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Saving Face or Saving A$$?

Popularity 1Viewed 859 times 2015-8-12 09:27 |Personal category:Quote Me|System category:Life| important, something, someone, people, saving


It is true that 'saving face' is an important part of the Asian psyche, not just in China or Japan. It is true in India too. There is a saying or lament in India that if someone does something bad enough to be ashamed, it raises the questions 'How will we show our faces to people?', or 'How can we show our faces again in society, if people come to know of this?'. There are other expressions 'We will no longer be able to show our faces to people, or people who know us.' I can well relate to such feelings expressed by the Chinese or Japanese or Arabs. 

Such shame originally applied to things worthy of being ashamed about - something that impugns one's personal integrity, honesty and truth - things that are worthy of respect. People were expected to live in a manner that when others looked at them, there was respect. It was a precious honour to be always valued, protected and most importantly, EARNED. Corruption and a decline in social values and morals has led to this sense of honour or 'face' being applied to the wrong values or issues - becoming poor, unwanted pregnancies, love or marriage across artificially made social divisions etc. Now the term 'saving face' has a negative connotation in the West, especially as applied to Asians or non-Westerners. I contend that the original motive and sense of 'saving face' has some merit always and in every society.

Now, if one thinks the Easterners are obsessed with 'saving face', lets look at the Westerners in contrast, particularly the USAnians - they seem to be obsessed with 'saving their ass'. Even in an honourable pursuits, they will endeavour to 'Kick Ass'. A great product is applauded as somethings that 'kicks butt' or a 'kick-butt product'.

Bosses in the USA are known to tell their subordinates,"Remember, If you don't perform well this quarter, your ass is grass and I am the lawnmower!"

Motivation to lead a team to victory, coach says to the team,"Come on, lets go and kick some ass."

Lawyers often tell their clients,"You need to put in this clause to cover your ass, in case someone sues you."

Scolding a poorly performing person,"I don't want to see your sorry ass, if you mess up once more."

Admiring a beautiful looking woman,"Now, I would like to get myself a piece of that ass!"

As you might note that it is often impossible to get past the filters on websites that try to keep out foul language and people write A$$ instead of ASS. It seems appropriate that next to the rear end of people, the other obsession in the USA is with $$s or money which is also highly valued. When someone feels good or looks good, they will say "I feel like a million bucks" or "She looks like a million dollars."

A lot of people in the other Western countries like the UK, Canada, Australia etc, idolise the USAnians and copy the same theme with a slightly different style. They might use different words (local English) to describe the same part of the anatomy. 'Arse' is more British English. 'Booty' is more Black English. There seems a subliminal erotic or sadistic focus with the rear end of the human anatomy in the Western culture.

So, we see the different two cultures in trying to preserve the 'honour' of two different ends of the human body.  It speaks volumes about what part of the anatomy holds such a grip on the minds of two different cultures.

If you text a good joke, a modern Asian teenager might reply - ROFL. An USAnian or Western teenager will however most likely ROFLMAO.  I am often disappointed to note Asian teenagers mimic the language of western obsession with the rear in trying to appear cool.I am seeing more ROFLMAO from Asians these days! What is happening? Is the East going 'backwards', pardon the pun.

So, what do you strive to protect more or focus on? The Face? or the A$$?

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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