I AM tempted to take sides with the Asian community on the controversial issue of rest. Why? A trend is building up in Tanzania in which the pursuit of profit is beginning to deny so many of us the right to rest.
It is common knowledge that Asian shops close down at lunch hour. A brief experience in the world of business has proved to me you can get so wrapped up in the pursuit of money at the expense of your peace of mind, at the expense of your body rest.
The Asians are right on this one! I am taking sides with this community on the issue of an afternoon siesta each day. I think a business person should give himself or herself sufficient time each day to relax.
Now I may not have medical explanations to back this advocacy, but I do know the lack of body rest disturbs your ability to think straight, which can in turn ruin your enterprise.
Asian shop owners in the Dar es Salaam Central Business District are known to go home at mid-day each working day to eat, sleep and maybe to do other things. And complaints are rampant against this practice from all kinds of people.
I remember one commentator described the mid-day shop closures in the Dar es Salaam CBD as a sign of arrogance and an exaggerated pursuit of self interest. The Asian shops usually close down between 12.00 and 3.00 pm. The commentator argued that Asian shopkeepers should device a way to keep their shops open at this time because it is prime time for people coming into town from the city peripheries to do shopping in the city centre
The complaints raise a philosophical question: what is it that should take first precedent, between the business person’s well being, the business entity’s well being, and the shoppers right to shop at mid-day? I’d say the business person’s well being is foremost, followed by the business entity’s well being, which naturally places the well being of the shopper at the bottom of the list.
They are both important entities of course, but I wouldn’t want to risk my good health to please the midday shopper. No way.
One complainant was so disgruntled, his remarks bordered on slander. Asian shop keepers in the CBD keep very large families in very little space, he said. There is not enough space for spouses to deal with all marital issues at night. They use the midday naps do resolve some of the unresolved issues while kids are in school, and we, the shoppers, have to wait for three hours while they… and I can’t say it here.
It’s none of anybody’s business what happens during the midday naps. What is important as far as I am concerned is that the business person should have sufficient resting time to continue thinking straight in his life.
This brings me to something else. Do we as a nation keep enough places for recreation? -- particularly in the cities-- places where business persons and other members of society can take their time off to relax and keep the brain sane?
Do we have sufficient options for leisure, for picnicking, for relaxation, besides bars and pubs? And guest houses. I doubt there is. Dar es Salaam has a population in the vicinity of four million people. How many golf clubs do we have here? You are probably beginning to laugh, and it’s a laughing matter indeed. One golf club for four million people? A laughing matter indeed.
How many sand beaches do we have for the four million people? One! And how accessible is this sand beach to the general public. I have searched for a baseball field in the city of Dar es Salaam for quite some time, I haven’t found one.
Do we have a good rest culture in Dar es salaam? On a scale of one to ten, with 1 being no and 10 being yes, I’d say we belong at 3. And the score is all brought by the bars and guest houses.