Doing nothing is not a shame!

Chiang Rai, 2016

Chiang Rai, 2016

When I searched for photos for work, I met the above which was taken in Chiang Rai. The guy just sat on the street and did nothing. He might be a hostel guest, or the one who got a job in this country had a day-off that day. I thought when I am free, do I stop doing everything like him? How many Hongkongers give themselves a real break?

Yesterday I attended a TED Talk held in Hong Kong (called TEDxKowloon), in which one of the speakers said nowaday Hong Kong students do not have their own free time. They need to finish their assignments, work hard on their examinations in order to get good jobs to meet social expectations. As you can see, busyness is not only an issue for students, but also for the whole population.

I think we have stuck in a kind of 'work ethic' – we need to work hard or we will be poor. You can see there is an important historic 'evidence' that our successful today is deeply associated with the working attitude of your mum and dad. In the city, we have everything we need including the burden of this ethic — we will have guilty when we are lazy. What we just lack, is the free time to take rest and relax.

Hardworking is always a myth but people never realize it is only a tool to achieve something. Besides in office, they work hard even when travel, for example. Plan everything and go as many places as they can (this is work hard, not play hard). When I was in Taichung, the east of Taiwan, I decided to stay for a whole week. I met a Hongkonger who suggested me to go to Green Island nearby since I had so much time. Do I need to do something nonstop?

The sad thing is that Hongkongers put too much emphasis on this hardworking value, especially the development nowadays, while ignoring the historical factors and even coincidence which could contribute to the dramatic change. They also ignore the value of not doing everything and even Wu Wei, which could bring more and more positive possibilities in terms of self, society and even the economy. We always choose to be painful in every moment which never brings us to a happy ending!

It's time to slow down and even stop the busy work. See whether we are doing something right and necessary. Let contingency (positive accidents that can be better than what we are busy in) come into our life.


Updated on 28 March 2016

I am reading The Kinfolk Home in which it has discussed the power of doing nothing as follows — 

'Productivity is not the only measure of time well spent. Some of the most important scientific innovations and inventions were "happened upon," unplanned, after years of unproductive, leisurely puzzling.'









這種謎思一直在膨脹,成為了病態,從工作延伸到生活中各個方面。記得在台東的時候,有香港人建議我爭取時間遊綠島,可是一星期以來,不去綠島不會覺得很悶。即使放假,身邊的朋友一天到晚都是full schedule,相約吃個飯可能要半至一個月不等。現在的小孩,從小要學這學哪,為了銜接最好的學校以銜接最好的工作以銜接安枕無憂的退休生活。






在讀The Kinfolk Home,書中也討論了什麼都不做的好處,尤其很多 發明和創新都不是計劃過的,而是偶然的情況下,也不是努力得來,更可是什麼都不做下而發生了。所以,並不是只有「生產」、「工作」才是最善用時間的方式。

LifeAlvin Cheng