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A Discussion about "Losing Face."


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I'm writing this post in response to a poster on another board. He wrote:

"Last night about 10.30 I went to McDonalds on Sukhumvit for a late dinner after driving down from Bangkok, After waiting for 15 mins to get the food it was given to me without comment, when i asked for the server if he could possibly say thank you, he responded with " I look your face, I see you in Pattaya, you are dead!" I thought that McDonalds had a strict code of conduct, Perhaps I was most offended when I called over the female manager, who looked at me and then walked away totally ignoring me.

I received a comment from my 10 year old in the back seat asking why they are so rude, I was absolutely speechless to answer.

I've been living in Pattaya & Bangkok for the last 8 years and accept most things as culture differences but this is ridiculous.

If anyone knows the contact address of the head office of McDonalds, I would like to fill them in on this shocking experience.

"

 

Now some might argue the Thai "lost face" which means he may have felt put down or humbled by someone else in some form or another. What is this "Losing Face" anyway. It must be one of the biggest con tricks in the world. I've never seen a Thai hold back on telling another what they think of them! I've spoken to Thais about this and I'm not even sure they subscribe to it. How about those girls who get tattoos on their pussies? So much for the question of "face."

 

So how would you describe it and do you adhere to this in your dealings with Thais? I don't at all. I tell it like it is and I don't mind getting pissed off when I want their attention. It works. To me, that's the bottom line. I don't care who's feelings get hurt or who "loses face" in the process.

 

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I've been given the boot from this website due to my criminal past in Canada,being a conman & acting like a complete cunt on this forum!

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  • 2 months later...

Working in MacDonald’s is quite a prestigious job here. I guess this jumped up little fart thought that you where just too inferior.

 

I find that losing face is used regularly as an excuse for incompetence. For example even if the product or service is bad the thais wont do anything about it because they don’t want to offend their superiors.

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They can be just lazy fucks believe me. The have no concept of responcibilty or consequence.

They can't see outside the square so to speak. They don't like change as it may mean work. But they fucking fail to see that it may mean less work. I deal with Chief Engineers at 5 star resorts and believe me it is the same at every level.

That is why they are the worlds best copiers, they are to fucking lazy to come up with anything theirselves. Come on guys, you can't tell me that the TBG's have a hard job. Yes it can be hard on the pussy but is it hard work. I would do it any day if I had a pussy. Unfortunatley I only pay to get it. :Feedback:

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. "Hari Om Tat Sat"

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Takes all kinds to make a world. it'd be a pretty boring place if everybody was the same. Relax into Thailand, let it wash over you, that's what I do. Seems to work.

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Takes all kinds to make a world. it'd be a pretty boring place if everybody was the same. Relax into Thailand, let it wash over you, that's what I do. Seems to work.

 

I generally do to. Sometimes they just get to you though. Fucking frustrating at times. On the whole though, I would rather be here.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. "Hari Om Tat Sat"

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The Face thing is frustrating and at times stupid but it's not going to go away any time soon. I find it best just to play a long, don't raise your voice or get mad and find a clever way to point out when someone did something wrong without implying it's they who made a mistake. To many this may seem like a cope out but TIT, not the west if you want to have a chill time those are the rules.

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No sure the mac's thing was to do with face?

 

I just seems mac's and pizza hut on the beach road have a real attitude problem.

 

I thought us brits had taken an american concept:

 

Shite food served quickly with a smile

and turned it into shocking food served slowly with a scowl.

 

But the macs and pizza hut on beach road make us look good.

I've never seen service so slow or resentfull in my life.

 

Never had a problem with Burger king or subway.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I'm writing this post in response to a poster on another board. He wrote:

"Last night about 10.30 I went to McDonalds on Sukhumvit for a late dinner after driving down from Bangkok, After waiting for 15 mins to get the food it was given to me without comment, when i asked for the server if he could possibly say thank you, he responded with " I look your face, I see you in Pattaya, you are dead!" I thought that McDonalds had a strict code of conduct, Perhaps I was most offended when I called over the female manager, who looked at me and then walked away totally ignoring me.

I received a comment from my 10 year old in the back seat asking why they are so rude, I was absolutely speechless to answer.

I've been living in Pattaya & Bangkok for the last 8 years and accept most things as culture differences but this is ridiculous.

If anyone knows the contact address of the head office of McDonalds, I would like to fill them in on this shocking experience.

"

 

Now some might argue the Thai "lost face" which means he may have felt put down or humbled by someone else in some form or another. What is this "Losing Face" anyway. It must be one of the biggest con tricks in the world. I've never seen a Thai hold back on telling another what they think of them! I've spoken to Thais about this and I'm not even sure they subscribe to it. How about those girls who get tattoos on their pussies? So much for the question of "face."

