• In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
  • Most users ever online was 203 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:19 am
  • Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest
Collapse view

Comments, Feedback, & Suggestions

Cultural Narcissism in China

Comments, feedback, and suggestions for new topics.

Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Old Codger » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:16 pm

Admittedly, narcissism is a significant (shall we say) "problem" (from a Western perspective?) in China. It seems to permeate all aspects of Chinese society in one form or another. Many of the aspects of the complex sociological implications of "face" and "saving face" are narcissistic in many respects.

Another form of narcissism not mentioned in the Chapter is the 'childish' behavior exhibited by many Chinese, regardless of their gender. They are motivated by taking the course and path of least resistance. They do not adapt well to change or doing things different from what they have always done - or what they think is the best way to do things. When shown a different and quite often better way of doing things, they will later claim that you are controlling and that everything has to be done your way.

Numerous examples of childish behavior can be given, and that could open up a whole new psychological analysis of not only the Chinese but also the Westerns who are dealing with them and attempting to integrate their lives with theirs. Many childish attitudes can seem 'cute' in the beginning but they can progress to the point where the childish attitudes attempt to control the relationship. In some respects, they can control the relationship as long as you are in the relationship as long as you are in it.

I recently asked my girlfriend what her parents did when they had a disagreement. Her response was that they just "ignore each other" for a few days and then things go back to like nothing happened at all. In those types of situations it comes down to a battle of wills. Who is going to make the first approach and break the impasse. This type of behavior is common in childhood fights. Someone has to "give in" first. Odds are it will not be the girl. With this behavior, combined with narcissistic attitudes and behavior, you can find yourself in a situation where there is no medium or happy ground. If you give in, then it will be expected each and every time. If you do not give in, when there is a reconciliation attempt, abuse will be heaped upon you during the process for not caring enough about the relationship. You have only two choices - either accept the abuse or walk away and say it simply is not worth any effort you make because the other person is not making any effort. Without nipping the issue in the bud, you have engaged in the equally damaging childish behavior which means that you have become an enabler.

Humanistic psychology suggests that we attempt to understand the causes behind such behavior. Chinese culture is non-confrontational. This may be the way that she has learned to deal with disagreements. Society can be blamed in different aspects and hypotheses. Quite often however, with this type of personality, humanistic psychology and approaches will not work. Then, the "tough love" approach can be tried. It runs the risk of either losing the person and relationship completely or in getting the person to look at themselves closely and understanding the damages that their actions and attitudes are causing.

Understanding Chinese culture is an important aspect of a relationship with a Chinese girl or woman. This type of relationship is so much different than a relationship with a Western woman. It may be necessary to forgo Western attitudes about relationships with a Chinese woman. Women are quite often difficult to understand in any society. Chinese women are carrying extra baggage of both culture and their experiences growing up. Always remember that excuses for behavior can always be attributed to Chinese culture. This makes the task of understanding even more difficult.

Having lived in Asia for a number of years, the toughest task that I have had is understanding Asian culture, the majority of which emanates from Chinese culture. Cultural differences will often be used as excuses for poor behavior. Discovering what true Chinese culture is, is a difficult task. For an old codger like myself, with plenty of time on my hands, it is a wonderful challenge. For younger men, who believe or think that Chinese or Asian women are the "cats meow" and who rush into a relationship with a Chinese woman - especially through an Internet dating service - no matter what you have experienced in the West, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Old Codger
"It ain't easy being me"
Old Codger
 

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Dr. Greg » Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:12 pm

Thank you for that thoughtful and informative post Codger.

We do, of course, make both direct and indirect references to cultural narcissism throughout the Guide but you did a very nice job of summarizing the main issues. One need only read a brief description of Mao's Cultural Revolution and the activities of the Red Guard to gain better insight into a significant etiological part of China's "cultural narcissist injuries."

I've had the opportunity to personally interview several middle-aged Chinese who were children during the Cultural Revolution and have heard horror stories of total disruption to families, schools, and entire communities, as well as violence and chaos on a massive scale. I don't think anyone ever truly and entirely recovers from an experience like that. If there is any validity whatsoever to intergenerational family theory and Kohut's School of Self-Psychology, then we know that traumas and injuries from the past do get transmitted across generations and do affect personality development. Just speak with any adult child or grandchild of a Holocaust survivor.

