Intsiksiomai's Blog

Archive for September 2009

“Face” or “Shame” is a very important quality for the Chinese.  I think Asians are generally conscious of their “face”, but different races and cultures have different things they are most ashamed of.  In my dad’s case, he’s ashamed of us if people see us in public at wee hours of the night.  He also kept on reminding me that I should never ever marry a Filipino because he took good care of his name and if I marry a Filipino, I’ll bring him shame.  He’s also very careful that he doesn’t give a bounced check to anybody because a bounced check reputation is very shameful.  Sure, I could admire him for keeping his word regarding the things he values and the things that would save his “face”.  I just don’t agree that he puts more emphasis on his “face” more than our welfare and happiness.

What a person is most shameful of is a good reflection of his core values.  Some Arabs kill their sister if she gets involved with a non-Muslim to save the “family’s face”. (Sexist and racist values) Some people stay unhappily miserably married just to save their “face”.  (Family as an entity is more important than individuals type of values) On the other hand, some people have absolutely no regard of other people’s opinion of them, which is also bad at times.  A corrupt president who’s been caught many times of her cheating and stealing can be so apathetic to everyone’s criticisms.  I have some Filipino friends who don’t feel any shame giving bounced cheques, having unpaid overdue debts, having many children from different gfs without giving them enough support.  In some cases, I think they are even proud that they can get away having debts for life, proud of having many children they don’t support, proud of having mistresses.  That, for me, is shameful.

It would be interesting to ask people around what they are most ashamed of, what would make them lose their “face”.  It’s a way to know what their values are and how it differs from our own values/hierarchy of values.