Summer time in Mauritius: Pointless?


At least this is my opinion. You may no agree with me, but after reading this article, maybe I’ll be able to convince you. First, let me tell you that I’m against this measure, even if I’m for the saving of energy and protection of the environment. But summer time? I’m totally rejecting that idea.

What’s the summer time concept basically? In Mauritius, we’ll be moving our clocks forward by one hour, embracing longer days and more sunlight. This practice is not unlike the proactive measures taken by fire watch services in Hollywood, especially as the summer heat intensifies. With the extended daylight, these dedicated professionals have more time to conduct thorough patrols and ensure that properties are safeguarded against the increased fire dangers brought on by the dry, hot weather. Just as we adjust our clocks to make better use of natural light, thus reducing electricity usage, fire watch services adjust their strategies to protect our homes and businesses. They understand that the bright days of summer, while perfect for leisure, are also a period where vigilance must be heightened to prevent loss from potential fires. So while in Mauritius you wake up an hour earlier, and return from work with an extra hour of sunshine, in Hollywood, fire watch teams are already on the move, using every available hour to ensure safety.

(DST will apply from 26th October to 29th March at midnight for both).

But according to me, it’s not that simple. Let’s see the case against, since the Government and others are already hammering us all with the case for.

1) How many countries use DST (Daylight Saving Time = Summer Time) in the southern hemisphere?

I say, not loads. And I will back it with a map, which I got from here.

DST World Map

From what you see in the map, loads of Northern hemisphere (NH) countries use DST (yellow), while only very few Southern hemisphere (SH) countries use it (green). Grey areas don’t use DST. There’s a good reason for it. Countries like the UK get sunlight till around 20-21h when it’s totally dark here. So if the people in NH get 1 hour to use daylight, it does make savings. Here, it’s totally dark by 18h30.

2) Can’t see a thing in the morning!

This leads to my second point. We return home 1 hour early. This means that people are able to do more things in daylight, and not switch on the lights. I agree. That’s one hour saved. Now let’s consider next morning. Instead of waking up at 6 a.m, you will wake up at 5 a.m. There is hardly any light so early in the morning. It’s still too dark. What do you do then? Switch on the lights of course! Hell, even the street lights are still on at 5 am!

Finally, the result is: you saved one hour the previous day in the evening, and you use the saved one hour the next day, in the morning. Where’s the savings? I see no saving!

3) People wake up waaaayyy too early

I wake up at 6 a.m. I need to leave my house at 7 a.m to get to uni at 8 a.m since courses start at 8.30 am. Remember the huge traffic jams in Mauritius? Now with DST: I need to get up at 5 a.m (the clock shows it’s 6 a.m), leave the house at 6 a.m, and get to uni at 7 a.m (the clock shows 8 a.m) and courses start at… 7.30 am (clock shows 8.30 a.m)! I HATE WAKING UP EARLY! >.<

Now, that’s for me. But remember that there are people that get up even earlier? I’ve got a friend. He needs to leave home at 6 a.m even with no DST. Now the poor guy needs to leave at 5 a.m and get up at 4 a.m! (Those are real day times. The clocks would show: get-up: 5 a.m and leave at 6 a.m).

That’s still ok. Let’s consider the people who work in fields and agriculture. They work at 4 a.m (real time) usually. Now with DST they need to go to work at 3 a.m (real time, clock shows: 4 a.m)?

What about the bus driver? The first bus starts at 4 a.m (real time). Now it will go at 3 a.m (real time)? The guy needs to wake up at what, 1.30 a.m??

You think this is normal?

The Government says: But hey, you will go to sleep one hour earlier too! So it amounts to the same duration of sleep. I say no! Your body tends to keep a rhythm. You’ve been waking up and sleeping at a defined time since your childhood. It’s not easy to change that rhythm! I bet most of you will just wake up one hour earlier, and sleep at the same time you used to. This means, one hour of sleep lost. This also means that we’ll be walking zombies due to tiredness. If you are tired just like them and you will like to find better rest, see this link about the freber method which can really help.

EDIT: Today, DST was applied. Now, it’s 19h45. It’s still relatively bright outside. Like dusk has just ended. Street lights starting to get on. The one hour that people gained will probably be used to do more activities. That’s one hour of activities more. Thus, I guess people’s normal routines will shift by one hour. Dinner prepared one hour later. You watch TV one hour later. And sleep one hour later than usual.