Old Codger wrote:Cultural differences will often be used as excuses for poor behavior. Discovering what true Chinese culture is, is a difficult task. For an old codger like myself, with plenty of time on my hands, it is a wonderful challenge. For younger men, who believe or think that Chinese or Asian women are the "cats meow" and who rush into a relationship with a Chinese woman - especially through an Internet dating service - no matter what you have experienced in the West, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

This is precisely why those eight chapters were written. Most Western men have a very poor appreciation of Chinese culture and are completely unprepared for what they will encounter with Chinese women after they arrive.
Dr. Greg
Site Admin
 
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Eric Sommer » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:01 pm

Hi,

I am academically trained in both anthropology and sociology and have been married to a Chinese woman for 6 years, live permanently in China, and would like to comment on Old Codger's post and on some of Dr. Greg's comments. First, I like, and have benefited from, a number of Dr. Greg's observations and I partially agree with Old Codger. At the same time, I believe both sets of comments need to be amplified, and partly corrected, by an anthropological appreciation of the *functions* which particular behaviors have in maintaining a particular cultural system or set of relationships.

To begin with Old Codger's comments on face, I would argue that face is not, as he says, a matter of narcissism but, primarily, a cultural behavior which has functioned to maintain group cohesion and prevent conflicts from going out of control and ending relationships. It is related to the primacy of the group over individualistic notions in traditional Asian cultures. Saving face, whether your own or someone else in the group, is a social duty to the group - and to relationship maintenance - within the Asian context and has, I think, nothing to do with narcissism.

Next, I cannot agree that Old Codgers parents-in-law's 'not talking' for a few days when there has been a serious quarrel is a sign that they are 'childish' because children also act in this way when they have quarreled. It is a common, though not universal, behavior between Chinese couples used to diffuse emotional overcharges before things can 'go back to normal. A related common behavior - though not a universal one - is for one member of a family or couple to vent their anger or upset while the other member remains silent. Later, when the one who has vented has calmed down, the issue may be discussed or it may be forgotten. Maintaining silence or not talking to another person for a while may be childish in some Chinese or western contexts, but in other cases it can represent in China true adult restraint of emotions while things cool down.

Before we condemn the Chinese methods for handling familial conflicts, we might want to reflect on the lack of success of western methods, where there is a 50%+ divorce rate.

Though such Chinese issues are not discussed in particular in the work, I would *strongly* recommend reading Edward T. Halls' great, and very accessible to the lay reader, classic work on intercultural communication 'Culture The Silent Language'. Careful reading of this work can come as a shock and eye-opener if we think that just living in another cultural environment is enough to understand its people and culture. Moreover, there are many hints and examples in the book to help us wake-up to just how much of our - and other peoples culture - is unconsciously learned and operates behind our back. Just like the personal unconscious, there is a 'cultural unconscious' - a set of unconscious assumptions about the meaning of other peoples behavior - which is formed while we grow up in a particular culture. If we're not aware of it, this unconscious set of assumptions can unduly colour our perceptions when we move to a radically different cultural environment.

All this said, I do agree--as most Chinese people will--with Dr. Greg's general observation that Chinese women born after 1980 usually have very different values, and can behave more childishly, than their forebearers.

Best,

Eric Sommer
Eric Sommer
 

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Eric Sommer » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:57 pm

Hi there,

I wanted to add a few points to my previous post. To begin with, I want to mention the Chinese cultural ability to listen 'without responding' and 'without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing'. This is an ability generally lacking in North America and possibly most western world people. It has nothing to do with deceit or fooling people, but is quite different from the western world emphasis on 'agreeing or disagreeing', 'saying what you think', and so forth. It is, in fact, generally difficult for North Americans, including myself, to hear views we don't agree with and simply listen. I focus on this cultural difference because it may be related to some of the intra-couple conflicts reported in this forum.

If your wife or girlfriend is upset or angry with you, she may expect you to 'just listen' as many Chinese men would, even if she appears, from your perspective, to be somewhat abusive in her comments. Later, when things are calm, if she is a reasonable person, you can try to talk about what happened. Vice versa, if she is reasonable, then when you are upset or very angry, she should be willing to let you vent without disagreeing. These suggestions do not fit all situations, and they certainly don't apply to all Chinese people, but they do catch an area of real cultural difference.

