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A laziness competition in South Korea is getting attention for the right reasons

Sit. Do nothing. Win.

News 01 Jul 2016, 11:33 IST
Space out
The participants during the “competition”

Ever felt that life would be a lot better if we only had the time to laze around without worrying about deadlines and work and all such similar shenanigans? Well, look no further. It seems that South Korea has you covered.

A lesser known “sport” in South Korea invites people to sit down and do absolutely nothing. The “Space Out Competition”, which is an annual affair that takes place in Ichon Hangang Park in Seoul, attracts nearly a hundred people each year. So far, the competition has received an average of 2000 applications every year for 70 slots.

The competition began in 2014 due to the realisation of one visual artist who created the event. In an interview to VICE, the artist Woops Yang, explains her inspiration and says,”I was suffering from burnout syndrome at the time, but would feel extremely anxious if I was sitting around doing nothing, not being productive in one way or another.” Eventually, she realised she wasn't alone. "I thought to myself, We would all feel better about doing nothing if we did nothing together as a group."

Also read: Stress and cricket: Five players who suffered from the beast that lived inside 

The rules of the competition are quite clear-cut. As the name suggests, all a contestant has to do is space out. One has to only stare into space for 90 minutes. An organiser narrates the event live to onlookers. Contestants are prohibited from using any kind of technological gadget during this period of time. And if you feel it is permissible to fall asleep while staring into nothing, you would be disqualified.

The method of judging a winner is based on a person's pulse. The participant with the most stable heart rate wins.

Stress among the urban middle class is definitely a rising concern

This convention is part of a larger program that has its reach not just in South Korea but throughout the world. The debate on the importance of rest and increasing research on the same has led to the conclusion that stress among the urban middle class is definitely a rising concern. Woops Yang has increased the reach of her competition to Beijing where it was organised for the first time this year and attracted 80 odd participants.

What's more is that participants of the Space Out competition are encouraged to wear their work clothes as a statement that burnout can occur at any time and to anyone.

In the words of the immortal Welsh poet, W.H. Davies, “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” It looks like that now making time to stand and stare has a legit reason and one can indulge in it without any guilt. Time for all us lazybones to pay a visit to South Korea.

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