Chinese “Face” – Part 1/4

No, this is not about looks or Botox or face lifting creams or hairstyles, or the desire to have a rounder, paler moon face—the standard of beauty to the Chinese.

What I am writing about is the meaning of “face”.

Dr. Martha Lee wrote, “Nobody ever said what you do with those who have ‘disgraced’ the family name by getting divorced.”

In China, if you do something that is considered a disgrace, like getting divorced, that may be considered a loss of face for everyone in the family.

When our daughter was a pre-teen, we went on weekend hikes in the hills behind our home. The end of the hike was a large park across the street from the La Puente Mall. On one fateful day, when she was nine or ten, she was the first to discover a dead man. She came running back with a shocked look on her face.

It turned out that the dead man was an architect from Taiwan and his company had gone broke.  His loss of face for failing had driven him to take an extension cord from his mother’s house, find a suitable tree in an isolated portion of that park, and hang himself.  He was dead when we reached him.

Continued at Mothers “Face” – Part 2 or learn of Human Rights – East versus West


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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7 Responses to Chinese “Face” – Part 1/4

  1. […] in Chinese corruption, another factor may be a more powerful force and that is maintaining, “face” or increasing it since upwardly mobile Chinese are expected to constantly gain […]

  2. […] TV to the nation. Embarrassed in front of the country he ruled, Deng had no choice. It was a great loss of face for him and the government.  Loss of face is probably the leading cause of suicide in Asian […]

  3. Please be specific. What did you like about it? Your answer could help me write better posts.

  4. […] you want to learn more about Confucianism, I suggest reading honor, piety and face Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Smoking GunWhen China SpeaksHonor, Chinese Style […]

  5. […] understand China more, I recommend reading piety, face and […]

  6. […] dirty laundry for everyone to see as the West does. Behaving like that goes against what “face” means in China. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Fave places 2009 – […]

  7. […] stopped taking risks that China lost its spot as a regional superpower. It’s all about “face“.  Take a risk and win but make a mistake and get caught, you lose ‘face’. […]

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