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Asian concept of "Face"? #4587516
11/28/17 12:49 PM
11/28/17 12:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,345
Chicago,IL,USA
pandus13 Offline OP
pandus13  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,345
Chicago,IL,USA
Hi,

Our kids have some friends, some from South Korea, some from China.
Parents are born in those countries, but work and studied here in US.
After visiting home, they got some gifts for both the kids and us, the adults.

I'm not trying to put a value on the gifts, but more like understand what they may be seeing or thinking from their point of view:

Much appreciated for all of your thoughts.

respectfully,
Pandus13


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Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587524
11/28/17 12:55 PM
11/28/17 12:55 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 10,774
Buffalo, NY
JTK Offline
JTK  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 10,774
Buffalo, NY
That's a good question. I don't know those cultures enough to understand if you 'gifting' back to them would be seen as an insult or not?


2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)
Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587526
11/28/17 12:58 PM
11/28/17 12:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 4,225
New England
Virtus_Probi Offline
Virtus_Probi  Offline
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 4,225
New England
Not sure how valid this is regarding your situation, but I worked with some Japanese engineers a while back while they stayed in the US and they brought small gifts for the whole group. I loved my gift and felt obligated to give something in return, but they did not seem too happy when I presented their gifts.

I think perhaps their gifts were intended to incur an obligation on the part of the US engineers to help them during their stay, with work as well as numerous cultural and other practical concerns. Or, perhaps as a sort of thanks in advance for the help they expected to receive...my return gifts may have cancelled that obligation in their minds.

I felt enlightened when I read that one way to say thanks in Japanese basically translated into English as, "I am sorry to have you incur this obligation upon me."


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Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587553
11/28/17 01:21 PM
11/28/17 01:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 14,424
Silicon Valley
PandaBear Offline
PandaBear  Offline
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 14,424
Silicon Valley
They are souvenirs, sort of a custom of "share the love" like giving gifts at Christmas time. You don't need to gift back in return, but some tiny snacks would be always appreciated. If you really want to you can bring something back from your trip to share with your office mates.

Other times when sharing little snacks or gifts are appropriate:

1) Wedding (think edible wedding favors for those who can't come)
2) Funeral (if you attend there's a meal at the end, sort of a "time to stop grieving" meal)
3) Specific national holiday like Harvest Moon, New Year, etc etc (sort of like a mini potluck)
4) Children's wedding (see 1, except it is more formal because you are now "elder" and you need to act appropriately)
5) Children's month old or 100 day old birthday (celerbration that the kid made it pass the critical point, he or she will live)

For 1,2,4,5, in many culture you should give them a small gift in cash (i.e. $20-50 for acquaintance, $100-300 if very good friend or relatives) or whatever appropriate in physical store with receipts (i.e. think Wedding gifts). In the Western world they know you are not living the custom so they won't expect anything, but small gifts are always nice.

Details depend on the local custom, as you know Asia is kind of big.

Last edited by PandaBear; 11/28/17 01:30 PM.

"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587563
11/28/17 01:30 PM
11/28/17 01:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
EdwardC Offline
EdwardC  Offline
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
I'm not totally sure I understand the question. Your friends visited their home country, then brought back gifts for you? Isn't that just like bringing back a souvenir for someone from a vacation? I wouldn't expect that person to give you anything back. If anything, I would take it as a compliment that they thought of you while away, and like Panda mentioned, maybe next time you travel, you can bring something back to them.

I don't think it has much to do with face (which I understand to be something more like embarrassment or humiliation).

Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587568
11/28/17 01:34 PM
11/28/17 01:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,226
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,226
Waco, TX
Is there any specific "Cultrual xxxxx meanings for Dummies" book available?


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Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587593
11/28/17 01:51 PM
11/28/17 01:51 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 1,992
America
Alfred_B Offline
Alfred_B  Offline
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 1,992
America
This is a generally accepted behavior outside of the Northern European culture. They have no expectation of you reciprocating the gift since it's not part of your culture.

Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587602
11/28/17 02:03 PM
11/28/17 02:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 200
Southern NY
MoneyJohn Offline
MoneyJohn  Offline
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 200
Southern NY
There is absolutely no expectation that you will give return gift. Just understand that they value your friendship enough that they remembered you while traveling and got you a gift.


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Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587692
11/28/17 03:42 PM
11/28/17 03:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,838
'Stralia
Shannow Online content
Shannow  Online Content
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 40,838
'Stralia
Going down to the dollar store and buying something to recompense them is poor form.

If you go somewhere as a family and see something nice, then feel free to get it for them.

About 10 years ago, the Japanese Engineer who designed the condensers at work, then worked his way up to the head of the Australian branch was retiring.

My management (in the day, long time ago), didn't see it as a big deal, but he wanted to visit HIS power station before returning to Japan. I arranged for the board room, and some sandwiches. Took him and his wife for a tour, then gave them company jackets and Akubras (bush hats).

I later heard through the grapevine back from Japan that stood him in great honour in the parent company and with his peers.

Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587772
11/28/17 05:08 PM
11/28/17 05:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,153
USA
Reddy45 Offline
Reddy45  Offline
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,153
USA
I'm ethnically Korean but was born and raised in the US (to parents who were born in SK).

You do not need to give back a gift. They were just bringing back something neat for your kids to have as a small way to experience Korea. I actually remember doing this myself when I was in grade school. We went to SK and I brought back some fancy pencils for my friends.

Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: MoneyJohn] #4587787
11/28/17 05:25 PM
11/28/17 05:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,345
Chicago,IL,USA
pandus13 Offline OP
pandus13  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,345
Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: MoneyJohn
There is absolutely no expectation that you will give return gift. Just understand that they value your friendship enough that they remembered you while traveling and got you a gift.

I think I will go with that!


16 Golf SportWagen
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Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: Reddy45] #4587789
11/28/17 05:31 PM
11/28/17 05:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,345
Chicago,IL,USA
pandus13 Offline OP
pandus13  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,345
Chicago,IL,USA
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
I'm ethnically Korean but was born and raised in the US (to parents who were born in SK).

hmm, 1/3 of the people in my building are from Korea (guessing SK).

Originally Posted By: Reddy45
... fancy pencils for my friends...

How did you know? Frozen and Minions?


16 Golf SportWagen
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Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13] #4587809
11/28/17 05:43 PM
11/28/17 05:43 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,153
USA
Reddy45 Offline
Reddy45  Offline
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,153
USA
Originally Posted By: pandus13
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
I'm ethnically Korean but was born and raised in the US (to parents who were born in SK).

hmm, 1/3 of the people in my building are from Korea (guessing SK).

Originally Posted By: Reddy45
... fancy pencils for my friends...

How did you know? Frozen and Minions?


The pencil thing must be a cultural thing because I had cousins who did the same. I mean it's a great gift for a student when you think about it..

Back then we didn't have Disney branded items.. it was mostly just really technical looking mechanical pencils or gel ink pens (back before gel ink became a common type in the USA). The gel ink pens were a hit, but being students we couldn't use them on homework.


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