Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

France Legalises the "Siesta" at Work

The French Minister of Health has come to the conclusion that short naps are beneficial to people while at work, as about 10 million people in this mid-sized country suffer from sleep deprivation. A pretty bold move, considering sleeping at work has traditionally been a taboo subject. A comprehensive study was done by a group of researchers and the result was something we all know - a short nap works in favour of the employee, helps them concentrate better and (in case of construction, mining and other potentially dangerous industries) helps the worker practice greater precaution and safety. The plan is to invite companies on a voluntary basis over the next two years to try out the "napping at work" program and measure effectiveness of employees thereby. Six million euros have been designated to the project, which I imagine will be used to set up rest areas at workplaces.

I've always admired the French, not for their wine or cheese, but for their proactive outlook to matters that concern the general population. This makes the government of France arguably one of the most efficiently functioning democracies. Evidence is seen time and again when people take to the streets, make their voice heard, and many a times succeed in changing laws. A similar event comes to mind when the mother of a 16 year old girl in Getafe, Madrid, who was raped and killed by three boys under 18 went around the entire city, managed to collected 500,000 signatures and succeded in changing the "ley de minores" or law of the minors so that these boys would face a sentence stricter than just being put in a detention centre. This incident happened in the neighbourhood I lived in. This "culture" of getting out on the streets and demanding what you deserve is slowly seeping into Spain, I would say a positive influence from their neighbours to the north. Coming back to France, be it the high cost of housing, steep oil prices, lack of dignified, permanant work contracts for young people, no matter what the complaint, the Frenchies are on their toes. They dont let their government breathe easy or relax. The way it should be.

When X swears into office, he should know and be prepared for the kind of responsibility he's taking on (unlike in India that politicians just want to get on for the love of the "kursi," do jack, fill their pockets as deep as they can, and meanwhile let the people go to hell). When one cares about her/himself, demands that their needs and wants be met, then others take that into concern. As they say in Spanish, "el que no llora, no mama," (literally: one who doesn't cry, doesn't get fed).

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