 

So how would you describe it and do you adhere to this in your dealings with Thais? I don't at all. I tell it like it is and I don't mind getting pissed off when I want their attention. It works. To me, that's the bottom line. I don't care who's feelings get hurt or who "loses face" in the process.

 

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I think Mr Macdonald man might have mistaken you for me as 4 weeks ago i was made to leave Pattaya looking down the barrel of a gun, this was not too long after the 2 Russian girls got popped on the beach!

 

Losing face? the girl i was this night mixed a kinda of clora form whilst in the bathroom and then proceded to give me a face massage to which i woke up 12 hours later with also a needle mark in my arm. When i went to her bar to confront what had happened and not knowing what the hell they injected me with she clamed to know nothing when i pushed the issue with the owner i was given the smiles laughter and said leave now for your own good. Later that night 4 Thai's with guns came to my apartment and said leave or die Hmmmmmmmmmm tough choice!

 

Thought about the police but really?

 

So sorry to bang on but if your tall dark and handsome???? maybe they think it was me!

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  • 5 weeks later...

read this same report about 1 year ago word for word on another thread over active imagination i think :GiveBeer1:

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  • 1 month later...

No Shanks,

 

Travel all that way ,so you can eat Maccas ....No way Charlie. When Im on the run I eat at the street vendors, very cheap , very fresh and very quick..

 

Also Whats up with those guys that travel all the way to thailand and have an english style breakfast ????

 

Oh yeh , on the subject of losing face , fuck knows whats up with that. Im there on holiday and when I get the shits I just take it out by giving little Ms BG an extra hard pounding...

"You only get two pieces of ass in your life. Your first and your last." Everything in between is extra gravy and I love extra gravy.

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So how would you describe it and do you adhere to this in your dealings with Thais? I don't at all. I tell it like it is and I don't mind getting pissed off when I want their attention. It works. To me, that's the bottom line. I don't care who's feelings get hurt or who "loses face" in the process.

 

The concept of "face" taken from Stickman:

 

In Thailand there is often a rule or a way that things get done - and almost everyone (but not foreigners) knows it! The fact that most people do something a certain way is probably because they quite simply aren't encouraged to try and think outside of the square and do it differently. You have to be careful because if you question others, someone may lose face - and you really do not want to be responsible for that! This can be rather frustrating at times. There is not a lot in the way of challenging the way that things are done and trying to do them "better". This means that when mistakes are made, or when a system is being used that is not entirely efficient, it will in all likelihood continue to be conducted in that manner and improvement or change will be very, very difficult. Foreigners unwittingly stray from the rules every day. A classic example of this is in McDonalds where I will ask for an iced coffee without ice and you will get some mighty strange looks from the attendant. Iced coffee without ice? Is he crazy? Fortunately, Thais who have been educated overseas or have had exposure to foreigners seem to realise that some people do things a little differently. Actually, I have noticed things changing a lot and I guess it is because there are more and more foreigners in Thailand these days, that is more and more people doing things differently.

Sometimes we have to remember Stickman's little rule: For foreigners two plus two often feels like it equals three! Don't try and think about it too much because that's the way it is. As foreigners living and working in the Kingdom, we do have to remember that Thailand is not our country and that we are here as guests, often uninvited guests! While some aspects of life in Thailand can be frustrating, try to look in the bright side and at all of the positives, of which there are so many! My advice is to just get on with things and try not to let the little things bother you too much. That really is one of the tricks to enjoying a happy life in Thailand. If you are the type who sweats the small stuff, you might struggle.

Loosely related to this is the predominantly Asian notion of "face". Face plays a big part in life in Asia and cannot be underestimated. Every effort should be made to understand the issue, and how to operate in such a way as to not cause others to lose face. Face is sort of like one's reputation or image and concerns one's demeanour, their way of doing things and indeed their very success in life. It concerns so many things from the clothes that one wears, to the way that one goes about their daily routine right through to job and possessions. Someone with a lot of gold jewellery gains face because the gold shows that they have been successful in one way or another - maybe they had a job that gave them enough income to buy the gold in the first place or perhaps they have a wealthy boyfriend who lavishes them with gold jewellery. Why do you think many folks in Thailand openly wear their mobile phone (or phones!) on their belt or outside the body where they can be seen? Everyone can see that they have this expensive device and they gain face! Contrast this with a poor farmer whose clothes are old and less fashionable. This fellow will potentially lose face, or at least not be looked at favourably, due to his presentation and his perceived position in society.