Secondly, it's always dangerous to generalize about large groups of people, but there are great differences in the average characters, and behaviors, of northern and southern Chinese people, including of course women. As most Chinese people will tell you, Northerners tend to be very frank, direct and blunt in their speech, often more so than Western people. The traditional western world stereotype of Chinese as indirect communicators applies mainly to southern Chinese people.

Take the word 'no', for example, This word can be hard for a southern Chinese to employ when asked for a favor or for something they don't want to give. Instead, an indirect method, such as changing the subject, may be employed to convey their 'no'.

My wife, on the other hand, is from the north, and she used to shock me, when we first met, with her very direct way of saying 'No' and of talking and describing things, people, and her feelings.

Two women I know well are from southern China, and for any interpersonally-sensitive topic they use very indirect communication. One of them once told me: "southern girls are as gentle as a river." When I asked what northern girls are like, she instantly replied: "Like men!" Of course, northern girls are also feminine in their own way, but my southern friend's comments underscore how different they can be from southern women. Men living with northern women may, therefore, have very different experiences than those living with southern women.

Chinese people are very aware of these differences, and it can be helpful to talk with them about them. While forums like these can be very helpful, it remains true that the best informants about a culture are those who are its members.

Best,

Eric Sommer
Eric Sommer
 

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Dr. Greg » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:15 am

Hi Eric,

Thank you for your very thoughtful comments both here and in the new thread on Cultural Narcissism in China. We do in fact discuss some of these regional stereotypes in the section Regional and Linguistic Differences.

I don't believe that all the difficulties with Chinese women reported in this topic can be explained by cultural or regional differences within Chinese culture unless you are willing to include pathological narcissism as an integral part of that culture. The problems reported in this thread (and others) go far beyond cultural preferences in patterns of communication, although I would agree that these do explain at least some of the difficulties.

...it remains true that the best informants about a culture are those who are its members.

Yes and no. If you are using the word "informant" here to mean a group insider who is willing to disclose information about a culture or sub-culture that is otherwise not easily accessible to outsiders, then I would agree. On the other hand, it is highly unlikely that a member of any particular group will be able to provide a critically objective analysis of that group's dynamics, conflicts, and problems.

For example, if I am looking to obtain insider information about the Chinese Communist Party, then, yes, I would hope to speak with its leaders, those who represent both the mainstream as well as minority factions. However, if I am hoping to both understand and explain systemic problems within the Party, particularly as they impact Chinese in general and especially relations between Chinese and Western people, I would not rely on Hu Jintao or any Party leader as my primary source of information. For that, I would seek out the research and advice of Western political analysts.

As another example, I am reminded of a gathering that I attended with my friends and colleagues shortly before I moved to China. The group happened to include two urologists and the topic of prostrate cancer came up. Having gone through this experience with two other friends who had each recently completed a different course of treatment for prostate cancer--one that involved radiation therapy and the other, surgery--I remember asking these two friends which course of treatment they would personally seek: In unison, as if it were rehearsed, they both answered "neither." They then went on to explain, in what clearly were very personal and emotional responses, that they felt the host of complications suffered from both treatments was not worth whatever benefits could be derived when you considered how slow-acting prostate cancer is.

Based on the reactions of these two male urologists and what I know of human nature, if I were ever diagnosed with prostate cancer, I would definitely seek out the advice of a female urologist if I could find one (and, if not, then any female endocrinologist or internist), precisely because there is no way she could ever personally relate to what it must feel like to "piss lightening" (a complication of radiation therapy) or be rendered permanently impotent (a complication of surgery). Her medical advice would (more likely than with the male urologists) be based on life expectancy data and cold hard facts, and not tainted or influenced by personal over-identification with the patient.
Dr. Greg
Site Admin
 
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Guest » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:06 pm

Hi Greg,

I agree with the main thrust of your points above. I would, however, like to clarify one thing: From an anthropological perspective, there are two possible perspectives on any group - the 'etic' or outsider perspective of an investigator, and the 'emic' or insider perspective of participants in the group. Anthropologists try to take both into consideration when performing field work. Where I might disagree with you is in the assumption that outsiders are necessarily more objective about a group then insiders. *Both* are carrying the baggage of their cultures and worldviews, including both the implicit and explcit assumptions carried by the insiders and those embedded in the minds of the outside investigators.

