend

The traditional kuda calendar has illustrations of
race horses printed on the dates for race days
Just as I said in, Once again, our school year is upon us (NST Dec 31, 2013) the roads outside the schools in Johor were lined with cars throughout the day on 31 Dec when parents went in for student registrations.  At mid-week on Jan 1, the usual chaos reigned for parents and students, teachers and administration staff as well as school bus drivers on the first day back at school.  Just two days into the new school term, they had a welcome breather when the first new weekend arrived on Friday and Saturday.

Like most people in Johor, I’m waiting and watching and trying to get into the groove of the new weekend.  While there is a lot going on about adopting new routines and adapting to the changes, I’m ready to adjust and enjoy whatever is possible while life goes on around us.  Because Friday is maintained as a holy day, I’m mindful that a great deal of activities is now cramped into Saturday, particularly on Saturday nights, and wonder if I can cope with attending all of them.

In a shopping mall last Friday, my friend and I were considering the dining options for lunch and we were obviously drawn to the colourful buntings that advertised their set lunch promotions.  Some of the dining deals looked very attractive and we checked out several options before deciding on the restaurant that we both agreed on.  The helpful waitress was ready to seat us when I casually asked about their lunch promo and she told us that it does not apply on Friday because the promo is for weekdays only!

Fans of Sushi King can still enjoy weekday promos
Miffed by this disappointment, we went around the mall doing a quick survey of some of the food outlets with weekday or weekend promos and came to the interesting conclusion that their staff are not quite informed about the current deals.  That’s probably because their employers or franchise owners with Federal headquarters are also ill prepared for the weekend change and its implications to such promos.  If you are a fan of McDonald’s breakfasts, just be aware that their weekday breakfast sets are no longer available in Johor on Fridays but fans of Sushi King will be delighted that their weekday promotions still apply from Mondays to Fridays.

There will also be countless hiccups and much confusion among the general public who have dealings with Government departments and it will take some time before things settle down into an acceptable norm.  Staff in Government offices, particularly in hospitals and clinics, must pay closer attention to the calendar when they fix the date for the next doctor’s appointments for patients.  If the medical staff inadvertently wrote an appointment date that falls on a Friday, the poor patients may obediently return for their appointment, only to be disappointed to find the clinic closed on Fridays!

Check that your car park coupons are still valid!
One of the questions I was asked last Friday is if Friday was a free parking day and my quick reply is, “No!” because Sundays will remain the free parking day in Johor Baru.  This raised the question of who will be checking the parking coupons if it was a weekend in Johor but I learnt that the parking coupon checkers are contract staff who will remain in operation on Fridays.  So don’t forget to display your parking coupons on Fridays and Saturdays to avoid unnecessary fines and please check if your coupons are valid for 2014!

For pensioners like my parents, the new year probably means putting up a new calendar and in our house, they must have the traditional kuda calendar where dates are indicated in a monthly grid.  One glance at the illustrations in the boxes will show us a great deal of info including the public holidays and the Saturday and Sunday horse race days that earned this calendar its name.  While it may seem that the new weekend may not affect pensioners, I know it’s going to take a bit of time for us to adjust to the new weekend activities like a change in the day we go to church.

Enjoying our buffet lunch on the first Saturday of 2014
It looked like the first new weekend of the year was working itself out nicely as I enjoyed a leisurely buffet lunch with the family and had a restful afternoon before going to evening service on Saturday.  As I turned the covers on my bed to settle in for the night, I felt as though it was a Sunday night because it will be a school and work day tomorrow.  The next morning, I got up automatically thinking I should be heading to church after breakfast but stopped when I suddenly realised that there’s no morning service and I had the whole day ahead to rest and relax.

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Streets Johor on 13 January 2014

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