Sunday 6 June 2021

Concept of 躺平, Lie Flat | Have you been getting enough rest?

Came across an article by BBC which wrote about this concept that has been going around in China. It is the concept of 躺平 which means to lie flat in English. Interesting concept, as it brings up the tough work conditions and what exactly are the young people working so hard for at the expense of their health.

Why this concept arises in China

So first to understand how this whole concept came about, China has actually been facing a shrinking labour force and jobs are relatively very competitive as well where a recent article also went viral showing a student who graduated from the prestigious Tsinghua University worked as a high paying nanny/home tutor. Although every job should be treated with diginity, netizens were confused why she chose to be a nanny although the pay is a huge factor as they are paid quite substantial.

Even with a shrinking labour force, the number of university graduates in China has increased year on year over the past two decades. This proves the difficulty to find a job where a lab technician mentioned that, "Sending resumes was like fishing for a needle in the ocean" as he had to look for available job openings to apply to. Proving to be a tough journey right from the beginning, many fresh graduates just want a job to cruise through where there are times for them to rest and time to work.

Another huge factor pushing this concept of 躺平 is most definitely the "996 working hour system" where some companies expect their staff to work from 9am to 9pm for 6 days and some even 7 days per week. Yup, there are only 7 days per week. The amount of cases of death from overworking has also been concerning. And what makes it more atrocious is that the companies pay no attention to this 996 system which is causing harm to it's employees.

The idea behind "tang ping" - not overworking, being content with more attainable achievements and allowing time to unwind - has been praised by many and inspired numerous memes. It has been described as a spiritual movement.

What I think about this concept

I think burnout has become more evident in the world as companies strive for efficiency in this competitive environment. Work seems to revolve around data and how many things you can solve and how are you proving your worth. Company culture still matters but engagement has dropped especially since the pandemic and close physical interactions has been minimised. Working from home means you are available 24/7 and I would say my current position is comfortable, I do get my weekends and sufficient rest every night.

I really cannot imagine a high stress environment coupled with 996 system although I know many people work these conditions. Some find it okay as long as they are well-compensated but there are many cases where compensation is seemingly little. This is a good concept, some times in life, you just need to lay flat and let your body rest.

Rest is necessary to go further and in the article, it also mention about how along with the original Tieba post, the Douban group has since been deleted, and searches for the hashtag #TangPing have been banned on Sina Weibo in an apparent effort by censors to prevent people seeing the scale of the new trend. I think all in all, just like how we always look forward to the weekends or whether PM Lee is going to wearing pink, having some form of entertainment based on our real lives is great and especially so when people relate to you. Have you guys been resting well? Do hit the like button and subscribe to my channel for more content.


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