I know my discussion with you on these topics may be off-putting for those who come here for personal help with their relationships. But it comes down to this practical suggestion: Words, tones, gestures, body stance, and other behaviors can have different - even very different - meanings in different cultures.

So my strong suggestion is that to find out what your wife or girlfriends behavior *means* to her, or within her culture, you may want to politely ask an 'insider' - i.e., a Chinese person - such as her or a Chinese friend what that behavior means in China. You may be very surprised by the response.

I have frequently observed in both South Korea and in China that foreign teachers frequently group together, hang out together, and try to explain China and Chinese people or Korea and Korean people to one another. More often than not I have also observed that they reinforce negative ideas about the countries and their people. The problem is that they *assume* that behavior has the same meaning it would have 'back home'. But often it does not!

Example: When in Korean I noticed that certain acquaintances of mine, and some others I casually encountered, would laugh for what I felt was a very long time when I met them or when I said or did certain things. Slowly, this behavior really got on my nerves. A typical foreigner response would have been to discuss my discomfort with other foreigners. But as a trained anthropologist I did, as I advise others to do, the opposite: I asked Korean friends what this behavior meant. I was surprised to learn that while North Americans generally laugh when they are amused or - if they are abusive - to make a fool of someone, Koreans also laugh, and laugh very long, for another reasons; When they are very happy to see you!

Similarly, you may want to simply ask your girlfriend or wife or another Chinese person why or what the meaning is when she says or does certain things which annoy or upset you. You may or may not like the answers but I guarantee there will be surprises

One example: Western people frequently dislike unsolicited 'advice', especially when it is strongly expressed with words like 'you should do x'. We can experience this behavior as condescending or controlling, and it offends our sense of individuality. But inquiring about this behavior of Chinese people quickly reveals that it has a different meaning here.

First, there is not the same distinction between 'could' and 'should' in Chinese language and thinking, and so translation of the 'advisors' thought into English can be problematic.

Second, the more strong type advice we receive in the west, the more we may dislike someone. But Chinese people actually feel closer, and I don't mean just young women, when they give and receive advice. Third, and this is key, the Chinese ability to 'listen without agreeing or disagreeing' - which can take the form of 'in one ear and out the other' - means that they don't feel defensive the way a westerner might when such - to us - strong advice or 'controlling statements' are made.

These points are not hypothetical, and did not occur to me spontaneously or just from observation. I had to *ask* Chinese people some detailed questions to elicit this information. The same method can help to clear up other misunderstandings. Finally, nothing I have said here, or in my previous posts, should be construed to mean that I fail to recognize that there are certain character problems in young Chinese women.
Guest
 

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Dr. Greg » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:38 pm

Please appreciate that I am not responding to the rather serious psychological problems being reported on this forum as an anthropologist or sociologist but as a psychoanalyst with over 30 years of experience treating disorders of the self, i.e., borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, the last seven of which have been in China.

I essentially respect and agree with your observations and points about the importance of understanding differences in cross-cultural communication from the other culture's perspective, such that certain behaviors may have a different meaning than an outsider may attribute to it. However, none of this has anything to do with most of the maladaptive behaviors described in this topic for which foreign men have been asking for help: namely extreme verbal and physical abuse, or, at best, extremely selfish and manipulative behaviors.

Borderline and narcissistic personality disorders are not the result of a "misunderstanding" in communication between two foreign cultures. Sulking and withdrawal followed by an explosive outburst comprising both verbal and physical abuse are not the result of differential styles in communication as explained by Chinese cultural norms.

A young Chinese woman doesn't incessantly find fault and criticize, destroy property, hit, or bite her partner when thwarted because of cultural differences in patterns of communication. Would you agree that the men who have posted comments on the thread "My Chinese Girlfriend Won't Stop Complaining" aren't doing so because their Chinese girlfriends or wives used the modal verb "should" instead of "could," or because they're spending too much time with other foreigners instead of their Chinese hosts?

Finally, nothing I have said here, or in my previous posts, should be construed to mean that I fail to recognize that there are certain character problems in young Chinese women.