Back in my homeland, I like the fact that I can go out and wear pretty much anything. People will not pass judgment on me. This is one thing I prefer about my own country over Thailand, though even back there, one does not want to look too much like a homeboy for fear of being negatively stereotyped!

When a Thai makes a mistake or does something wrong and this is pointed out to them or perhaps worse still, others are made aware of it, the Thai who made the mistake loses face. This can in fact be quite hurtful to a Thai and if a Thai loses face badly enough, there is no knowing how they may respond, and quite frankly, there is no limit to what they might do.

I am of the opinion that this can become a problem in the workplace. Someone makes a mistake but the error is not pointed out. So, as the error has not been brought to their attention, they continue to behave / do things in that manner and the mistake continues to be made again and again. This inhibits one's ability to improve, develop and make progress. In that way, face can be detrimental.

You can however use the concept of face to your own advantage. Praising someone in front of their friends / colleagues / peers will make them gain face and you will find that they may suddenly become more helpful and / or more receptive towards you. If someone is being unhelpful or not providing the level of service that you require or expect, rather than complain as you may in the West, consider complimenting them on something that is positive about themselves and you may find that the level of service increases! I don't like pushing Western values and the way of thinking upon those within Thailand, but one cannot help but wonder if face can hold things back. Certainly, as Western investors continue to invest in Thailand, many of these investors will struggle to accept this. The issue of face is a big one and you need be aware of it.

Another way to look at face, or the way that many Thais may look at it, is that they want people to view them in a positive manner, and they want to be seen as good people. To a small number of Thai people, they may be more interested in being seen to be a good person than actually being a good person. Contrast this with most people who are more likely to genuinely want to be a good person and less concerned (though still concerned somewhat) with what others think of them.

In Thailand, remember that things may happen in Thai time. Arrange to meet someone at a certain time and they may well arrive quite late - sometimes as much as an hour or more - don't be too surprised because Thais operate on this concept of Thai time which basically means, they'll turn up when they are ready. I have got to say that for me, frankly, I don't like it nor I do I accept it. I always tell Thai friends that I may be meeting that for me, this is totally unacceptable for them to be so late. Some people may find it shocking that someone would mention this, but it does mean that they are almost always on time. Generally speaking, folks from the higher end of society are far more punctual than those from the lower socio economic sector. Hardly PC to say this but hey, in my experience that is how it is!

The Thais are a friendly bunch and will charm all but the most cynical and negative foreigners. But everyone has their limits and you don't want to upset a Thai. If pushed too far, some Thais may not just lose their temper, but go absolutely berserk. My theory as to why this happens is due to the concept of remaining calm at all times despite what is happening around you. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of this in principle and it has got to be a good thing. Dare I say it though, I think we all need some sort of outlet for our frustration and anger at times and this concept denies this much needed outlet. It seems that some folks have all of this pent up anger and if they flip, good God, they have the potential to go crazy!

Be very, very wary if you get into an altercation with a Thai. Unless you have some military training, are a martial artist or are armed, they will likely kick your butt good and proper. And be aware that if there is an altercation involving a foreigner and a Thai, the average Thai passing by will often side with his compatriot, notwithstanding that they not even know what the dispute / argument / fight is about. A colleague of mine once said "If you get into a fight with a Thai, you are fighting all 65 million of them". However, don't read too much into this paragraph as you are very unlikely to ever have any such problems unless you are the type of person who attracts trouble.

The average Thai deplores violence as much as the average Westerner. I've heard it said that Westerners should avoid Thais from the lower classes who have had a few drinks but my experience is quite the opposite and that these people are very hospitable and quite a laugh. Hey, if nothing else it is a great way to practice your Thai language skills! Please do consider that most altercations Westerners are involved in occur late at night, usually after midnight, and involve alcohol. They often originate in the naughty nightlife areas so if you avoid these areas you should be just fine.

A lot of foreigners living in Thailand seem to have a love / hate relationship with Thailand and the Thai people. There are all sorts of reasons for this. Many Westerners get frustrated at the amount they put in to Thailand, both in terms of investment and in terms of effort, but are then given very little in the way of rights. There is a very real feeling that Western residents of Thailand, even long-termers, those people who have been here for many, many years, that we are no more than long-term tourists. We cannot buy land. We must always go and pout our hand out for a new visa every year. We have to pay more to enter national parks and to buy various products and services and we are so often made to feel that we are nothing more than walking ATM machines. It is true that Westerners relocating to Thailand will never be afforded the same rights as Thai citizens. It is no use complaining about it as that is the way it is. I simply recommend that you deal with it. That works for me.

