I am not sure if it happens in Indonesia or particularly in my department here in Jakarta, but as far as I remember, it is very rare for us (particularly locals) to take year-end vacation. Of course, this does not apply for expats in our department, who always take (minimum) two weeks off just like they used to do in Europe. I personally had never taken year-end break until I had my assignment in Lausanne. My trip to London was my first year-end break which was really fun and somehow, strange.
I think this pattern most likely linked to working culture of Asian people. We tend to work really hard and not used to spare enough personal time to spend with family or friends. Sometimes we also push ourselves to finish some tasks in a very short time when we have immediate request instead of saying “Sorry, but no, since it is already out of my office hour.” Well, it is not that I complain about it, just merely sharing what I have in mind 🙂
Anyway, either because I have improved my work-life balance *cough*, or just because my sister asked me to join her and her family to have quick vacation, I eventually took four days off in last week of December. We went to Kuala Lumpur to enjoy its main attractions. It was my first time visiting Malaysia thus I was pretty excited to go around and see lot of things.
I must say that Malaysia is, in some aspects, more advance than Indonesia. For example, transportation infrastructure in KL which is similar with Singapore and European countries. They have monorail, commuter and LRT (Light Rail Transit) which are well connected and have stops at main public places in KL. It was very easy for me, my sister and her family to go around with those transportation means.
Cultural wise, I think we’re pretty much alike, considering we have the same root (Malay). The main difference is the strong culture inclusion of Indian and Chinese considering significant population of Indian and Chinese people in Malaysia. It reminds me to Singapore, whose culture was basically built from those two main nations living there. It was interesting to see how they blend to each other in daily life, compromising their values as one nation. Sound familiar for Indonesian, don’t you think? 🙂
Overall, it was a good yet short year-end break. I really should take more this kind of vacation once for a while. It is always good to take a break and recharge your energy before starting again from the beginning 🙂
A picture of us in front of Petronas while it was raining….