Readers’ Blog

The 'Face' Effect

Popularity 6Viewed 5197 times 2016-11-27 11:04 |System category:Life

Giving 'face' is a Chinese expression for respect and civility. In everyday society, it is common to 'give face' to people, even those you don't like or respect – not exactly fawning, but courteous: frosty but polite, one could say. Face-giving is essential in business relationships, where a single act of disingenuousness can cost years of relationship-building effort.


When you break it down, giving face equals not saying what you really feel.


Recently, in America, a law was proclaimed that underscores the supposed importance of 'face'. In May, 2016, President Obama issued a decree outlawing the words 'Black' and 'Oriental', used to describe those of such origins. The law is ostensibly designed to prevent or eradicate ingrained racism toward such persuasions. 'African American' and 'Asian American' are now the correct terms. This move was heralded in China as an advance toward civility, one that other nations should adopt.


Civility is apparently no longer a social more but a matter of law? Go figure!


True enough: change the words, change the meaning, as in this example. “You have a face that would stop a clock!” - meaning: “You are so ugly clocks break when you look at them!”. Said another way: “When I see you, time stands still” alludes to the clock being stopped (by ugliness), but the sentiment is much less offensive. The logic follows that changing the name of certain races/ethnicities might have the same effect, right?


What has that new law done for America? Since November 9th, when Donald Trump was declared the winner in the presidential race, hate crimes against those of other races have flared: more than seven hundred instances in the past 2 weeks, laws regarding civility notwithstanding. People of racial/ethnic origins other than white are living in fear of attack. In the streets, in schools, on college campuses: no one is safe.


On a college campus in Michigan, a student wearing a hijab was threatened because of her religious garb: “You can't wear that here anymore. Take it off or I'll set you on fire” the accuser said, brandishing a lighter.

Read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/11/13/university-of-michigan-student-wearing-a-hijab-threatened-to-be-lit-on-fire-police-say/


That young man did not wake up, the day after the election, suddenly deciding to harm other individuals because of their beliefs. Such prejudice is ingrained! It takes years of conditioning to arrive at the conviction that one has the right (the duty?) to offend and threaten and harm others because their beliefs are divergent. To believe that one is absolutely in the right, simply because of their race or ethnicity.


Britain has also seen a spike of racially motivated crime since Brexit. Figures show a 41% surge of racist or religious abuse in the months after the UK voted to leave the European union.


Standing at a bus stop, a Brazilian-born man was speaking to his Mexican wife in Spanish when a woman approached them: “Do you speak English? Can you understand what I'm saying? This is our country. We are leaving the EU. We will stop having so many people like you over here.”

Read the full article here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-37640982


How can mere words change so deep a prejudice? What law can be made to prevent such hate and disdain? How can anybody think that 'face' is going to stop people from hating and fearing what they do not understand?


And that is the danger of 'face'. Not just concealing your feelings from those you wish to direct them to, but the fact that those feelings and ideas are left to fester and grow like the very worst social cancer, eating civilization from the inside out, one person, one family, one generation at a time, and nobody sees it until it explodes onto society, virulent and rampant.


Bernie Noel, a man in Britain who runs prison gyms for the inmates, puts the fallacy of 'face' succinctly: “(... in the 1970s) you knew who the racists were – they were shouting their heads off. Now I look around and think, well some of you are still thinking those things but I don't know who you are anymore.”

Read the article here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37924448


And that is the sad truth of 'face'. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs

Flowers

Shake hands

Ray
Like 0 Share
8.03K

Report

Comment Comment (45 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2016-11-28 09:19
thanks for sharing here, we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-11-28 16:00
I guess it can counted as a mutual respect .. you don't like a person doesn't mean you have to insult him/her ..
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-28 19:26
Dracarys: I guess it can counted as a mutual respect .. you don't like a person doesn't mean you have to insult him/her ..
then why is it acceptable in China to lie to 'save face'?
it just makes people look like idiots, especially when it is sometimes so easy to catch them in the lie

Lying is disrespectful, yet it seems that it is ok to lie in China.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-11-28 20:52
BlondeAmber: then why is it acceptable in China to lie to 'save face'?
it just makes people look like idiots, especially when it is sometimes so easy to catch them ...
Save face means you have to lie ?
Even if you don't like a guy, you still can talk nice and that's not counted as a lie ..
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-28 21:10
Dracarys: Save face means you have to lie ?
Even if you don't like a guy, you still can talk nice and that's not counted as a lie ..
when i have been lied to an and told an important task is complete, and it is not - this is not 'saving face' or made me feel better because i got the answer they thought i wanted to hear, it is disrespectful and insulting.

this kind of lying makes people distrustful of the answer they receive and distrustful of people in China.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-28 23:43
Dracarys: Save face means you have to lie ?
Even if you don't like a guy, you still can talk nice and that's not counted as a lie ..
i would say 'saving face' is an avoidance strategy dressed up as 'culture'.
People avoid giving bad news or taking responsibility for something and say they don't want to 'lose face' by admitting something is not done or covering mistakes.

