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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Samoa jumps forward by a day !!

Can you skip a day ?  Can you sleep on Thursday and get up only on Saturday morning ?  Possible ! – but can the whole Nation do that – skip 30th Dec 2011 to go directly to 31st Dec 2011 from the night of 29th Dec 2011 !!!!!!

It is a Parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislative assembly consisting of 49 members, elected by citizens aged 21 years and over of whom 47 are matai (chiefly titleholders) and 2 (untitled) represents the part and non native  population. The Prime Minister selects 12 other parliamentarians to form a Cabinet. General elections are held every five years. -  it is the Samoa - is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in Polynesia, Savai'i. The capital city, Apia, and Faleolo International Airport are situated on the island of Upolu.  Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976.

Till Dec 2011, Samoa was the last country to see the Sun go down each day and the Nation decided to skip a day, shift its time zone forward by 24 hours.   The dateline, which runs through the middle of the Pacific, currently runs to the west of the island nation, meaning that it is 11 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.  After a speech from prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in the last hour of Thursday -29th Dec 2011, the Country plunged  straight into Saturday. The switch reverses a decision made 120 years ago to move to the east of the international dateline because most of Samoa's trade at the time was with the United States and Europe.

The Pacific island nation of Samoa and its even tinier neighbor Tokelau thus skipped  Friday jumping westward in time across the international date line and into the shifting economic balance of the 21st century. The time change, officially decided in June, is meant to align Samoa with its Asian trading partners; it moves the islands’ work days further from the United States, which dominated its economy in the past.  The prime minister of Samoa, Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, acknowledged the new distance from the American orbit but said the move would make it much easier to do business with Australia and New Zealand, whose economies are linked increasingly with the rest of Asia, particularly China.

Shifting time by decree is not a new phenomenon in the Pacific. At the recent turn of the century, in a bid to be the first to greet the dawn in what was called the new millennium, Pacific island nations engaged in a free-for all of shifting time zones, date lines and daylight saving times.  The date line, created at an international convention in 1884, is an imaginary line drawn roughly north to south along the 180-degree meridian, zig-zagging here and there to accommodate the needs and demands of the nations along its route.   A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. In order for the same clock time to always correspond to the same portion of the day as the Earth rotates.   Time zones have been used in modern times so similarly situated cities can keep exactly the same time, for simplicity and ease of communication.

There are 25 integer World Time Zones from -12 through 0 (GMT) to +12. Each one is 15° of Longitude as measured East and West from the Prime Meridian of the World at Greenwich, England.  Some countries have adopted non-standard time zones, usually 30 minutes, India is one as it is +5.50 GMT.

Guests staying in Samoa's hotels this week will not be expected to pay for a day that does not exist, but employers must still pay staff for the Friday that never was.  After the change, Samoa  is one hour ahead of Wellington and three ahead of Sydney.  The PM Mr Tuilaepa had earlier switched driving from the right side of the road to the left in 2009 to bring the country in line with Australia and New Zealand.  There are reports that the PM is targeting to change the Samoan flag too, as the old one is a relic of the colonial era. 

American Samoa, less than 100 miles to the east of Samoa, is not making the switch.

Interesting are the ways of the World………….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing nice post.Samoa skipped Friday and moved ahead to Saturday today when it decided to cross over to the other side of the international dateline, coming into line with Australia and New Zealand. While it's Friday here it's Saturday in New Zealand and when we're at church Sunday, they're already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.

    hotels samoa