Are you one of the Sleepless in Singapore?

May 19, 2012

Dealing with Shift work

My friend Gintai seems to be suffering from the shift blues – well, I don’t claim to be a guru in beating the shift blues. But I do have plenty of experience with 8 and 12 hour shift work – I put myself through University by holding two shift jobs, one as a cook in a 24 hour restaurant in Leicester Square and the other as a morgue attendant in Charing Cross hospital (no customer complaints unlike my other shift job) – when I started working. I was pushed right up into management – don’t ask me how it happened, I was just lucky, you know the sort of man and old, rich and powerful like to have around them – because they know they can share stuff with you and you wouldn’t even know how to connect the dots and do them in – but that sort of life; wasn’t really what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve always been fixated with the whole idea of REAL businesses and REAL wealth – and you’ve got to understand in my generations the whole idea of value really became so elastic and malleable that you could even have a firm marketing boutique dog biscuits and they would be worth even more than Boeing Aeroplane Group or General Electric – so I knew something had gone crazy in the world, the whole idea of VALUE had been exaggerated, embellished and mythologized to a point where it had been evacuated of all VALUE. And this compelled to go back to BASICS, and to get basic in an industry – one has to start from the bottom -and that means, the factory – and they all run on shift. You see I really wanted to know HOW things were made and how much technology was required and most importantly how best to manage these type of workers.

Because shift workers aren’t ordinary workers – only management seems to think they are – and that is the root of the problem. So if you are a policeman, nurse, doctor on call, production line leader, Comfort telereceptionist, security guard, pilot, seven eleven operator or someone who just feels crummy because you don’t seem to be able to get regular restful sleep most of the time. This is for you. Will this work? Yes it will because it is based on the organically balanced way of the Farmer.

The first thing the farmer doesn’t do is go against the grain of mothernature – and that is unfortunately what most people who cannot seem to sleep well seem to do, all the time, they frequently sabotage their own chances of getting a restful night’s sleep without even realizing it MOST of the time. And that’s because they don’t prioritize sleep – in the way you would give time, effort and undivided concentration if you want to be a concert pianist – most insomniacs have one thing in common – they are all blasse when it comes to the subject of sleep. They regard sleepiness is Singapore as Karma – a nightly purgatory of wanting yet being denied again and again. So this leads to a way of life. But if you genuinely want to have a restful sleep and awake refreshed, then you have to put SLEEP at the top of your list. That means from the moment you wake up and even before your feet touches the floor – you are already preparing yourself to have another restful sleep in 16 hours time. When you do this, then you will be very conscious of the decisions you make daily – a coffee at three in the afternoon with a group of friends, may remind you that you’re lucky enough to have good buddies at work. But it may also screw up, your plans to sleep. You will be aware of little things, they will come to your head, you will know it when you see it – and at every experience you will find yourself asking: will this help or destroy my sleep?”

It is only when we make a consciously make this effort to continuously interrogate ourselves whether this or that can take us or deliver us to dreamland can we begin the process of healing ourselves from the ravages the world has inflicted on us, only to be reborn young and revitalized as a new creation every morning.

Take sleep seriously and you will sleep seriously.

Darkness 2012

“If a man does not know how to “chiak chua,” he will end up in hospital or the IMH. To chiak chua does not mean you are lazy; if that is the case then 99% of students in Singapore are lazy as they like to spot questions and that is really a form of chia chua – sure, we all like to denigrate people such as myself who have perhaps elevated the lifestyle of chia chuaism into the uppereaches of philosophy – but I prefer to call chia chua, resource management – now you all taking me seriously! Because that is precisely what it is – no one is atomic powered, no can keep the intensity of an hour and stretch it to 8 hours and still have enough left of themselves of juggle family and a 101 other things – life unfortunately demands more than you have of yourself – the life force. And this is the cornerstone of the way of the farmer – to be always mindful that every morning depending on how nourishing your sleep was, you will only have X number of highly effective minutes and Y mediocre and the rest is just good for holding a mug of beer or something more substantial. We are all prisoners of our own limitations – if you don’t know this, as you are probably a twelve year old who stumbled on this blog. You will when you have reached my vintage. So to me the name of the game is not even to get ahead – because these days if you really want to be driven all you will end up doing is dying young. It is not abt survival either, as that is not really about living as it has more to do with existing- even grass can do that. The goal is to have a sustainable life, where instead of growing weaker and more forgetful year after year; instead of allowing your jobs to grind you into a heap of dust – what you do is beat the system instead – and only way you can beat the system is to remember this: the system wants to grind you down – they want you work faster, fastener and fasterest, even want you to be supersonic when you wipe your backside after the shit came out from your poop chute at Mach 2.5.  Take it from me, the world has become a crazy place now. I remember reading somewhere how calculators, computers and modern inventions will free us from the mundaneness of life leaving us more time to do the things we want – but a reverse has occurred, we are now even mimicking machines, in the way an entire nation walks around as if everyone is suffering from mass hearing impairment – everyone is so connected these days, they can’t even live their life – we have lost our way it seems, instead of control, we have chaos. So if we are to thrive in a chaotic world, we must always be mindful of HOW much of ourselves we are willing to INVEST in others, ideas and things. Knowing how much or little to invest is a way of being mindful that everyday only comes with a full battery charge – waste a big part of it on hating someone how did you wrong 10 tens ago, then how much more do you really have to go around for the rest of the day? It is only when you see yourself as a battery powered being, that you can say yes to the things that will facilitate a good night’s sleep and the No, to the things that will always take you away from it – and soon you will learn to say no comfortably – no to another drink, as it time to head home for some shut eye; (if you are a bachelor) no to even a fuck, but be very polite and try to schedule it in anywhere except Hotel 81 (as that place is cursed like the Bermuda Triangle). 

Enjoy a nourishing experience of being healed by nature as you sleep restfully tonight, switch off the lights, light a candle and breathe and nature will do the rest.”

This popular series has been brought to you by the Brotherhood Press 2012

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