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#4587516 - 11/28/17 11:49 AM Asian concept of "Face"?
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: 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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#4587524 - 11/28/17 11:55 AM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
JTK Offline


Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 10559
Loc: 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?
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#4587526 - 11/28/17 11:58 AM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3970
Loc: 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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#4587553 - 11/28/17 12:21 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 14212
Loc: 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.


Edited by PandaBear (11/28/17 12:30 PM)
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#4587563 - 11/28/17 12:30 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
EdwardC Offline


Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 1862
Loc: 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).

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#4587568 - 11/28/17 12:34 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Is there any specific "Cultrual xxxxx meanings for Dummies" book available?
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#4587593 - 11/28/17 12:51 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
Alfred_B Offline


Registered: 05/12/15
Posts: 1968
Loc: 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.

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#4587602 - 11/28/17 01:03 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
MoneyJohn Offline


Registered: 03/01/12
Posts: 171
Loc: 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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#4587692 - 11/28/17 02:42 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39849
Loc: '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.

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#4587772 - 11/28/17 04:08 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2965
Loc: 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.

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#4587787 - 11/28/17 04:25 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: MoneyJohn]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: 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!
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#4587789 - 11/28/17 04:31 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: Reddy45]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: 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?
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#4587809 - 11/28/17 04:43 PM Re: Asian concept of "Face"? [Re: pandus13]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2965
Loc: 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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