Having done some business in China, to me it amounts to being dishonest about being able to do something.
So many people have said 'yes i can do this' and then proceed to lying that a task is completed when in reality it might not even be started, or they couldn't do it in the first place.
Time and money are wasted because someone wanted to 'save face'.

It just looks like dishonesty and deserves no respect.

It basically makes a person look stupid for no reason, so 'being nice' is pointless.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-11-29 10:31
BlondeAmber: when i have been lied to an and told an important task is complete, and it is not - this is not 'saving face' or made me feel better because i got the ...
You may not notice that when it comes to save face ..people who involved are already know what happened and they save face for each other to avoid embarrassment ..
But what you are talking about is that you don't know other's situation or what happened between you guys and they lied to save face  for them ..
Reply Report HailChina! 2016-11-29 11:12
BlondeAmber: then why is it acceptable in China to lie to 'save face'?
it just makes people look like idiots, especially when it is sometimes so easy to catch them ...
Are 'saving face' and 'giving face' the same thing?
Reply Report HailChina! 2016-11-29 11:52
In my opinion China is very stupid to involve itself in such neoliberal nonsense. And who the hell even says 'oriental' anyway? And why is 'oriental' offensive? Is China really offended by people saying that Chinese are 'oriental'? Awww. Poor China. For Christ sake. This kind of ridiculous nonsense will just make people hate China. Is that really what China wants? Is China so utterly stupid that it cannot see that neoliberals know that racism is a very very minor problem in the west and the only reason they keep picking at it is encourage more racism? Neoliberals know that most people in the west are not racist and they know that even the racist ones only really display harmless surface racism at best. For the size of our populations in the west there is almost no so-called 'hate crimes'. Before black Obama became US President ( Dont they have %$%$ing "BLACK HISTORY MONTH' in USA for %$% sake? Holy %$%$ I hate neoliberals. They are %$%$ing mad ) there was no big problem with racism and there isnt now - all that has happened is that the western political class have made a big effort to make racism an issue and by doing this they encourage racist people who have been keeping their racism to themselves thinking that it was unacceptable to come out as open racists and neoliberals know very well that this is going to happen and that is the point. Neoliberals want society to have a racism problem because while ever the western masses are fighting among themselves they are not fighting the ruling class that the political class protects. So what China is doing by involving itself in this neoliberal nonsense and helping the neoliberals is making people hate not just Chinese people but China itself. These neoliberals do embolden the minority racists of western populations but more than that they infuriate the working class 'white' ( can you still say 'white' can you? But not 'black'? Why didnt Obama ban calling Chinese people 'yellow'? Too offensive to say? ) people that are not racist but are against racist and anti-majority schemes like 'affirmative action', and are against being called racists by lying and scheming neoliberal minions and leftist retards. The support for Trump was a vote against this insane liberalism of the western left - not a vote for racism. So the majority will not hate China over this stuff because China is Chinese but because China are neoliberal liars and pretend victims. Oriental. China is offended by people calling Chinese oriental. What a joke. Walk it off China. Jesus Christ. It is enough to make people sick.

And saving face? China needs to save face by stopping with the neoliberal lies and nonsense. You do not understand face if you think that lying has anything to do with it. Lying brings no honour. Lying about being able to do something brings no honour. Just because a Chinese thinks they know what face is doesnt mean that they do. It seems to me that most Chinese do not understand face at all. China is neoliberal degenerate if China thinks that lying is being civilized. Face is a two way street isnt China? China thinks that lying and playing the victim to try to unfairly take face away from the majority of western populations is giving face does it?

And as if so-called 'face' is unique to China just because China gives it a name. Only a neoliberal degenerate that takes great pleasure in taking face away from anyone that they can would have any difficulty with or find foreign the concept of face. Civilized people everywhere give so-called 'face' in their interactions unless they are neoliberal degenerates.

edit - China is very stupid. China is always involving itself in neoliberal nonsense. Russia does not engage in this nonsense but China always does. China is so weak and China thinks that it must suck up to the clever and educated wealthy neoliberals of the west that the majority of western populations hates to death.. Good thinking China! China listens to these idiots. The reason China listens to and employs these neoliberal idiots is because China is weak as hell. Russia doesnt need to do this neoliberal junk and Russia is far more popular with western populations than neoliberal China. These lying neoliberals just talk to their retarded selves in a neoliberal echo chamber and believe their own nonsense seemingly unaware that the only people nodding their heads are the ones that are paid to or the ones that understand that nodding is in their best interest - or complete and utter retards. The majority hate these neoliberals and it is a lot worse than the neoliberal polls and election results would have you believe. It is much worse. Neoliberals are hated so why does China align itself so closely with these morons? People will remember this stuff. people will remember that China did so much to help the western neoliberal ruling class.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-29 14:22
Dracarys: You may not notice that when it comes to save face ..people who involved are already know what happened and they save face for each other to avoid emb ...
so are you saying it was right for the company to lie to me and try to take my money?

