My Chinese Friend’s Treat To A Fabulous Lunch

What I did to change their belief about the fear of losing face.

Summer Lotus

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By Rosalind Ho (Canva.com)

If you are familiar with Chinese culture, the concept of ‘face’ is very important. In particular, to a Chinese, a situation can be described as having ‘lost face’ if he or she faces embarrassment in social intercourse. When what he does or says raises eyebrows or seemingly so.

Among Asians, the face can be given, earned, or lost. It is not just a personal shame and may be extended to your family or clan. Sometimes, it may not seem to be right but it makes the person looks good. Compared to the west, where your face or honor is more about personal integrity and truth. But it can require one to be straight-talking and put others in a spot.

This concept of giving face is very important if you are doing business in China. Or your deal will likely fall through! The outspoken foreigner may come across as being rude, overbearing, and uncultured if you are unaware of this practice. It is this skill that will cement the guanxi or relationship that determines your successful business transaction.

If you want a smooth relationship, stay positive and grateful for the occasions. Give sincere compliments, bring a surprise gift (one that is not easily available in that country), and genuinely try to understand how their culture operates.

One of the ways your Chinese counterpart will welcome you is to treat you to a banquet. This is part of their culture to delight their visitor with a feast to make you feel important and save his face, so to speak as he would appear generous. You would be giving face if you accept and make the other party happy.

Some years ago, I was in Shanghai, China and I called on a native friend. Overjoyed, she brought me to a banquet at a top hotel despite my insistence to go somewhere more low-key so as not to make her overspend. As in any country, food is a very important culture.

In Singapore, I would assume that they would like to go to our famous food courts where the varieties and tastes are numerous and much talked about in the media. The restaurant in Shanghai was not a cheap one.

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Summer Lotus

Translated from my Chinese name. Interested in life, curious about everything. Challenge seeker, die-hard enthusiast, dental surgeon, ardent Toastmaster.