ASEAN common time zone: what does it means for common people like me

A proposal to put all Asean countries on one time zone first surfaced in 1995. 

The aim of creating a common time zone was to facilitate trade and integration among Asean member countries. A common time zone will provide more time for communication, coordination of activities for market share and improve banking operations and business network in Asia.

The Asean region now has four time zones, and under the proposal all members would adjust their clock to eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +8). Of the 10 Asean members, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei are in the GMT +8 zone, while Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are in the GMT +7 zone. Myanmar is 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of GMT. Indonesia covers three time zones from GMT +7 to GMT+9.

The proposal is on hold as most countries still need time to evaluate, with some cited domestic issues … like going to school when it’s still dark, monk praying time, etc.

I thought that the domestic issues sound petty in comparison to economic benefits.

For me, in layman term, it makes sense for me and simply put, it will simplify things for me. 

It’s still fresh in my mind the incident of a conference call we had with our regional bosses. It was scheduled at 9am Singapore and China time. Thailand was only 8am in the morning.  Way too early for us, but nevertheless the participants made the effort to arrive early. And these are CEO, GM and Group Director level. Of course on the other side the bosses were Chairman level. Due to no fault of ours, we were late dialing in because our receptionist did not arrive in time to make that call for us!

Another case was a mixed-up of time zone by our Paris office (they thought Thailand is in the same time zone as Hong Kong), and we missed a call with our client.

From a personal point of view I would love Thailand to move to the GMT+8 time zone. Just the satisfaction of ‘winning’ this debate with D that ‘your country is in the wrong time zone’ is more than enough *evil grin*.

I used to lament about me having to sleep early because Malaysia is one hour ahead of Thailand, and also having to wake up earlier. Discussion about time always have this “your time or my time” question. And my evergreen jetlag joke due to (one hour) time difference still stands after all these years.

In Thailand if you leave work at 5 o’clock you only have about an hour of daylight left to enjoy. I really love that extra hour of daylight back in KL. It really makes your day seem longer and more valuable.

Some people might think that if it ain’t broke, why fix it? But standardizing time zone sounds beneficial, so why not?