How many times do you hear this: “Enkor faire clair la, nu kaw faire xyz”? Then this “xyz” activity will last till it’s still bright. Till 19h15-19h30. Then you stop, and start your normal activities (which would start at 18h30 without DST). You are already one hour late. See what I mean?

If my reasoning holds, people will be losing one hour of sleep when they go to sleep. It’d be too bright just to go to bed early. People’s body clock are regulated by light.

4) The last time, DST didn’t hold

The last time the government decided to implement DST, it didn’t last very long. My dad tells me there were widespread protests and that people were very tired. I’ll trust him on that one since I was not born yet! If an idea didn’t work in the past, why do they want to re-implement it? I can’t understand that!

5) No research/survey conducted

Joël de Rosnay, the PM’s “Special Adviser” mentioned it on the radios the other day. There was no real scientific research and surveys conducted about implementation of DST in Mauritius. There was no research to gauge the health and social impacts on Mauritians. I doubt any research was even conducted to see if DST would allow energy savings. So, am I to assume the Government just decided to implement DST just because they liked it? Joël de Rosnay is a scientist, he knows what he’s talking about.

Today itself, I heard a Sociologist talking on the Radio Plus. I didn’t catch his name. He mentioned something interesting. When people come home early, they will have dinner earlier, and everything earlier. But this does not mean they’ll go to bed earlier! He mentioned that people will tend to go out more, since they have more time. This in turn will cause an increase in oil/gas consumption by vehicles, mentioning that there are no savings. He’s right about not sleeping early. People are not automatons after all!

This statement just strengthened my view that no scientific research was conducted to decide if DST is required in Mauritius or not.

6) Because other people say DST is pointless

I’m adding this point because I just found a site, Afrol, that usually discusses African news. I’ll quote some parts for you:

The government of Mauritius has decided that the island nation will introduce Summer (Daylight saving) Time, starting in October this year. Mauritius will be the first sub-Saharan African nation to do so, connecting the island more closely to tourist and business markets in Europe. The Mauritian cabinet, in the context of promoting Mauritius as “Une Île Durable”, has agreed to the introduction into the national parliament of the Time Bill, which provides for the introduction of summer time in Mauritius.

According to government, the summer time initiative is expected to “produce gains to the country, reduce global carbon emissions, generate substantial savings in terms of energy production and consumption, and at the same time, reduce the electricity peak demand in the evening by some 15 MW.”

The use of Daylight saving time (DST) is mostly confined to countries located at high latitudes, including all Europe except Iceland and most of North America. In the southern hemisphere, DST is only used in southern South America (notably Chile and Argentina), New Zealand and some parts of Australia.

In Africa, the use of DST is seldom and in most cases counterproductive, as the continent’s location close to the equator produces only very small differences in daylight in winter and summer.

However, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt follow European summer time, while DST earlier was tried out in countries such as South Africa, Madagascar, Botswana, Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Ghana. These experiments however did not last long and no sub-Saharan country now uses DST.

The use of summer time has been controversial in many countries. For business and leisure, the longer time-span of daylight during summer is seen as an advantage, as it may turn out for Mauritius’ large tourism industry. But DST causes problems for the farming sector and other occupations tied to the sun. Claims that DST reduces electricity consume [sic], often an important goal for governments introducing the system, mostly have proven unrealistic.

Source: Afrol

Go see the source for yourself! Oh by the way, the 15MW saved? It’s approximately equal to the power of 15-20 wind turbines! Can you call that savings? And large tourism industry? In a global recession? Let’s see how long the “large” holds.

After all this, what’s the point of implementing DST? The Call Centres / BPOs don’t like it, the people of religion, the students – I bet – will simply hate it, as will the population after they feel the effect of tiredness. So why does the Government persist? Is there a hidden agenda somewhere? Do they want to seem more developed by adopting something Europeans or Americans do? I guess they really want to lose the upcoming elections!

The CEB did mention one thing: They want the electricity consumption peak to shift. I don’t see how DST affects the peak usage. It’ll just shift to 1 hour later.

Till now, nobody could convince me about the benefits of DST for Mauritius. So for now, I’m still against it.

( I really don’t want to go to courses at 7 a.m, with possibly one hour of sleep less each day! )

Anyways, some people are really taking this positively. Let’s wait and see. Either I am wrong and everybody will be fine, or I’ll be seeing a hoard of walking sleepers at UoM very soon. I’ll keep you posted in any case. 😀

Let’s here your comments about DST. If you have written any articles about it, post it in the comments! 🙂

P.s: Orange has some instructions to automatically adjust the time of your computers. See their site: Windows XP and Windows Vista. According to some reports, Linux should automatically adjust if you enable the correct settings. See your distribution’s manual for that.

