Smiling Tiger, Hidden Dragon – The Concept of Saving Face In Asian Culture
Contributed by Karen Hoisington February 6, 2018
‘Face’ is a strong Asian cultural ethos and social image that individuals apply to preserve themselves from hurt and harm. What can we learn from the concept of saving face in Asian culture?
The self in the Chinese context is defined through an intricate web of social and personal relationships. Westernised culture may find itself confused or perplexed when it fails to grasp “face” or “ke qi” in relating to the Chinese people at work or at home.
Unfortunately, many interpret this to mean not showing their true colours, nor sharing their true intents or expressing their real needs in conflict.
Understanding Saving Face In Asian Culture
For Asians, especially the Chinese, ‘face’ is a person’s social connections. A person is not an ‘individual’ in the Western sense of being defined by personality and character, but rather a locus within a social context.
Based on Smiling Tiger and Hidden Dragon by John Ng, and her own experiences while working in Japan, this interactive talk and role-play explores the concept of ke qi often translated as ‘politeness’. It refers more to the stance of being deferent and controlled even in intense situations. It will offer a practical guide to recognize and react appropriately when relating to communication and conflict resolution when dealing in social environments with Chinese Asians and Singaporeans in the local context.
- Identify the Different Kinds of Conflict
- Observe the What, Why, and How of Conflict
- Appreciate Hidden Motives in Conflict
- De-escalate Conflict
- Intervene and Recover from Conflict
Karen Hoisington is Singapore’s pioneer branding designer who has branded airlines to zoos. Her motto “Making Others a Success” motivates her to serve the learning community through her rich experiences working on both corporate and government accounts.
Karen is also an appointed UK travel ambassador for business women to Singapore and created a social foodie community called The Stylish Gourmand. Karen’s book, “Brand! Desire”outlines her 39 tips based on her successful branding principles.