Alvin In The Room: Journal

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.'

 

在工作期間因為要找相片,所以看到一月在清萊這張照片。

這個人不知從那裡拿來了椅子,然後放在這裡一直坐著。不曉得坐了多久,但相信不會坐了一會兒便離開吧!至少,我被這畫面所吸引,至少拍了兩三張。

在想他可能是旁邊民宿的住客,也可能來泰國工作的外國人,剛好有空所以放空。

但是有空的時候,有多少香港人會像他這樣,嘗試給自己什麼都不做的時間?

昨天出席了TEDxKowloon的年度大會,其中一位講者張詠妍說到:香港學生沒有留白的空間。

香港是一個十分繁華的大都會,幾乎什麼都不缺,要有的物質都可以在這裡找到,唯獨也伴隨著包袱。這包袱叫「效率」和「努力」:要爭取每一秒,會最多的事,沒有時間給自己思考,不能慢下來,否則就是怠惰、懶惰,別忘記香港有今時今日的成果,是上一輩人用努力換回來的。相對的,我們缺的是能夠休息甚至放空的空間。

這個歷史論述一直留在大部分香港人的心中,我們講的「效率」,只是動作的快慢而已;思考,是一種猶豫的表現,會讓一切事情都慢下來。因為香港人「努力」所以成為了現在,直覺告訴我們,偷懶會導致相反結果,會變得貧窮。

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。

我們還是圍繞著那個努力不斷的「獅子山精神」論述,即使口口聲聲不予以承認,在香港「沒事幹」會感到不實在,還是覺得總是要做一些事情。今天的香港其實只是一個偶然,回顧歷史若不是當時中國大陸的政治環境、若不是東亞當時只有很少數不錯的經濟體系(如四小龍),那麼「努力」並不可能作為唯一的解釋。即使當時香港人勤力,但不代表其他國家的人沒努力。而努力,只是其中一種處事的方式和態度,但不是唯一,尤其在創意、服務產業愈趨流行的今天,留力、放空、無為、多玩樂,在工作方面反而帶來更好的效果。

那種從無間斷、急速、勤力停不下來的生活,最後只容納我們一直看到和計劃的一小部分,而且更會偏執於自己所經常面對的部分才對,沒有去審視自己究竟是否做了太多不必要的事情。就如眼前的是一幅牆,我們只是一雙手爬完又爬,卻看不到原來牆很細小,根本可以繞過去。日常生活中的偶遇、其他的可能性甚至是希望,都因為太忙而錯過掉。

是時候停下來,讓我們沒想像過、而又美好的事情發生。 

 

2016年3月28日更新 

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。

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