  • I’m for it! 😀

    Coz on 3 days (incl. Saturday) my lectures finish at 17:30 & I return home (alone in the dark) at around 19:00-19:30… meaning all dogs in all streets get to chase me…. 🙁

    But with DST, I’ll be home earlier (still in daylight) & dogs won’t be running after me! So i’m for it! 😛

  • InF

    Now with DST, the dogs will chase you when it’s still dark in the morning, since you will leave home 1 hour earlier. A good jogging in the morning? Fancy it? 😛

  • @InF
    They won’t coz I leave home at 06:45(05:45), which is still daylight! 😛

  • v

    it actually doesn’t make any difference in your sleep patterns at all, basicly after one week, you’re ok! You don’t even see it after a while, so i don’t really know what the big fuss is about..

  • Guru

    The whole Mauritius will be observing the same time change. You will not be affected. And you who go to sleep at I don’t what time you have not observed that in summer at 5 am it is as bright as 6 am in winter.

    I am for it albeit I was apprehensive at first.

    Think of it as the whole Mauritius moving by one hour.

  • InF

    I know, and I just edited the article to make some more observations.

    Briefly… Today, it’s 19h30 instead of 18h30. When I see out of my window, the sun has barely set. It’s still semi-bright. Let’s assume that till 20h, it’s semi-bright.

    This means that till 20h, I’ll be able to do daylight activities like gardening, clean my car, do some shopping somewhere. It’s still bright! It’s only then that people will start getting active with dinner and other stuff. This means that people’s dinners will tend to move to later. Then you watch some TV. You were watching TV from 19h30 (dinner) to 22h (sleep?). Now you will watch from 21h (dinner) to 23h(sleep?).

    Notice that you are losing one hour of sleep? Now in the morning, you wake up at one hour early. If I am right, it means people will be losing around 1-1h30 of sleep per day. This will cause some serious tiredness!

    Just think it over 🙂

  • I am against this piece of bull ass idea!! The point that carrotmadman argue about returning home while its still daylight is ok…as even i rtrn home late smtime so it will be nice to rtrn in daylight.

    However this is the ONLY advantage i see! Else I see this stupid DST stuff a total real bullsh*t which is advantageous only to the damn government and is meant to use more calories from the YES-SIR mauritians!!

    If i used to sleep at 22hr..No matter the time i will start feeling sleepy at the real 22hr! That will be 23hr now! So if its still daylight at 20hr(stupid dst time)…its by 20hr that i will get dinner…AS THE DAMN GOV say that its meant for people to use daylight more??!!

    I don’t think my mom will use daylight in the kitchen!! It will mostly be about using daylight in the small garden. And worst….when people rtrn home early…they tend to switch on the tv and let the walls watch it! So 1 hour of wall tv more! So I go to sleep at DST 23hr….then wake up at DST 5hr…..and what the fu*k???? i see its still dark!! If the gov is really very excited like a virgin girl for her first time like this about this amateur project of DST…they could have atleast implement it in December! Not now!

  • InF

    Fully agreed Kurt! And well voiced out.

    That’s what I was trying to say. You will find sleep at the “real” 22h which is 23h now. Making you lose one hour until you get used (which could never happen).

    Also, they implemented it just before SC and HSC exams. We know Cambridge does exams in all countries with same syllabus simultaneously to avoid leakage. Now, what do we do with DST? Do we -1 or +1 to get Cambridge time?

    And what about our Test Week? Do they think students can work at optimal levels at 7h30 (real time)? We’d be sleeping in tests!

  • Summer time sucks and it won’t work in Mauritius.Hail to those idiots who came with that idea

  • And do I need to say that today I was 2.5 hours late..Stupid summer time..I can’t wake up early.waking up early makes my heart beats faster{effect of adrenaline}

  • Now I read the comments..I see no changes in my place concerning daylight.My kitchen is usually quite dark due to so many stuffs in it..Lights on..TV are always on.My 2 PCs are always on.and so on.Where do I consume electricity?LoL..
    Tube lights?They stay on 24/24..{Even during day}

    And do I need to say that today I was 2.5 hours late..Stupid summer time..I can’t wake up early.waking up early makes my heart beats faster{effect of adrenaline}

    Summer time sucks and it won’t work in Mauritius.Hail to those idiots who came with that idea.

