Is having sex six times in six days the secret to work-life balance?


Name: 669.

Age: Brand new.

Appearance: Employer-mandated intercourse.

Please explain. Are you good at phrases that incorporate complicated Mandarin homophones?

Nope. OK, the first thing you should know is that Chinese work culture operates on something known as “996”.

Yes, but you said 669. I am getting to that: 996 refers to the working hours unofficially observed at many Chinese companies, 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

That’s 72 hours a week! Jack Ma, founder of the tech giant Alibaba and one of China’s wealthiest men, recently shared his belief that working at the cost of everything else shows dedication.

Hmm, I’m not so sure about that. To be precise, Ma said: “To be able to work 996 is huge bliss.”

Is it really? No, of course it isn’t; it’s awful. Chinese law apparently states that a working week should not exceed 40 hours. A group of developers recently launched a website, 996.icu, to campaign against such a demanding work ethic, warning that it might result in workers being hospitalised.

OK, so that’s 996. What about 669? Well, according to Ma, the best way for workers to improve their work-life balance is to have sex six times a week.

Right. “We want 669 in life. What is 669? Six times in six days; the emphasis is on nine,” he reportedly said.

I don’t understand the nine. “Nine” in Mandarin is a homophone of the word “long”. In summary: have sex six times a week, for as long as possible.

And he was telling this to his exhausted workers who already work six 12-hour days a week? Yes. It’s hard to know how they’d fit it all in, so to speak.

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This man sounds like an absolute tyrant. I haven’t got to the good bit yet. Do you want to know where he was when he said this?

Go on. At a mass wedding ceremony of 102 of his employees.

Is Ma some sort of Bond villain? Not at all. He wants the best for his workers. It’s just a coincidence that “the best” means marrying off many of his employees, happily reducing their need for time off, so that they can continue to work 72 hours a week and have joyless, exhausted, mandatory intercourse for most of their designated sleeping time. See? He’s a nice guy.

Do say: “The key to perfect work-life balance is 669.”

Don’t say: “Six times in six months, for nine seconds.”



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