"Face" in Taiwan (台湾的面子?)

I have some questions about 面子.

  1. What is 面子?

  2. If someone do not know what 面子 actually is and paying no attention it, will he/her encounter any troubles associated to it in daily life? (I would appreciate receiving answers to this question from whom having solid understanding of what 面子 is like.)

  3. Is it important to save 面子 of yourself to be regarded as a trustworthy person from Taiwanese?

  4. Any suggestions, tips etc in general related to 面子 in Taiwan?
    Does anybody here find it difficult to keep paying attention all the time to 面子 of whom you speak?

  1. If you are British, it could be equated to ‘not making a twat of folk’ or ‘having good manners’.
  2. Yes.
  3. If you have lower social status than your peers, people may not really be interested in you so much, which would be true in most countries. ‘Trustworthiness’ seems sightly unconnected a trait, to me.
  4. Don’t make people lose face – it’s not polite. No. See 1.

For those who don’t read Chinese: 面子 (mianzi) means “face”, as in “saving face”.

A sense of self-worth, social standing, prestige, dignity, or honor.

Yes, because in some cultures, people take face really seriously, and the shame and embarrassment caused by a loss of face can lead to violence aimed at the person who caused the loss of face. The reaction can be disproportionate to the severity of the offense as perceived by the offender or a neutral third party.

I don’t consider face important for me. I’m an easy-going fella, and as an egalitarian at heart, who considers everyone of equal worth, I see the concept as rather childish.

Don’t cause people to lose face; you never know how seriously they may take it. For instance, don’t ridicule them or undermine their status in public, especially in front of their friends.

It’s easy if you don’t act like a dick.

Thank you for your answers.

Now I understand 面子 as a flashing point or raging threshold set depending on the counter party’s social status and triggered by the self-worth. Well this seems quite common anywhere in the world.

So what makes 面子 not exactly same as face or anything else in some other cultures is the difference in criteria of any implicit social standard or common criteria as to the reasonable level of self-worth which a given person can be estimated to have, but in case of 面子 it is not as visible as is for it in class systems in some other countries.

And this standard or criteria seems to be much strongly tied to the social standing, fortune and age of the person than some other countries. Also the degree of raging and rampage expected from “making a twat” of folk may be much serious than one would usually expect in other countires.

I heard a few serious and furious aggressions toward personnels in service industries so now it makes more sense to me.

In Chinese culture, when you catch someone cheating you, lying to you, or betraying you, you’re supposed to pretend it never happened.

If you demand an explanation - particularly in public - the transgressor will say they “lost face”, exhibit faux rage (male) or hysterics (female), and probably use the “lost face” as a reason for revenge.

Through this kind of wildly emotional outburst, they hope to make their original transgression look trivial by comparision.

Face also seems like a way to cover up things. If you point out wrong doing or stupidity, you cause someone to lose face. People here are also more sensitive about things and joking about them with things that nobody gives a crap about back home can also lose face for them.

Yup. Losing face = being exposed.

Face in East Asian cultures is deeply connected to self esteem. It is similar to the Western concept of honor, but different in that in that one gains or loses face publicly rather than intrinsically. It is your public honor, and if you lose face you are shamed and diminished.

it is basically the worst aspect of chinese culture.