Jan 6, 2012

holiday: boon or bane?

It is rather not surprising that one third of our days of year are being spent on leave. Yet, out of this holiday, I believe strongly that I will probably be on call on 2/3 of it and actually on leave on the other 1/3 out of those holiday.

Thus, my actual holiday is 1/9 (1/3 X 1/3) of the whole year. Bad deal, right?

Dr Ng brought up the issue of how destructive holidays can be.

Although, I totally agreed with the disastrous standpoint of having an emergency public holiday, I do not stand with him on the fatality of fixed, scheduled holiday.

The main reason for me to be skeptical is that what he had proposed, what everyone projected, what theoretical logic suggested, may not be the evidence-based conclusion that one should simply adopt without seeing a validated figures.

The actual fact that western countries with 4 seasons have more holidays but better healthcare outcome endpoints than Malaysia appear to antagonize the 'hazardous over-holiday' theory. Of course, there are abundance of other confounding factors to be taken into consideration.

Holiday being synonym to the absence of formal clinic and elective operation list may lead to unintended procrastination in treating the patients.

Nevertheless, the positive implications of holiday to public health should not be discounted. Of course, by continuing to read further, please be reminded that those implications are also theoretical reasoning, without supportive evidence-based figure.

Holiday can reduce psychological or psychiatric morbidity as everyone take a break from work, except for doctors who have to 'hold the fort' while others go for holiday.

Holiday opens up more time for family bonding moments, healthy sporting adventures and mind-relaxing retreats. Festive holiday also pushed everyone to start to tidy and clean our residence more aggresively, leading to more hygienic and organized, less accident-prone home.

On the downside, too much time out of work may lead to overindulgence in bad habits like heavy drinking, heavy eating, heavy gambling, heavy driving and heavy everything. The drinking part leads to more liver diseases, the eating part leads to hypercholesterolemia, obesity and diabetes, the gambling part lead to poverty, the driving part lead to motor vehicle accidents. Contrary to belief, festive seasons can be very stressful for some. Some people depressed looking at the big hole in their wallet after spending for festive preparation. Some people stressed up looking at the potential being questioned about their persistent failure to find a life partner, recent disastrous family disharmony or recent sudden descent in their career climb.

Well, I wouldn't conclude whether holiday is good or bad, but possibly the government of Malaysia could take a year and cut down half of the holiday (probably the State holidays) and study its actual health implications based on several key representative endpoints.

Either that or declare more holidays!!!

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