Chinese Face... It is actually pretty hard to explain... but it is something that is taught to mainland Chinese people from the day they are born. Well, not every Chinese person, but the vast majority of them. I've met the odd one or two over the years I've been here where they have attempted to break free from the constraints of society. However; fitting in is such a huge part of the culture. Fear of not being included is tough and if you want to get ahead in society, you have to play the game.
There is no law about Chinese face, but there is a very huge social stigma for anyone who does not follow the rest of the heard. And that is basically it, "following". Anyone who does not appear "normal" is not good enough for the rest. If you do not act a certain way, you are not "normal" and therefore not good enough for people to befriend. Or they will befriend you, but it is a very huge two faced deal. Not a friendship that benefits both people, but more, "what do you have that can advance me?"
Yeah, part of it is almost like the worst parts of high school where the stereotypical cheerleaders rule the coup and everyone wants to be like them. Where perfection is glorified and anything that is not perfection is bottled up inside and not permitted to see the light of day.
Some other aspects of Chinese face... (stolen from JS250)
--Narrow minded/close minded people. (Non-compromising.)
--Intentionally stupid/'fake' people.
--Racist/bigoted/sexis t people.
--People with no loyalty or conscience.
And some more:
Refusing to make mistakes/refusing to say they do not know something (can you imagine a doctors visit????? Oh I've been there MANY times!!!)
Refusal to stand up and say something because they are afraid of what others will think of them/that they will loose their friends
Being friends with someone because they have money
Refusing to stand up and say what you beleive in/your opinion
Thinking for yourself
Admitting you need help
Refusing to learn something because it is different from what you were taught
Blindly following thoughts/people just because everyone else does it
Two faced people
Not being able to admit you are human and make mistakes
Refusing to be yourself because you have been told who you are is just not good enough
Thinking that just because they have money that everyone should accept everything you do and say
"If everyone else does it, I can do it too"
Not able to literally dance in the streets because you are afriad of people looking at you in an odd way.
That a woman is not as good as a man
And to top it all off? Pride. I mean I do totally agree, China has so much to be proud of... and I am filled with pride about my students and many things Chinese. But the absolute refusal to be able to wrap ones mind around the simple fact that sure, China is a great country, but there are many things here that are not all that good and being able to actually say it without the fear of people casting you out. Canada is a great country, but golly, there are so many problems too.
I know it sounds like I am complaining about everyone, and this list is huge in the generations above the age of thirty, it is slowly changing with the younger generations. It really gets to me when I actually speak of this to people of any age group and they just look at me and whisper that I am right in what I am saying and wish they could just turn from Chinese face. But they cannot if they want to keep their job or if they want their kids to have a good future.
Living here is hard and tough if you don't understand the "game", but once you know the game... it becomes much more easier. And the good thing is, I am a foreigner. I have no "face". Thankfully, if you've read my posts here in the forums or my blog about living here, you'll know that I love living here. There are just so many wonderful things that I can do here that I just cannot do anywhere else. There is really lots more I can say about this topic lots and lots and lots... but... it is time for me to go to work!!!! And I hope I explained it in a way that can be understood, for I never meant it as an insult to anyone. I simply hate the whole concept of "face" I find it just so... wrong. and this does not just happen here in China... it also happens in many places in Canada and other western countries.
And my absolute favourite part of living here? Now that everyone I know here knows that I cannot stand face, it means I have to live more straight and narrow, honestly and the opposite of everything I've said above. To me? I've so got the better end of the stick!!!!
Before I run away, if you have any questions, please feel free to drop them here in this thread, I have set the alert me function.