They might have 'saved face' for themselves in the short term, but ultimately they showed themselves to be dishonest.
So no one gained, as their reputation is mud as a result, and i warned others away from them.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-29 14:24
HailChina!: Are 'saving face' and 'giving face' the same thing?
i don't think so, but they are both built around the concept of 'reputation'.

the best explanation i can give is the one below that i found.

'In China and much of Asia, Face represents a person’s reputation and feelings of prestige within multiple spheres, including the workplace, the family, personal friends, and society at large. The concept of Face can be understood more easily by breaking it down into three separate components: the individual view, the community view, and actions. The “individual view” pertains to the amount of prestige individuals feel based on their accomplishments, and the amount of respect they feel they are due based on their position and status, such as in a company or the home. For example, in the modern Chinese economy there are many opportunities to buy status symbols, which help a person gain prestige.  And in China’s hierarchy-focused society, the respect a person is due is determined first by status relative to another person’s, not necessarily by personal achievements.

What is Face? The “community view” pertains to the amount of respect individuals feel necessary to give to someone else based upon that person’s position or status, such as in a business, the family unit or within a group or friends. For example, status in a Chinese family is divided by very distinct roles; there are even separate terms used to address older and younger cousins, aunts, and uncles. Giving the same amount of respect to older and younger aunts or uncles might be viewed as a serious breach of etiquette.

“Actions” pertain to the various activities that can cause an individual to gain or lose Face. Based upon one’s position relative to someone else, several different actions can be employed to either cause a loss or gain of Face. In some cases these actions might occur unintentionally, or instead be used as tactic to achieve a specific result. For example, giving someone Face (e.g. more than they might deserve) can be used to build relationships and influence decisions. Also, causing someone to lose Face can reinforce one’s own authority and status, or pressure someone toward a desired action, such as quitting their job or fulfilling a promise.'
Reply Report HailChina! 2016-11-29 17:09
BlondeAmber: i don't think so, but they are both built around the concept of 'reputation'.

the best explanation i can give is the one below that i found.

'In Chi ...
The big problem is that most Chinese have got no Junzi - especially in modern China and they are unable to truly understand the concept of 'face'. Do you really believe that the Chinese masses understand 'face'? Do you even think that Chinese 'elites' understand or believe in the true concept of 'face'?

-

"Face is the respectability and/or deference which a person can claim for himself or herself from others, by virtue of the relative position he or she occupies in his or her social network and the degree to which he or she is judged to have functioned adequately in that position as well as acceptably in his or her general conduct." - (Ho 1975:883)

See face is not purely about ones status but also about how well one functions in and fulfills the duties of his station. So these Chinese that lie about their abilities to "save face" as you and others claim is not them saving face in any way shape or form even though they may mistakenly believe that it is. If one is asked by a superior to perform a duty that the person is not capable of then the only way for that person to salvage any level of face from the situation is to immediately be honest with their superior and admit that the task is beyond them so that a solution can be found and no trouble is created beyond the fact that the person is not capable of performing the duties expected of them. However face is a two way street and the superior person should be careful not to expect too much or anything unreasonable from the person underneath them. Also, if the person beneath has admitted their limitation and prevented any further issues in a way that is good conduct under the circumstances then the superior should give face with interaction that allows the person beneath to salvage as much face as possible under a situation like this. A gentleman should not cause others embarrassment to their face or to others.

No Junzi. That is what is wrong with most Chinese people and it is why they cannot understand the true concept of 'face'.

Face is a sense of worth that comes from knowing one's status and reflecting concern with the congruency between one's performance or appearance and one's real worth. (Huang 1987:71)

Causing someone to lose face for personal gain is not giving face - it is base. See, most Chinese do not have a clue when it comes to 'face'. Especially modern Chinese. And they got no Junzi.

