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Importance of face
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  1. #1
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    Somehow it makes me wonder (although it's a generalisation), that because of the importance of face in Thailand, how people (e.g. real friends, bf/gf) can get a true kind of intimacy.
    I have seen people be ignorant by purpose, just to save face. Or hiding/ lying feelings and emotions to save ones own face or the others.
    Sometimes I just have the feeling that's not possible to criticise (contructive) Thai or really get to a deeper emotional level.
    Is it only about sanuk and may pen rai, concealing feelings? Just to save your face? Sounds to me like quite shallow relationships.

  2. #2
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    I imagine the importance of face is more linked with issues concerning family and work?
    Never hit someone below the belt; for you are not the creator.

  3. #3
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    Hey you are in luck. I have written a book called DR. SOMCHAI'S BURN YOUR ASS SAVE FACE METHODS!! It is only $99.99...ORDER TODAY. I can send you one right away. Just send me your ATM card and Pin number, And I'll get started right away. Here is a few examples from my book. HERE YOU GO ENJOY!

    1. If a foreigner or anybdoy comes up to you asking you for directions. REMEMBER! You must know everything! you don't want to lose face right? So here is the solution. You just point in some direction. (any direction will do.) Then hopefully that person will just walk off and not bother you again! it is that easy.

    2. Here is another situation. If somebody asks you a political question or a question that makes you have the sensation of the unnaccostomed torture of thought and you want to appear to know what is going on. (Save face) Here is what you can say.
    What do you think about the Governemnt? IT IS GOOD. VERY GOOD. HELP PEOPLE. GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD.
    here is another qustion they might ask?
    What do you think of your country? IT IS GOOD, VERY GOOD. EVERYTHING GOOD.
    What do you think about the school systems? GOOD VERY GOOD I LIKE THEM VERY USEFUL AND PRODUCTIVE LEARNING.
    What role do you think relegion plays in society? Hmm HELP PEOPLE GOOD GOOD GOOD.
    How is your life sitation? Are you getting what you want out of life? YES. GOOD GOOD.................
    Yeah, i think it is interesting to try to find out how these words like Mai Pen rai and sanuk came about......As everybody who has read From and everybody who has open eyes can see that peoples charachter in society tends to be molded depending on the Modes of production in that society. Agricultural or industry. And people who come from a society where agriculture is the main mode of production the people tend to be more patient and relxed. (thais) You have to be patient when dealing with growing crops......And when it comes to industrial societies..people tend to be more pushy and punctual....(chinese) I am in china now. And it is true. Industry has been elevated to some great accomplishment. All you hear about is INDUSTRY INDUSTRY PROGRESS PROGRESS. DILLIGENCE!! WORK HARD WORK FAST. Of Course when you are on an assembly line you have to work fast......OH yeah back to the Mai Pen Rai attitude complex....If you had read some of the stuff I wrote about thai's being slaves in the past. 30% of the population..You can see how a Mai Pen Rai attitude would become into existence....Imagine you are a slave and you have to convince yourself that your existence is fun and is ok......Of course you would say hey....MAI PEN RAI!!! HEY....SANUK SANAN......Hey ever wonder why the word PARTY and WORK is the same in THAI? Think about the past and think about the slaves and think about the character traits of certian members of society fit the MODE OF PRODUCTION!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!&# 33;




  4. #4
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    i AGREE

  5. #5
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    Communicating with my wife has taught me new social skills and it has made our relationship much more intimate. I am the typical American, very blunt in my style of communication. My wife, on the other hand, is typical Thai: She has a very indirect and non-confrontational communication style. It frustrated me at first, because we Americans are always expecting people to "get to the point." What we fail to realize is that "the point" is not the same in both cultures. For my wife, the point is to keep everything nice between us and not cause trouble. She tries to anticipate what I will think or feel about whatever she says. In order to accomplish this objective (point), she must know me very well. She cannot possibly anticipate the list of potential reactions I might have to her behavior without having a thorough knowledge of me. I have pushed her buttons more than a few times because I am trying the get a "straight answer." However, the path of least resistence is not always the direct route. Therefore, I may never get a straight answer and I may have to settle for one that is carefully crafted to make me feel good. Ultimately, the goals are different and, consequently, the communication styles are different. In America, the goal is to get the job done in the most direct and efficient way. In some other cultures, the goal is to maintain interpersonal relationships and prevent upsets. I find that learning to communicate to my wife in a less direct and more considerate way adds to the level of intimacy in our relationship. I have to think and know enough about her to anticipate what the "right" thing to say is. However, the "right" thing is not alway the blunt honesty that many westerners are used to. The "right" thing in this instance happens to be the thing that doesn't make her feel bad about herself or our relationship. It requires a whole new set of social skills that most westerners don't appreciate and, thus, have never attempted to develop.
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (visionchaser45 @ July 15 2005,03:56)]I have to think and know enough about her to anticipate what the "right" thing to say is. However, the "right" thing is not alway the blunt honesty that many westerners are used to. The "right" thing in this instance happens to be the thing that doesn't make her feel bad about herself or our relationship. It requires a whole new set of social skills that most westerners don't appreciate and, thus, have never attempted to develop.
    I think most men who have had a relationship with a woman have figured out the "right" answers somewhere along the line.

    wife: "Does this dress make me look fat?"  
    husband: "NO!"  (whatever you do, don't make the mistake of looking to check before you answer. The "no" is instantaneous and forceful)

    wife: "what are you thinking about?"
    husband: (thinking about how his gonna make the money last till the end of the month, or about this weekend's game) "YOU" or "us"

    I wouldn't call it saving face, more like saving my butt.

    In the west we call these white lies. While "face" can be used to cover these seemingly harmless lies, it also  tends to be used as a cover-all for any opportunity to lie and at times can foster an "I can do anything I like and will lie till I'm blue in the face denying it, even in the presence of undeniable proof that I did do it" attitude.

    It is often said that face is a concept of preserving social harmony and that westerners just can't get it.
    Social harmony, fine, but at what price?
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  7. #7
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    I agree that so called “tradition” and so called “culture” force people to lie. Especially to family. I mean how many people do you know that are foreigners that are dating Thai women and the thai women are living with them but they don’t tell their parents about it? Actually everybody I knew. I had two close friends that were dating and their girlfriends lived with them. But of course the thai girls had to lie and say that the were living with girlfriends. Myself included. When my girlfriend used to come stay with me she had to lie. And I don’t understand why a thai person can’t just say. I have met a guy I like and I would like to live with him and not be married. Why not? It seems like it is better than lying…..Of course that is what parents are for. I would prefer honesty to lying………..

  8. #8
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    My former Thai girlfriend had a steady boyfriend for 4 years at university, and her parents never new about this very intense relationship.

  9. #9
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    When views one's world through the lens of ethnocentrism, one is bound to have problems interacting with persons from other cultures. It is not enough to simply know how people from another culture tend to think, one must also learn why and appreciate the value. Failure to do so will result in conflict and eventually cause people to make bigoted comments about the members of other cultural groups, simply because they fail to appreciate and value the differences, versus making value judgments from the perspective of ethnocentrism.
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  10. #10
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    visionchaser45, I really appreciate your points of view here. Thanks.
    Abandon wrongdoing. It can be done.
    Cultivate doing good. It can be done.

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