    Note from Inf: Sorry Tushal. I edited your three comments and merged them into one. I didn’t edit anything except from that.

  • “Finally, the result is: you saved one hour the previous day in the evening, and you use the saved one hour the next day, in the morning. Where’s the savings? I see no saving!”

    People use way way less energy in the morning. In the afternoon we have our television, radio, computers, lights, fans, A/C. We don’t switch these when we wake up at 5 am.

    “I guess people’s normal routines will shift by one hour. Dinner prepared one hour later. You watch TV one hour later. And sleep one hour later than usual.”

    This is true and it’s exactly what we should NOT do. People should go to bed and wake up at the same time they did in winter.

    That’s just my 2 cents. I think that the DST is a good thing.

    For of the working people. They can enjoy some sunlight after work. They can go jogging after work.

    There are a lot of students taking tuitions and finishing at 6.30 pm. With DST, the sun is still up at 6.30 pm. Its safer for them.

    Like everything, DST has some advantages and some disadvantages. In time we will see them both.

  • Guru

    Instead of complaining, live with it. Do things accordingly. If you want to live the way it was non-dst, your choice, you suffer, you pay more.

    It is all in your head. If you want to accept changes you accept. Or else, shut the fuck up. Understand what it is meant to be and how it is advantageous.

  • @Guru: Sure..its advantageous for some Yes-Boss Scrappies who see only what they are told to SEE! Keep it up Mauritian! If you think you are an agent of changes…then instead of bluffing about a retard project like summertime in this piece of land..better work out on projects to reduce the traffic jam bullass in the country or still if you feel a superman of Changes… sure do work out a totally new electoral system plan to override our culture-omen-sh*t system!

  • Darklide

    Nice article InF.

    Well as you mentioned in your article im the guy who wakes up at 5am(normal time) when i have classes at 8.30am. So right now i have to wake up at 4am(Winter time) and this is a pain at times…

    On Monday i had a class test at 8.30am and guess what? I turned up 20mins late coz of the huge traffic jam from pl to pailles…and coz some stupie bus shifting that took place @ victoria…pffff f**ing way to start with DST

    I will not say that DST has ONLY disadvantages…
    For eg: for ppl like me it means that i have one more hour to do things during the day, whether its revising/learning or any other activities lol

    There are lots of disadvantages too…
    As some mentionned above ppl do lack 1h of sleep resulting in tiredness during the day(and then lecturers wonder why i sleep in their class lol)

    Im a mathematician(well becoming one would be better to be said lol) and i am nearly sure that the “savings” made due to DST wont be that big…
    Well we’ll see in a few months if we did save a lot or not

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  • sheel

    I’m following an MSC Course at the University of Mauritius and I am doing a group project to analyse the socio economic impacts of summer time in Mauritius. I’ve interviewed a few of my colleagues at work and most of them say that they are not so much in favor of summer time as it is especially hard in the mmorning for children to get up early to take the school bus. There are some benefits, like you return home from part time lectures while it’s still early. They say that we have more time in the afternoon for leisure activities, shopping etc but shops close at the same time and bus stop circulating at the same time too. I myself I feel that I lack sleep, I feel more tired. I am waiting for the shift back to normal time on Sunday. Take courage, summer time is nearly over.

  • shain

    from what i`ve observed in some comments particularly the one getting hyper about dst is that; no matter if its still daylight, he puts on the light in his kitchen and the wall is watching tv 1 hour more. But mate this is because you are not really focused on saving energy. if u were, be it summer or winter u would have made sure that the tv is not switch on when nobody is watching it. so these are all bogus arguments that you are putting forward. the stereotype that mauritians loath change is true.

    i am not a pro of summertime or the government but but only criticising the govt is not a step forward. i am a student and currently doing a survey on the after effects of summer time for my marketing research unit so the comments are helpful from a researcher point of view as it should be objective.

    but from my personal point of view is that some people feel safe esp girls to go back home in daylight. summer time has its fair share of sequels as well as advantages but we should have tried it sencerely not just spite a political party because he implemented the dst. many countries have dst and those people do not complain as we do.

    we shud change our outlook of things first and then assess others. we all ramble on about lack of sleep but it has been scientifically proved that anaverage adult need only about 6hrs of sleep so cultivate the habit of sleeping less for your health!!!