It finally dawned on me that there is a complete industry here in Australia that also has generations of implementation in Tonga called “Fakalahi Vahenga.” Every now and then you see some of the guys pop out early to watch a game at the pub or down at the local TAB (betting establishment) and to further the generalisation the girls come in a ‘little late’ after a shopping spree.
In this regime of workplace reform, Fakalahi Vahenga is an accepted mechanism to compensate for injuries, problems encountered at work to assist the injured worker return to work at some functional capacity. In Australia, this includes the company or insurer trying to get the correct medical assistance the worker requires, such as seeing the See Eye, Hear Ear, Smell Nose doctors.
Fakalahi Vahenga is one of those accepted practises to help injured workers get back to work, or stay in work, depending on your understanding of the injury. This practise is well established in institutions, and proselytised by politicians etc. I think the only non-practising people are mum’s?
For Tonga, sometimes the emotional abuse of the work environment becomes increasingly difficult to compensate for which leads to longer and longer stress leaves. Because we’re very cognisant, enthusiastic about our workplaces, we turn up for work and just break out that ‘stress’ leave into elongated lunch breaks, or early home time or late entry time, a mix of the above or all of the above.
Uike Lotu is one of those national weeks of Fakalahi Vahenga where the majority of us just take it even if we’re not even attending the “Uike Lotu.” The more pious amongst us will take a day leave during the Uike Lotu, or just fakalahi vahenga and turn up for the clock in and take the elongated stress relief, go to an early lunch and extend that to taking an early Uike Lotu leave.