Thursday, May 31, 2007

a state funeral & a day off

This week saw the passing away of a prominent female political leader, Dame Louis Brown-Evans, who would have celebrated her 80th birthday today. To honour her & her life's work, Bermuda has decreeded a state funeral for Tuesday the fifth, and along with it a public holiday. A funeral route has yet to be planned. Many businesses are upset with the short notice of Tuesday being declared a public holiday, as they scramble to rearrange their schedules. Businesses in the tourist industry, are further upset that Tuesday will have them shelling out time & a half pay or double pay for their employees, if they are to remain open for the tourists (which is more than likely).

Reminds me of the passing away of any one of the Sheiks in Dubai or neighbouring emirates in the UAE, which would yeild a mourning period of anywhere from three to seven days, depending on the prominence of the Sheik. Businesses had to be shut down yes, but so did all the fun. Now the UAE is the most liberal Muslim country there is, but when they say a period of mourning, they mean it! The local channels would cease their regular programming & all that would be broadcasted were prayers & the Quran teachings. For those that couldn't afford the then very expensive satellite programming, video stores along with family get-togethers were the only option of entertainment for the next few days. Families would meet up, planning out the next seven days & taking turns hosting, but keeping it toned down on the outside for the most part. Once indoors, it was a different story. I'd imagine a lot has changed in terms of the mourning period. Still seems like a lot of restrictions I know, but all taken with a grain of salt.

So, what's it going to be like in Bermuda on Tuesday? I'm sure many will turn out to pay their respects to the deceased. Some may spend the day with their families, while others may hit the beach, weather permitting. It's a day off & no matter what you do it will definitely
be overshadowed by the fact that this day off has been brought about by someone's passing away. And that's always a sad thing.

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