Funny that ST should be featuring a front-page article on various career people being unable to take leave because of work commitments. The article is clear that their companies are not forcing them to forfeit their leave, these busy executives just don't feel comfortable or secure enough to take their entitled time off.
It isn't just a local phenomenon, it occurs in other countries like Japan, UK and Oz as well, with staff who would rather trade their leave entitlement for cash or some other benefit, or in some cases are prepared to have it forfeited altogether.
I'm personally ambivalent about the whole thing. I'm just fresh out from my Christmas vacation and I've had a great time in HK, and it's wonderful to have time to just chill, no responsibilities and all. But there have also been empty times during which I thought wistfully about the hustle and excitement of campus life, and the good company I keep in the staffroom.
People who define themselves by the work they do are going to find those days of white leave space so much more dull and lonely than anything I've ever experienced. No wonder leave taking can be so daunting for them.
Also, I wonder if it could be due to a misplaced sense of self-importance. Many of the respondents cited reasons of being so needed at work that they can't take leave. Right. Given our last round of corporate retrenchments not so very long ago, we should have learned by now: no one is irreplaceable.