#62 Young Chinese people ‘lying flat’ to escape the ‘rat race’ 中国年轻人躺平逃内卷

Podcast Transcript

大家好,欢迎回来MaoMi Chinese!说起中国人,很多人都会说“中国人特别努力,特别勤奋”,但是现在,很多中国的年轻人开始拒绝“努力”了。这两年有两个词在中国的互联网上很流行,一个是“躺平”,一个是“内卷”。我想,如果你和中国年轻人们说这两个词,他们一定会有深深的共鸣。今天我们一起来聊一聊,“躺平”和“内卷”是什么意思,还有这两年中国的年轻人们为什么选择躺平。

首先,我们要先知道什么是“内卷”。在MaoMi Chinese的第四期,我们说过“996工作制”,意思是现在很多人上午9点上班,晚上9点下班,每周工作至少6天。如果你做不到的话,公司会让其他人来做。有时候我们觉得自己做得很多,做得很好了,总会有其他人做得更多,做得更好。很多公司还鼓励同事互相竞争,做得最少最不好的人,可能没有奖金,甚至扣工资。这样的情况就叫“内卷”,我们可以认为这是“没有意义的竞争”。越来越多的人觉得这样的生活没有意义。有些网友说:“我每天努力地加班就是为了我的老板可以买更贵的房子,更贵的车”。越来越多的年轻人问:“我这样做到底是为了什么?我的生活还是我的生活吗?”所以,也有越来越多的人选择了“躺平”。



Hello everyone, welcome back to MaoMi Chinese! Speaking of Chinese people, many people will say “Chinese people are very hardworking and diligent”, but now, many young Chinese people are beginning to refuse to “work hard”. In the past two years, two words have become very popular on the Internet in China, one is “laying flat” and the other is “rolling inward/involution “. I think if you talk about these two words to Chinese young people, they definitely give you some deep emotional response. Today, let’s talk about what “lying flat” and “rolling inward” mean, and why Chinese young people choose to “lie flat” in the past two years.

First of all, we need to know what “involution” is. In episode 4 of MaoMi Chinese, we talked about the “996 working system”, which means that many people now go to work at 9:00 am and get off work at 9:00 pm, and work at least 6 days a week. If you can’t do it, the company will employ someone else to do it. Sometimes we feel like we’ve done a lot and done well and there will always be others who do more and do better. Many companies also encourage colleagues to compete against each other, and those who do the least and the worst may not get bonuses or even have salary deducted. This is called “involution”, and we can see it as “meaningless competition/rat race”. More and more people feel that life like that is meaningless. Some Internet users said: “I work overtime every day so that my boss can buy a more expensive house and a more expensive car”. More and more young people ask: “What am I doing this for? Do I still own my life?” Therefore, more and more people choose to “lie down”.

“Lying flat” is actually a very interesting word. Young people choose to “lie flat” not because they don’t want to work hard at all, they are just rejecting meaningless efforts and meaningless competition, which is “involution”. They begin reflecting on their past lives, thinking that they had nothing but only their work. Now they want to live for themselves, neither for work nor their boss. Some quit their jobs or switch to lower-paying but easier jobs. People who can’t change jobs, sometimes if they have to work overtime, “catch the fish (slack off at work)”, such as secretly playing games, watching videos, etc. when their boss can’t see them. They start looking for their own hobbies, doing things they enjoy in their spare time instead of working. They also begin to think that buying a house, getting married, and having children is not necessary, because these things cost a lot of money and put a lot of pressure on them. Some people are starting to reject consumerism and buy only what they need.

In fact, many countries also have “involution” and “laying flat”. When many people see no hope, they will reflect on the real meaning of their work and begin to find the true meaning of life. In your country, is there also “involution” and “lay flat”? What do you think? Feel free to leave us a comment!

5 thoughts on “#62 Young Chinese people ‘lying flat’ to escape the ‘rat race’ 中国年轻人躺平逃内卷”

  1. Thank you, Molly! I think you are doing a fantastic job!!!
    I truly appreciate the effort you put in!

  2. Pingback: “Neijuan” becomes China’s Biggest Buzzword, but how to translate it into English? – TransPlanet

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