Working in China can be an arduous and strenuous experience, with a high demand for extended work hours. The '996' culture, which requires labor from 9 in the morning to 9 at night, for six days a week, leaves scant time for leisure activities. However, a fresh movement is emerging, and it's centered around the concept of wholeheartedly embracing indolence.

The 'Touching Fish' movement started with a viral post on Chinese social media site Weibo, in which users were encouraged to adopt the philosophy of 'touching fish'.

The idea is that, just as fish are easier to catch in muddy water, employees can take advantage of the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to do less at work. The post's creator, a user known as Massage Bear, wrote that this philosophy is "the key to living in the moment and being relaxed".

Since then, many Chinese netizens have embraced the 'Touching Fish' movement, sharing tips and tricks on how to do less at work. Some have even posted pictures of themselves sleeping at their desks or playing video games during working hours.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of being submerged in a sea of work, struggling to keep your head above water? Endless emails, back-to-back meetings, and looming deadlines can make it seem as if there's no way out of the unrelenting '996' culture. But don't despair! Enter 'Touching Fish' - a tiny act of rebellion against the crushing expectations thrust upon us by our employers. It's a simple yet powerful way to assert that we are not mere machines. We are human beings who need to prioritize self-care.


Some individuals may have reservations about taking breaks during work hours, deeming it as unproductive and appearing lazy. However, I respectfully disagree. Whenever I take a moment to step away and recharge, be it a leisurely stroll or a short meditation, I always return to my tasks feeling rejuvenated and more alert. It's not a matter of dodging work, but rather preserving a balance. Working non-stop can lead to burnout and a lack of focus. Hence, taking a brief pause can actually enhance our productivity and state of mind. Research has even shown that taking small breaks can boost our creativity and problem-solving abilities. Therefore, it's essential not to hesitate to take a breather every so often, as it could be the push required to excel. In my experience, taking breaks is a crucial routine that helps me maintain my energy and focus throughout the day. I'm more productive, focused, and creative when I give myself a few minutes to unwind. Plus, it's an excellent opportunity to stretch my legs and appreciate the beauty of the world around me.


Living in a world where we're expected to be available round the clock, 'Touching Fish' serves as a poignant reminder that we're mere mortals with our own set of needs and constraints. It's an unsustainable way of life, constantly pushing ourselves beyond our limits. If the weight of exhaustion and anxiety is weighing you down, it might be time to draw inspiration from the 'Touching Fish' movement. Perhaps it's time to contemplate a change of environment or invest in self-care rituals throughout the day. After all, your mental health and overall wellness are priceless.

Traveling to a new country can be a great way to gain perspective and to explore new opportunities. For those interested in working abroad, Find Work Abroad is a great resource for finding work in China, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Southeast Asia.

Whether you're looking to embrace the 'Touching Fish' philosophy or to find a new job abroad, it's important to prioritize your own well-being and to find a balance that works for you. After all, life is too short to spend all your time working.

Touching  Fish,  Chinese  Work  Culture,  996  Culture,  Self-care,  Productivity.,  Thailand, 

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