Public sleeping 101 for parliamentarians

2014-06-20 09:56

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With the rowdy EFF crowd arriving in Parliament with a bang, there isn’t much time to sleep during debates and long speeches. But a few MPs this week proved it is still possible. Carien du Plessis has observed MPs from the lofty heights of the press gallery and offers some tips.

Rule 1: It’s best to sleep on the back benches where you are not easily observed. For instance, have you ever seen the president or his deputy sleep? At least not with their eyes closed.

Rule 2: If you do manage to get some shut-eye, keep your mouth closed. There is no giveaway of a sleeper as obvious as a string of drool or a snore emanating from an open mouth. The risk is too great and you will look bad in pictures.

Rule 3: If you are a particularly hard-working minister, or even just a respected elder, folding your arms and quietly bending your head is a good way to sleep. If you’re asked about it, you can always say you were meditating.

Rule 4: For a deeper rest, perch your forehead on the edge of the desk in front of you. Others will think you’re listening while merely resting your neck.

Rule 5: Another good way of sleeping is by gently resting your forehead on your hand, elbow on the desk and fingers spread across your forehead, hiding your eyes behind your open hand. For better effect, put your forefinger of your other hand on the papers in front of you, as if you’re using it to read or point to a word. By the time onlookers have figured out that you are asleep, you’d be rested and ready to wake up.

Rule 6: If you wake up, do not do so with a start. It will betray the fact that you were asleep in the first place. Just open your eyes gently as if you were merely resting them.

Rule 7: Don’t fish. That happens when you stubbornly resist sleep and then fall asleep in an unsuitable position. Better get comfortable first.

Rule 8: If you have a big tummy, it is an excellent idea to tuck your hands in underneath it before bending your head to your chest to sleep. That way your hands will stay warmer and will aid your rest.

Rule 9: If you were spotted partying it up in Cubana in the early morning, drink as much coffee as it takes to stay awake and keep the yawns at a minimum. Party animal isn’t the publicity you want, especially if you are a minister or a deputy. It worked for Mbaks, but it may not work for you.

Rule 10: Confuse bored journalists looking for sleeping MPs by holding your phone underneath your desk when Whatsapping other MPs with gossip. It will take them a while to figure out that you’re actually looking down at your phone and not sleeping. This will give your colleague a chance to enjoy their rest without paparazzi eyes on them.

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