It is precisely the manifestations and expressions of those character problems that are being raised by the various posters on these various threads and that I am addressing in my replies--with all due respect to normative differences in culture and patterns of communication, to whatever degree these may inform developmental arrest and subsequent character pathology.
Dr. Greg
Site Admin
 
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Eric Sommer » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:00 pm

Hi Greg, This is an interesting dialogue. You wrote: " young Chinese woman doesn't incessantly find fault and criticize, destroy property, hit, or bite her partner when thwarted because of cultural differences in patterns of communication. Would you agree that the men who have posted comments on the thread "My Chinese Girlfriend Won't Stop Complaining" aren't doing so because their Chinese girlfriends or wives used the modal verb "should" instead of "could," or because they're spending too much time with other foreigners instead of their Chinese hosts?"

To begin with, your statement cited above assumes that all or almost all of the posts in this thread describe abuse. Some of the described behaviors certainly do sound like real abuse. But there are various posts here and some, like the one for which this thread is named - 'My Chinese Girlfriend won't stop complaining' - may or may not be so. The comment reported in that post - 'What are you doing? Come back to bed' - can certainly sound commanding to western ears, especially when combined with a sharp Chinese tone. But my educated guess is that the girl is expressing love and closeness in her Chinese way. Whatever the case, a good way to open a dialogue about it, instead of beginning with criticism of her or by asking for a change, would be to ask her what it means to **her as a Chinese person** to say: "What are you doing. Come back to bed. Requests for change on her part, or modifications in ones own perceptions, can come after that question is answered.

Secondly, I hope that my simple suggestions for improving communication will not be ignored. I mean things like asking Chinese people, or your girlfriend or wife, what a particular behavior or communication means to *them' as a Chinese. Or following the common Chinese pattern of quietly listening without interupting when your spouse is upset or critical, and discussing your side of the problem when things have cooled down later. And, of course, asking your spouse to do the same when you're upset. I hope that these suggestions will not be lost amid our somewhat theoretical discussion.

This approach of 'asking what things mean' can work wonders, which can only be appreciated by trying it. Certainty that we know the meaning of behaviors in other cultures - and of knowing when people are intentionally rude or hurtful in another culture - is commonplace, and is frequently mistaken. Of course, if your spouse is truly abusive or mean-spirited towards you or the world, then none of this will work. But you won't know unless you try.

One final point: If Chinese women, or young Chinese women, are so tough to live with, why are the men here with them rather than with western women? One reason, at least from my own experience, is that Chinese women are, on the whole, generally more giving and more loyal to their partners than women - or men - from the contemporary west. I'm generalizing, but I think it's true on the whole. The centrality of family, including one's spouse, is very much part of the Chinese mindset, including the mindset of young women.

I trust that my posts here do not come across as hypercritical or dismissive. In fact, I think your work on narcissism in young Chinese women is quite important, and on-target in many respects. I'm simply trying to add another perspective and some suggestions. When I was in university - a long time ago now - I noticed that psychology instructors tended to dismiss sociology, while sociologists sometimes used cutting words to dismiss psychology. I never accepted this approach, because I have always believed that a multidisciplinary approach is best.

All the best, Eric
Eric Sommer
 

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Dr. Greg » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:15 pm

Hi Eric,

Take a close look at what the original poster of that thread wrote because I think you are only attending to part of it:

Bill wrote:Then we have the same fight every morning about how I have had enough sleep and don’t want to go back to bed. She never accepts it. She just tells me over and over again about how I am not being “normal” and that what I am doing is “not healthily.” (emphases added)

It's all a matter of degree. The difference between a personal (cultural) preference, character trait, and personality disorder is primarily a matter of degree. And there are differences.

While it may have different names in different cultures, schizophrenia is schizophrenia whether you were born in China or the United States. If a patient falsely believes that the government is trying to kill him, that is a delusion whether the color of one's passport is red or blue.

There is also a difference between tolerance and masochism, or, more commonly, enduring a terribly unsatisfying relationship due to fear of abandonment or some other equally unhealthy reason. Personally, I wondered to myself how anyone could tolerate that kind of daily nagging and arguing over the same issues for an entire year. She must be one hell of a cook. Finally, there is difference between understanding and personal acceptance. There are a lot of things in this world that I understand but personally wouldn't want in my life.

