¡¡¡¡Since the article ¡°Laying Flat is Righteous¡± appeared on the Internet on April 17, ¡°lay-flatism¡± became a trending topic on the Chinese Internet. The official media heavily criticizes the concept and continues to promote striving as the chicken soup for happiness. Many netizens, however, expressed that they would much rather ¡°laying flat with dignity than kneeling without.¡± Hong Kong¡¯s media has largely been adopting an observer perspective and focusing on economic activities. In fact, for the youngsters in Hong Kong, either it is economically, or politically, they really should be laying flat in today¡¯s age. Yet how is this different from the mockery toward the rise of China and the return of Hong Kong to the right track that also cannot be tolerated by the authorities?
¡¡¡¡¡°The good-hearted traveler¡±, also known as the founder of lay-flatism, explained in his article ¡°Laying Flat is Righteous¡± that since there has never really been a trend of thought that exalts human subjectivity on this land, then I can self-create. Laying flat is my sage campaign. Only by laying flat, humans can be the yardstick of all things.¡± The post resonated with many, and netizens shared all kinds of stories and tips of laying flat. On Baidu¡¯s ¡°lay flat¡± forum, there are more than 500,000 posts. The strong criticisms from the official mouthpieces and scholars have prompted lay-flatism to be expanded from the realm of economy to politics, especially noises that the authorities do not wish to hear: ¡°the world is sinister, first lay down for respect¡±, ¡°laying flat is the non-cooperative movement of the young people.¡± On Sunday, Douban¡¯s ¡°lay flat¡± group was closed due to the numerous declarations from the lay-flatters. Whether the lay-flatters are allowed to speak freely on WeChat, Weibo, and Zhihu is without question.
¡¡¡¡In fact, though the term ¡°laying flat¡± is novel, the story isn¡¯t. Otaku in Japan, ¡°Sampo Generation¡± in Korea (Give-up three: love, marriage, giving birth), and ¡°little bliss¡± in Taiwan are all similar concepts and categories. The difference is that these have not received criticism from the government. While the democratic regimes may not admit that society is stagnant, or monopoly from the rich and powerful have caused young people to lose motivation, they would not go as low as treating the people like they¡¯re ¡°leeks¡±, or be as despicable as slamming ¡°laying flat is shameful, where comes righteousness.¡±
¡¡¡¡The lay-flatters can only survive in a tolerant society to avoid being kidnapped by morals and politics. Some netizens said, ¡°Only sickles are against laying flat, for leeks that are laying flat cannot be slashed.¡± Yet, the regime¡¯s leek-slashing ability is always beyond one¡¯s imagination. Other netizens, illustrating with both images and texts, explained how domestic harvesting machinery harvests rice at only centimeters from the ground: ¡°Domestically-made harvesters are superb. No use laying flat, because you¡¯ll still get cut.¡± China just rolled out the new three-child policy, to which netizens mocked, ¡°Not enough leeks, so they¡¯re forcing you to grow more.¡± What is haunting for the new generation of lay-flatters is the 1970s Soviet legislation against social marginals and parasitism. Some federations even clearly stipulate that workers of a certain age who have worked fewer than four months are deemed parasites.
¡¡¡¡The sad thing is, the Hong Kong youngsters, who are known for their under-the-Lion Rock striving spirit, are now on the same boat as the mainland youths who are laying flat, or even facing more dire situations. Economically, the problem of stagnation of class in Hong Kong is similar to that of Japan and South Korea. The ¡°deep-seated contradictions¡± of high property prices have pushed some young people to yearn for a ¡°whatever¡±-lifestyle and have given up the dream to acquire properties. Politically, since the promulgation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and the implementation of the Hong Kong Election Law by the National People¡¯s Congress, not only has the hopes of dual universal suffrage gone down the drain, but the freedoms that they used to enjoy are disappearing. The issue of laying flat is not only social mobility, resource allocation, properties and careers, labor rights and other socio-economic issues, but also the political issues of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Under this powerlessness, other than immigration, what is more suitable than laying flat?
¡¡¡¡However, things always counter the man¡¯s desire. In Hong Kong, how easy is it really to lay flat? Not only is Hong Kong¡¯s social welfare incomparable to that of the Nordic countries, where laying flat would still grant one survival and dignity, there are also moral judgments and political prosecutions, which alone could destroy the lay-flatters. Carrie Lam whined about Hong Kong¡¯s ¡°lay-flatters¡± to the state mouthpieces, ¡°You ask them to get the jab, they wouldn¡¯t; you ask them to get tested, they wouldn¡¯t.¡± Leung Chun-ying even threatened that ¡°the vaccination of the people is just like any other anti-epidemic measures, neither is up for the people to choose.¡±
¡¡¡¡As such, in Hong Kong, the ¡°whateverers¡± and lay-flatters could perhaps still survive economically, yet those political lay-flatters are close to running out of room to maneuver. When a primary election could constitute a felony of endangering national security, when the call for voting blanks or not voting could become a criminal offense, do you still wish to lay flat and not cast your vote for the patriots? Who knows when these will suddenly turn into a non-fulfillment of civic obligations which constitutes an interference with the performance of the regime¡¯s functions and endangers national security? What an even more deplorable ending than the former Soviet Union parasites.
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