"[Face] is something that is emotionally invested, and that can be lost, maintained, or enhanced, and must be constantly attended to in interaction. In general, people cooperate (and assume each other's cooperation) in maintaining face in interaction, such cooperation being based on the mutual vulnerability of face." - (Brown and Levinson 1978:66)

By cooperating with the western class of neoliberal degenerates against the majority of western populations China is losing face bigtime. By helping neoliberals unfairly create a situation where it seems that the majority of western citizens have lost face because of the claim that the majority of western citizens are inherently racist China is acting like a base degenerate. Shame on China! Shame!
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-29 17:17
'giving face' in the Chinese business sense where people don't disagree with the boss or manager can lead to a poor management structure where the inexperienced fail to instill best practice.

you can be respectful but disagree, but in China this does not seem to be acceptable.
the result could be as minor as a mistake, but as great as the loss of life.

when a manager puts 'face' over all other concerns, failure is usually the result.
Reply Report HailChina! 2016-11-29 17:43
BlondeAmber: i don't think so, but they are both built around the concept of 'reputation'.

the best explanation i can give is the one below that i found.

'In Chi ...
And about this giving different levels of respect to different aged family members - this is linked to piety and the main reason piety is promoted is to promote harmony. And the main point of 'face' is to promote harmony. By giving a person of lower status more respect than a person of higher status one does not only insult the person of higher status but they are also creating an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation for the person of lower status - not giving them a compliment. Only the truly base person of lower status would appreciate being given more respect than a person of higher status. Honour should be just as important to a person no matter their station and low status should never be an excuse for base behaviour unless it is the superior person excusing the baseness of the truly and clearly base individual because of fair and reasonable expectations that superior people should have for the base individual. ( Not everyone has had the same advantages after all. Right? ) Face is about knowing and accepting your status in the moment and not putting social balance in danger. So do you see why you are way off the mark with your claims about Chinese etiquette? Giving more respect to a person of lower status than one of higher status puts out the social balance and is disrespectful to both the person of lower status and the person of higher status. Face is not a weapon to be used to get ahead in life - the main point of 'face' is to promote balance and harmony.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-11-29 19:22
BlondeAmber: so are you saying it was right for the company to lie to me and try to take my money?

They might have 'saved face' for themselves in the short term,  ...
I didn't say lying was right .. I'm just saying when facing an embarrassing condition and you guys both know what happened, Then to avoid embarrassment between you and other people, then people choose to talk a little more nicely to save face and that's not counted as a lie cause you already know what happened ..
Reply Report Joey-k 2016-11-29 21:08
The 'face' mentioned in the blog and comments above is very different from the 'face' we Chinese know.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-30 14:29
Joey-k: The 'face' mentioned in the blog and comments above is very different from the 'face' we Chinese know.
then maybe you would care to give us your explanation.

It is not very useful or helpful to say 'you are not right' and then not give an explanation.

In similar discussions with Chinese people, they often say 'you don't understand' but then fail to continue to help with understanding.
This appears to be a conversation stopping tactic rather than a dialogue to help overcome cultural differences.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-30 14:32
Dracarys: I didn't say lying was right .. I'm just saying when facing an embarrassing condition and you guys both know what happened, Then to avoid embarrassmen ...
That doesn't explain why Chinese people/companies say they will/can do something even thought they have no intention of doing it, or are unable to do it.

This just insults the non-Chinese person and makes the Chinese person look stupid.

In business, this makes the Chinese company look dishonest and greedy.
Reply Report Joey-k 2016-11-30 15:37
BlondeAmber: then maybe you would care to give us your explanation.

It is not very useful or helpful to say 'you are not right' and then not give an explanation.
...
Well, for starters, I don't.
And I see no point in explaining  as you seem to me are already so prejudiced against China and Chinese people.
You will understand if you really want to.
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-11-30 23:17
Joey-k: Well, for starters, I don't.
And I see no point in explaining  as you seem to me are already so prejudiced against China and Chinese people.
You wil ...
This is my point.
Many Chinese people 'get upset' and refuse to explain their meaning more, which leads many people to conclude that they don't understand themselves, and are therefore unable to explain to others.
And that there is no rationale behind how they behave.

You say i am 'prejudiced', yet you offer nothing to challenge my alleged 'prejudices'.

I just want you to explain, as you say that foreigners understand incorrectly.

it is a simple request that will help many non-Chinese to understand, and you being Chinese.

I said that i found the lies being told were illogical and didn't benefit anyone, and asked why a company or person would do that, yet all you do is 'get offended'

retreating to calling someone 'prejudiced' implies you have no logical argument and the only way you can 'win' is to sulk.

This is the sort of commenting i expect children to grow out if they expect to be taken seriously as an adult.

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


Album

Recent comments

  • The 'Face' Effect 2017-3-29 08:28

    HailChina!: Truth.
    In Australia that would be strewth (mate).

  • What is Rude? 2017-3-27 15:57

    oh dear . I whoheatedly agree with you . I am very tired of uncivilized acts like this . I have seen a video which was filmed by a british man who was hit by a car , he was standing on the sidewalk and a drove into him , he requested him to aologized and the driver refused and said : this is china !!! the act was widely condemned by chinese netizens !!

Star blogger

Anming

4124

views

Maierwei

2603

views

财神

4580

views

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.