Friday, December 30, 2011

Samoa and Tokelau end year early

On Thursday, December 29, 2011, the Islands of Samoa and Tokelau will swap the International Dateline and move into Saturday, December 31, 2011.

The nation of Samoa will flash past Friday and herald Saturday with bells and celebration. 

This westward jump in time will also shift the economic balance of the 21st century. This shift is meant to align Samoa with its Asia-Pacific trading partners. This will move the islands' work days further from the United States, which had a commanding influence in Samoa's economy in the past.

This giant-step version of daylight saving time will mean some people will miss a day of work on Friday. The government of Samoa has decreed that those who miss a day of work on Friday will be paid all the same. Those who had dental or a doctor's appointment on Friday will, apparently, be accommodated on Saturday. However, if your birthday or anniversary was on Friday, you either celebrate it in a flash or forfeit it for the good of the nation.

Tokelau dancers
Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean that consists of three tropical coral atolls. It has a population of about 1,500.

The Samoan Islands is an archipelago in central South Pacific covering 1,170 square miles. It forms part of Polynesia and the wider region of Oceania. It has a population of approximately 250,000.

Samoa has been out of alignment with its neighbors since 1892, when American traders persuaded it to shift from the western side to the eastern side of the dateline. This was to facilitate business with the West Coast of the United States. That shift, 119 years ago, took place on the American Independence Day, so the Samoans could celebrate July 4 twice.

Samoan traditional attire
However, in recent years, New Zealand and Australia have become increasingly valuable trade partners with Samoa as they provide access to new trading relations in Asia particularly China and Singapore. “In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we’re losing out on two working days a week,” Mr. Tuila’epa said. “While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand, and when we’re at church on Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.” “Today,” the statement said bluntly, “we do a lot more business with New Zealand and Australia, China and Pacific Rim countries such as Singapore.”

Thursday, 11:59 p.m., it will be December 29. At the stroke of midnight Samoa and Tokelau will hop the dateline and at 12:01 a.m. it will be Saturday, December 31. The new time zone will put Samoa 3 hours ahead of eastern Australia rather than 21 hours behind it, and 22 hours ahead of California, instead of 2 hours behind it.

What a way to end the year! On a high and forward note!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! to all my readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment