By Xinhua writer Wang Aihua
BEIJING, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- For a country of 1.3 billion people, every sort of resource can be proven scarce at times, particularly when most of the population has the same plan, holidaying for example.
The just-concluded eight-day national holiday, which encompassed National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival, offered yet another example of how a supposedly relaxing time could pose comprehensive challenges to the Chinese -- traffic jams, explosive numbers of tourists, and price hikes.
The country witnessed a travel peak on Sept. 30, the first day of the holiday, with many expressways jammed partially due to a new policy that made most of them toll free during the holiday period for passenger cars with fewer than seven seats.
Travelers also swarmed to see famous tourist sites like the Imperial Palace in Beijing and the ancient UNESCO heritage town of Pingyao in Shanxi Province, both of which received visitors five times their capacity during the holiday.
At one point, 2,000 tourists became stranded on top of Huashan Mountain in northwest China, which is famous for its steep cliffs, due to a cable car breakdown, triggering wide complaints.
These troubles, once unknown to the Chinese, will continue to haunt future holidays in the country, whose rapid economic growth has enabled its people to live by more affluent means.
Therefore, it is now time for both the government and people to think about what to do in the future to avoid similar frustrations.
While the government must manage public resources more efficiently, there are things every member of society can do to minimize displeasure.
Some blamed transport authorities for exempting toll fees at an inappropriate time and causing the jams, but perhaps drivers themselves should have anticipated a surge in the number of cars on roads and adjusted their plans accordingly.
Those who could use paid leave should have, and some in fact did so, taken an extra couple of days off to avoid the travel peak on the first and last days of the holiday.
Furthermore, to avoid crowding, Chinese people need to somewhat change their understanding of "holiday."
Many people in China use public holidays as an opportunity to travel, which, to them, means seeing famous tourist sites and taking pictures.
In the future, as more people have seen more scenic spots, their holidays may be increasingly spent merely relaxing, perhaps playing sports or indulging in other leisure activities.
Among the waves of complaints, doubts were also voiced as to whether it was wise to have long public holidays at all.
Undoubtedly, some days are worth a work-free nationwide celebration, including National Day.
In fact, the Chinese government gained wide applause four years ago when it made more traditional festivals into public holidays, including the Mid-Autumn and Dragon Boat festivals.
But at the same time, the government should grant longer paid leaves and make them more convenient for employees.
Most Chinese workers have only five to 10 days of annual paid leave per year. In small private companies, even if workers have paid leave in name, it is often difficult in practise for them to get approval from bosses to actually stay away from work.
Both tighter supervision from the government and a change of attitude from employers are needed to guarantee paid leave for workers.
After all, the government's original intention of having public holidays was to help people relax. While there is a chance, the policy should be made to work at its most effective.