Not that different from this feeling that some people get that we are welcomed for out money, and only our money, is that it is very unlikely that anyone will hit you over the head with a piece of wood, or stick a knife into your ribs and demand your money and valuables. That said, local con men have no qualms about tricking it out of you, or telling you downright lies to get their hands on your hard-earned. The belief seems to be that if you were silly enough to give it up then you deserved it - even if you were cheated!

A few examples:

- A friend had the misfortune to be in police custody. A policeman asked where the fellow came from and my friend replied New Zealand. The policeman then started going on about how he would love to go to NZ and could my friend help him with 20,000 baht for the ticket. This simple request was turned down and was not accompanied by any bribe - like hell the policeman wanted to go to NZ!

- Another friend went out with a work colleague to a restaurant. The bill was modest - less than 300 baht. The Thai colleague who was older, more senior in the company and probably better-paid insisted he had no money even though my friend had seen a few thousand baht in the fellow's wallet earlier that evening! This even goes against the Thai system of the oldest / most senior person picking up the tab. The fact that no other Thai saw the manager essentially shirking responsibility for the bill meant that he didn't lose face. Curious.

- I have heard of some people who have asked their farang friends for a loan for this or that but never paid the money back - in fact they probably never had any intention of paying it back in the first place. I hate to say it but loaning money in Thailand - to a Thai OR a Westerner - should be seen as giving a gift, so only give it if you can afford to, and are prepared to lose it.

This is where another important concept needs to be mentioned. A lot of Westerners do give the Thais grief about this and that, but I have found the average Westerner in Thailand to be no better, nor no worse. Thailand doesn't always attract the best of the West - and that is being polite.

I have always thought that the Thais are a wonderful race of people, so friendly and gracious as hosts, but that money has this nasty habit of marring some. This is easily overcome by not flashing a lot of money around, not disclosing your financial situation and simply not getting into discussions on the subject of money or income. Downplay any conversation that swings your way and concerns money, income or assets, especially money earned in Thailand. I admit that it can't be easy for locals who work hard all of their life for a relatively low salary and see foreigners coming to their country earning what really can seem to them to be obscene amounts of money. The highest paid foreigners earning as much in a month as a Thai doing menial work might earn over their entire life! Unfortunately, money can, at times, buy respect, and that is a hard pill for many Westerners to swallow. Yep, it is those with the most money and the most toys, the most gold and the most Mercedes Benzes who get the most respect.

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We all know good and bad service. This employee needs a reality check and I suggest you follow it up with head office. But do not expect he will learn as assume the wages are shit and he will move on.

 

Recently while in BKK a light bulb exploded above our table while having dinner in a music bar/restaurant. Glass landed on our table and I assumed in our food and drinks (It was all over the table - luckily nobody was injured). The waiters came over and cleaned up and I asked for replacements (food and drinks). I was waiting about 10 mins enjoying the music but no food or drinks arrived.

 

I asked to speak with the Manager and was advised that it was our fault that the bulb exploded (WTF). We were told that there would be no replacements coming. I told him that I was not paying. He said he would call the Police (the Thais seem to think we are afraid of the Police). I said call them. After another 10mins sitting there without drinks, I decided to leave. It was at this point he realised that I was not going to accept poor service. I left and never paid (Bill about 700b - we had just sat down before buld explored - I had one mouthful of food).

 

I just remained calm and you should have seen his "face" as we (four people) walked out of the restaurant. (Priceless)

Edited by Daryle

Daryle

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It fascinates me how the hotels in Thailand and elsewhere to me seems very well managed and operated. I enjoy a stay in a hotel in Asia and Thailand more than in the West. The rooms are bigger and there is generally more staff. These two points are probably donw to lower costs I know, but there must be processes defined and procedures in place which the operation is managed by and the staff has to follow in order to successfully run a hotel with 100s of rooms and for me not to generally notice any shortcommings.

I have often wondered if the big hotels, lets say 4 star and up employ western managers or whether the issue face and thai inefficiency in some contexts are an unfair myth?

 

Anyone in the hotel business around here?

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  • 2 months later...

I think the main thing is to never lose your temper. I've found if I find the humor in the situation, that it will work out, no matter how difficult it may seem. In the US, we have something called "heightened anxiety" that is a trait we use when we are not given what we want. We kind of "blow the situation up" so that our needs are seen. In Thailand, I think you do just the opposite, you repeat your needs, over and over, in a lesser and humorous way so that you get what you need.

 

As far as hotels, I've seen mainly foreigners managine hotels. Indonesians, Indians, Malaysians, English, Australian, American...usually hotel professionals. THere are probably many Thais that have worked their way up the ladder too.

 

All the best,

 

jH

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