Beards in the Taiwanese workplace

Is it acceptable to rock a beard in the modern Taiwanese workplace?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

About 3 months ago, I started working for a Taiwanese organization in Washington, DC. As the English language editor I was hired for my knowledge of that language, not Mandarin, so unfortunately I know very little Chinese and equally little about Taiwanese business culture (working on the language part though!).

I’ve noticed that there aren’t really any men with facial hair in my office. This, of course, is also generally true in any Western business setting - the classic modern businessman tends to be clean cut and well-shaven.However I often like to grow out my beard during the wintry seasons of the year and have found that in my previous professional work experiences in the States, it hasn’t been a problem.

My basic question is, if I head off for the long holiday weekend (Columbus Day) clean shaven and show up the day before 10/10 with the makings of a thick, dark beard (it grows in fast, freakin’ Paul Bunyan-style!), how will my coworkers react?

I like my beard a lot. I miss it :frowning: I think I looker better with it than without it. If I don’t get some good advice soon, I’m just going to have to feel it out by casually asking my colleagues.

I voted yes, because that is my experience. I’ve had a beard on and off for as long as I’ve been in Taiwan, and it has been permanent for the last six or seven years or maybe longer. No one has ever said anything negative about it. I also wear an earring in each ear, and that works, too. All in all, Taiwanese are a pretty tolerant bunch in my experience, and I’d think that if you work with Taiwanese in the US, they’d be even more used to seeing bearded faces, so I don’t think it should it be a big deal.

I’ve always attributed that to the near inability of Chinese men to grow significant amounts of facial hair.

Yeah, I agree.

I think there are two separate things going on here. One is your workmates not having any beards and the other is you growing one.

So, regarding the first one, in my experience in Taiwan, most of my colleagues couldn’t grow a beard if their life depended on it. Fact. That’s why no-one I work with has a beard.

The other thing is whether or not it’s acceptable for you to have a beard. Well, IMHO, if it’s a beard and not a I-couldn’t-be-bothered-shaving stubble thing, then there’s no reason at all for you to be considered scruffy, so no reason for anyone to complain.

Just keep it neat. No biggie.

I really don’t like beards on women. So long as you aren’t a woman I wouldn’t worry about it. I have a scruffy beard and a tache and a shaved head and nobody ever bothered me about it.

That’s because you sneer at and threaten everyone. Bloody Scotsman.

I’m telling your mom.

Use a beard trimmer or scissors to keep it short and neat, dress nicely enough for the environment, and you’ll be just fine.

Taiwanese are often admiring or even envious of nice beards.

Grow the beard. Keep it neat and well-trimmed.
They will probably be a bit envious.
Charge US$.25 for your co-workers to rub your belly.
Tell them it is very lucky for the Lottery.
Ask them if they miss the aroma of cho do fu.

I live here and have a beard, nicely trimmed, people actually like it a lot.
but then again, I’m very handsome! :sunglasses:

[quote=“igorveni”]I live here and have a beard, nicely trimmed, people actually like it a lot.

I follow you on this (first part).

I see it as an extension of the bush starting 20 cm lower which turns the nurses on at the hospital :slight_smile:
Remember, the new style is not to trim the beard only. Serious.

I seem to remember having a chat with Tigerman at the Daniel Pearl event regarding this very issue. IIRC TM basically said that Taiwanese folk simply believe that “That’s the way foreigners are”. I can see a lot of truth in that. Where else in the world can you go to work in yesterdays clothes, and get away with not shaving for 5 days?

I haven’t combed my hair in probably 20 years.

I grow a beard every now and again. Have one now.

Funk500 has a good memory. No matter how long my hair has been, and regardless of the shape of my various beards, my colleagues have always thought that I am this way because I am a foreign person (and thus that’s just the way its going to be).

Works for me.

I just couldn’t be bothered shaving most of the time. I LIKE being lazy: deal with it. nobody except my wife has ever commented, so they must think it’s my impeccable style coming to the fore. Anyway, if it’s good enough for George Michael, it’s good enough for everyone else!

Well I say you are just following the precedent of our less hirsute Chinese neighbours, you know the type, they’re the ones that leave that mole hair grow to extraordinary lengths.

I mean you could really screw with your fate by lopping off heavenly given hairs in certain cycles.


Our workplace has quite some foreigners, compared to the average place. Most Taiwanese -and here I am counting my boss who is quite picky- just dismiss our fashion sense regarding clothes, hairstyle, and yes, beards, as “foreign stuff”. How else do we get away with coming to work in jeans and sandals?! There are other “heavier” issues they care about.

One of our furriners recently grew a beard. My boss comment: He has gained weight, hasn’t he? The beard was a non-issue.

On the other hand, one of the overseas Chinese coworker grew a beard. First he said it was because of a death in his family, he should’t shave, then he kept it. Recently, we were looking at pictures taken at a local temple. One of the “door guardian gods” was a dead-ringer for my coworker: long, fine hair goatee, with a long-haired mustache. You know those sages you see in the old-fashioned Chinese watercolors? Something like that.

Except from the two or three extremely long facial hairs growing out of a mole not too many Chinese are able grow extensive beards … we as westerners are really tolerant to Taiwanese growing these hairs in the working place although it looks awful, even gross …

Lao Ban of my local bike store has a fantastic growth spprouting from a large mole on his jawline. about fifty-hundred hairs, black and white, all about 8 inches long at least. Stunning! he must be so lucky.

it only takes about five minutes, two ml of local anaesthetic, and about four stitches to remove that tumour!

I thought that in Chinese tradition, beards were supposed to be worn by men who are “masters” of something, such as calligraphy, or a family. No?

Aren’t we masters?