I don't think you are being hypercritical or dismissive of me, at all. My concern is that, without meaning to, you are possibly being dismissive of those who find themselves in very unsatisfying relationships with very difficult women, suggesting that the real problem lies, instead, with incorrect attributions on the part of foreign men as a result of cultural insensitivity or naivete.

Bill's frustration, as I understood it, was not the result of cultural misinterpretation but the fact that his narcissistically-injured girlfriend would not accept him for who he was. Everyday, for one entire year, he needed to ask that she respect his personal preferences but to no avail. This is not about a cultural misunderstanding.

If Chinese women, or young Chinese women, are so tough to live with, why are the men here with them rather than with western women?

The divorce rate for Western men and Chinese women is higher than it is for same culture marriages in both cultures, with Canadian-Chinese having the highest divorce rate among them. Japanese-Chinese couples have the highest inter-Asian divorce rate, perhaps not surprisingly. I don't think we can attribute this differential divorce rate to the foreign men alone.

I am truly glad that you are happy in your marriage. Nothing I have ever written on this site should be perceived as challenging that.
Dr. Greg
Site Admin
 
Posts: 484
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Re: Cultural Narcissism in China

Postby Guest » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:54 am

I'm not really an expert on anything (I'm 25 for starters) but I have lived and worked in both rural South Korea and Russia. I consider both places to be pretty cultural different from the US. And have had a few very difficult relations with women from both countries.

One of the most difficult (if not impossible) things to do is to see the difference between an 'individual' and their 'culture'. Actually culture is really not the right word, 'ethnicity and upbringing expressed as a person as a member of the group' is more what I mean.

I remember I had a great deal of difficulty with a Russian ex-girlfriend. I am fluent in Russian, and have a great deal of experience with all things Russian. But there are also 'unwritten' aspects of a culture that are NEVER printed in books.

I maybe rambling a bit, but I was thinking where Dr. Greg said
While it may have different names in different cultures, schizophrenia is schizophrenia whether you were born in China or the United States. If a patient falsely believes that the government is trying to kill him, that is a delusion whether the color of one's passport is red or blue.

But it also must be remembered if I, as an American, say "the CIA is trying to kill me!" I'd be pretty, for lack of a better word, crazy. But is it as abnormal for a Russian man of 90 to believe the government was trying to kill him? After all the man has seen 50 years of a government trying to kill people, perhaps including close relatives. He could even say, well Uncle Fedka was shot in '52, and Borris was sent to SIberia in '49 so why not me?

Anyway what I'm trying to say is that in Russia, what I thought was the behavior of all Russian women was in fact the behavior of a Russian woman who had very bad (abusive, physically and mentally, perhaps sexually as well) relations with her father. When I described her behavior as "normal Russian behavior," which it seemed to be, to a male Russian friend, he said "there was nothing normal about it!" and began asking about her family relations. He, being Russian, was far more able to see ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ than was I.

In Korea it was common for the school board and principals to explain any act, even rather bizarre rude ones, as Korean culture. A great example was when they forbid a teacher to attend a funeral of a close relative, even though to miss the funeral of a male relative would be a great sin in their Confucian culture. The foreign teacher was told “he didn’t understand Korean culture,” which was their way of saving face for their outrageous behavior. Many Asians, like all people, are able to lie about ‘their culture’ if it gets the job done, or is a convenient way to intimidate an already confused foreigner.

As the western culture has become the ‘dominant’ super-culture worldwide, (why do Asian men wear business suits and not hanboks or kimonos abroad?) claiming ‘ignorance’ of western ways is more of an excuse than anything else. Obviously the niceties of eastern etiquette should be observed whenever possible to smooth things over. But in my experience the belief that there is a culturally explanation for every ‘unpleasant’ behavior is a gross exaggeration and one that tends to leave the lost laowai dazed and confused.

Lastly as I mentioned my ‘sole’ qualifications are in the fields of dating/living with Russian women and working in Korea, so excuse the lack of clarity I’ve brought to the discussion.
Guest
 

Next

Return to Comments, Feedback, & Suggestions

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Login

User Menu

Who is online

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 203 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:19 am

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest