Saturday, 27 December 2008

Caught Napping

Today the China Daily website carries a story about some workers who were caught napping at a meeting and apparently subsequently sacked. I am sure it will raise quite a bit of interest here in China. I have written before about the strange sleeping or napping habits of many Chinese.

I've wondered how they can just fall asleep so easily. I have known many people in Australia to doze off during boring meetings or conferences, even in lectures. Here in China students fall asleep in class (OK, so they find it boring - but it is common and a complaint from many teachers!), and I see folk asleep in the strangest of places. People standing up in a bus, holding on to the handle dangling from the top of the bus, and sound asleep! We often remark bow easily people fall asleep - on the bus or train is common.

In small shops the owner, or worker is often asleep during the day. I've posted photographs of men asleep in the tray of their tricycles.

As a past nurse I find it a little curious? Not enough protein in their diet? Not enough sleep during normal "sleep hours"? I have no idea, but certainly I have never seen so much sleeping during day time hours. It is not uncommon to go to somewhere like a Dio Coffee Lounge and see Chinese men curled up on the lounge fast asleep during the middle of the day.

So to discover the story on China Daily and such severe punishment for sleeping during a meeting or conference is rather amazing. Incredibly severe penalty for doing something that people are always doing - and I suspect many will continue to do.

I would like to know why there is so much need to sleep during daylight hours. Is is that the working hours are so long? Many people work 6 - 7 days a week. I have been told that they are not supposed to - that employment laws say the that workers should only work 40 hours a week, but that the boss often insists (despite the law) that they do so.

I have been talking with students who are concerned right now about getting work, since the financial crisis has caused some shrinkage of the job market, and young women are being pressed into signing three year contracts. It has been explained to me that this is supposed to protect the worker - but when you learn that they must pay to break their contracts I think it is tough. Many young people taking their first jobs do not know what they want to do - so a long contract can be very difficult for them. I do not know the employment rules, but it seems very high expectation of young people.

2 comments: said...

Hi, Di!
I just wanted to drop a line; I've been reading your blog recently, and it's really giving me some insights! My husband and I are leaving for China in 2 months to teach, and the organization we're going through told us we'll probably be somewhere in Zhejiang province. No city name yet, though :)

Your posts are interesting, and they give me a peek into what we may be able to expect!

I hope you had a great holiday - we live in the US, in Michigan. We've been hit with snow storm after snow storm, so the weather would be a nice change!

Di Hill said...

Great to hear from you. Zhejiang is a great province and I hope you enjoy it. It is pretty easy to get around to the big cities from most places in the province. Keep in touch. Am happy to help if you need any information.

Thanks for your comment.