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Back to the Grind

There is already a lot of sound advice on how to prepare yourself for going back to work after a long holiday. I, too, want to help ease your (and my) post-vacation blues in my own way by reminding you of the good things to come this year.

Long Holidays

As where things stand now, eight out of the 12 months of this year have holidays, discounting holidays that the Cabinet may announce later. There are 16 public holidays, discounting several substitute holidays. Why do substitute holidays matter, you ask? They come handy when you want to score a long holiday, baby! So, with strategic planning and requesting a day off work (in advance), you should be able to get an extra long rest.

For example, Apr 6 is Chakri Day and it falls on a Saturday and its substitute day falls on Monday, Apr 8. This means you can take a day off on Fri, Apr 5 so you can have a break from Apr 5-8. That's four days of not being productive. This also works for substitute Mondays for Visakha Bucha Day (May 18), His Majesty the King Rama X's birthday (July 28) and the death anniversary of His Majesty King Rama IX (Oct 13).

It's possible that you can have a five-to-six day break during Songkran. The actual dates fall on Apr 13-15 from Saturday to Monday with a substitute day on Tuesday Apr 16 (and even Apr 17 for some places). So you can take Friday, Apr 12 off and forget for a long while that you're employed.

Once you plan your long holidays, work in advance according to your plan so your absence won't become someone else's burden. Or bring back a few snacks from Japan for your colleagues, just in case.

The Election?

I put the question mark there because critics have already pointed out that the referee will compete in the game too, if you know what they mean. Some say the upcoming election won't be fair as the welfare cards for the poor is nothing but a form of vote-buying (their words, not mine). Well, at least we're going back to somewhat normalcy, I guess. So go out and vote on Feb 24 (keep my fingers crossed).

Medical Marijuana and Same-sex Marriage

Is Thailand leaning towards the left? The National Legislative Assembly passed a bill on Christmas Day, legalising the use of marijuana and kratom for research and medical purposes. This doesn't mean everyone can grow the formerly forbidden plants as you have to be an authorised farmer or an organisation. Thai farmers have a new crop to cultivate and make a living on. Thai holistic doctors can also use them to treat patients but with restrictions. Recreational use is still a no-no.

On Christmas Day the Cabinet approved the civil partnership bill. The current version isn't the exact same as traditional marriage with differences in entitlement to some forms of state welfare and personal income tax deductions but gay couples will be able to adopt a child legitimately. It needs to be passed by the National Legislative Assembly so it's not yet a done deal but a small step in the right direction for those who care for equality and human rights. Hopefully this is a good omen for more progressive moments to come.

P.S. If none of the above works for you, read our cover story and see the other exciting things coming this year (to motivate yourself to earn enough money to enjoy them). Do you have a reason to go back to work now? 

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