death by paper cut

{October 30, 2006}   once upon a time…

before coming to australia, daylight savings time (dst) was no concern of mine since living in the tropics of sunny singapore avoided such complexities.

it is a curious thing to be down under because the seasons are topsy turvy from the point of view of north america where most of my storybooks in childhood came from; from those books, i learnt that it snows in winter and people dream of white christmases.

and later on in science class, i learnt that the seasons are caused by the rotation of the earth at an axis as it revolves around the sun, and that while much-talked-about-countries in the north such as america was experiencing winter, places at the other end such as australia would be experience just the opposite.

apparently, australia takes it in her stride too.

having to keep in contact with various people in different time zones, keeping track of the effects of dst is even more tedious since i have to bear in mind the default time difference of the country my friends are in in relation to where i am now and then add or substract the dst effects. this got me interested in the origins of dst and how it got implemented.

for a while i still didn’t get the concept of dst even when i was here. i initially thought that the usefulness took effect when the sun started to set earlier and earlier in winter (may-ish to july-ish). i thought that dst took effect during the cold months; kicking in in april by gaining me an extra hour of sleep, resulting in ‘more day time’. so instead of getting dark at 4ish in the day in winter, it would get dark by 5ish. then i realized that my frame of reference was all wrong.

a rather niffy macromedia flash player on this page clearly shows how adjusting the time takes place at different latitudes. this official australian government website lists the dates at which dst starts and ends.

dst in australia takes place in the warmer months from october and ends towards the coolers months in late march by adding an hour (the clock will turn to 3am the minute after 1.59am). this is the implication: the sun will rise at 5am instead of 4am in high summer, saving more ‘daylight’ therefore day light saving. at the same time, i have to remember that my friends in canada and scotland have just ended their dst and have therefore lost an hour.

the only ramification that the activation and deactivation that dst has for me is the time difference i have in relation to singapore. the lesser the time difference, the better (all the better to sync with). therefore, for selfish personal reasons i rather dst not occur. then again, the world doesn’t revolve around me, does it?

in the meantime, this was how my friends cw and sm grapple with the start of dst in melbourne.


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