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Wearing lack of sleep like a badge? 以此为傲

中国日报网 2019-10-22 14:28

Reader question:

Please explain the following sentence, particularly “like a badge”: “We live in a culture that wears lack of sleep like a badge.”

My comments:

Like a badge?

The question is, of course, a badge of what?

Well, the full expression is “a badge of honor”. A badge of honor is a badge, be it a medal or pin or a piece of cloth, given by the government or some other authority to honor or praise someone for some heroic deed or other notable contribution or achievement.

For example, a soldier may be awarded a badge of courage for his bravery on the battlefield. A teacher may get a badge upon retirement for an exemplary career.

Anyways, a badge is so designed that the receiver can wear it on the chest or the shoulder or the arm.

Now, back to our topic, the quote in which someone opines that we “live in a culture that wears lack of sleep like a badge”.

This means that people are actually proud of the fact that they don’t get enough sleep at night.


Because, because, well, because if they don’t get enough sleep at night, they must be very busy and, by extension, they must have a lot of things to do, they must be important in some way or other.

In other words, they must be in the thick of things.

People, for instance, have a lot of meetings at the work place, especially in a government agency. When you call someone on the phone in the morning, he or she will say “I’m in a meeting.” You call them an hour later, and they’re still in a meeting. You call them in the afternoon, and they’re still in a meeting, perhaps a different one.

I’ve heard various people sum up their working day this way: “I’m either in a meeting or on my way to one.”

These people certainly wear their meeting-to-meeting existence at work like a badge, like a badge of honor, like a badge of pride.

Or in case they’re just being humorous, like a badge of irony.

In short, to wear one’s lack of sleep like a badge is to refuse to feel ashamed of that fact.

Quite to the contrary, they tend to feel proud.

Perverts, you say?

Well, that says a lot about the society we live in, a society that drives people so hard that in order to succeed and succeed even more they have to sacrifice their sleep.

And forced to feel good about it, too.

Well, lack of sleep is a big negative, period. If you really want to view it as a positive, you do so at your own peril.

All right, here are media examples of people who wear this and that like a badge, metaphorically speaking, i.e. usually defiantly reinterpreting something negative said about them as something positive:

1. Jenna Dewan Tatum isn’t forcing veganism on her 4-year-old daughter, but it sounds like the child is becoming a proud vegetarian.

“I eat mostly vegan, but I’m very accommodating, maybe because I’ve lived with a man for 11 years who’s not vegetarian. Evie is a vegetarian, mostly because I cook for her and it’s what I feel to be healthy for her and easiest,” the “World of Dance” host explained in the March issue of Health.

She loves it and wears it like a badge. She will tell everyone, ‘I’m a vegetarian. I don’t eat meat,’ and I tell her, ‘Ev, you can try anything you want,’ but she’s like, ‘Ugh’—very much a chip off the old block in that way.”

Though husband Channing Tatum will do meatless meals, including pasta and risotto, Dewan Tatum, 37, notes there are additional ingredients to a happy marriage besides meals at the dinner table.

“When people say you guys have such a perfect life, I want to scream and tell them no one’s perfect,” she said. “I think there are such things as great fits. It is a great fit as long as you are growing together, and I think up until this point we’ve really grown together. Even if one starts to grow, the other catches up and vice versa.”

- Jenna Dewan Tatum raising daughter as a vegetarian, PageSix.com, February 6, 2018.

2. In high school and university, I was an absolute coffee addict. I used to down shots of espresso without feeling a thing. I had at least a cup a day, if not two or three — usually with four sugars and some milk. That all changed when I became vegan and began taking better care of myself. I have eczema, and in the process of healing my skin, I discovered that drinking coffee or tea seemed to make it worse. I decided to cut out caffeine for good.

It was only after giving up coffee that I realized how much I relied on it. I had grown accustomed to staying up super late, knowing that an energy drink, espresso, or cup of coffee would be waiting for me in the morning. By midday, I’d crash and have another. Eventually, I built up such a tolerance that I’d come home from class and immediately fall asleep. Needless to say, those first days without caffeine were tough — everywhere I went, it seemed to be taunting me — but after a few weeks, the idea of having a cup of coffee barely crossed my mind.

I knew I had to make some changes, so I trained myself to go to bed two to three hours earlier. (Turns out, sleep is the best solution for being tired.) I started a new morning routine, practicing yoga or doing some quick stretches to get the juices flowing. At a cafe, I substituted my usual coffee for a smoothie or caffeine-free tea (chamomile is my favorite). And most importantly, I stopped wearing my exhaustion like a badge of honor.

For years I had felt that I needed to push my body to the limit to be good enough. Then I picked up a book called The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, in which Taoist principles are explained through the beloved cartoon. In one chapter, Hoff writes about the “Bisy Backson,” someone who’s constantly doing something, who never has a moment to waste. He notes that the Bisy Backson feels important and productive, but their actions are actually counterproductive, because they only cause unnecessary stress. If I wanted to feel better without caffeine, I had to change my mindset, too.

- I Gave Up Caffeine For a Year, and I’m Actually More Energetic, by Michelle Ku, PopSugar.com, September 20, 2018.

3. Joanna Lumley has said Brexit has distracted politicians from focusing on environmental issues, as she called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce a levy on single-use plastic bottles.

The Absolutely Fabulous actress said the reliance on water bottles made of plastic is causing an environmental crisis which will destroy the planet.

She told PA: “I think it sometimes is extremely hard when there is something grabbing the headlines.

“But I am now going to say something a bit controversial, I think that women are able to cope with lots of different things at the same time so the single issue thing might be a man thing, I’m just thinking of Brexit, I’m sorry, I can’t think of anything else.

“We (women) are always having to think of a thousand different things and I think women go ‘Brexit, I wonder what is going to happen then… but look about this water…’ and I think we can do that and at the same time we can wonder what time the children are coming back from school and what we are going to cook for supper and how we are going to do stuff on top of that.

“We can do a lot of those things, so maybe this is something that women have to wake up to.”

She added: “You’ve got water in your home, it’s called tap, so it is largely up to the women and if in the fridge there is always a jug of delicious water or a bottle of water, cold and ready for you to take out, maybe women at home have to do that.

“Whether you’re a mother or a housewife or a single person or a person like me, just caring, just do it. It’s not so hard.

“We all hated wearing safety belts and guess what, we do it, it’s just as simple as that. Just change now, do it today.”


Lumley said she believes it is important to use her platform to draw attention to issues she cares about, adding: “Almost the only benefit of fame, I would say, is being able to draw attention to things.

“That is all fame is worth, it’s worth nothing else. But if you’ve got it for whatever reason it’s usually just from being on things, like on television shows.

“A prima ballerina is not famous, she will walk down the street and you won’t notice her, an opera singer won’t be noticed, but television makes you famous so now you’ve got it, you’re wearing it like a badge and you can’t get it off, it’s more like a tattoo.

“So use the tattoo beautifully and make sure that what you espouse is a true and good cause, put that in the front of your heart.

“Money is always lovely but make sure that behind it is something that you truly believe in and if you can influence a few people to think ‘I will try that’, that sounds like a good thing.”

- TV.BT.Com, Joanna Lumley calls on Boris Johnson to tax single-use plastics, August 12, 2019.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)


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