Mark Salzmann 's Book "Iron And Silk" About Losing Face

947 words - 4 pages

Everyone has experienced losing face. I can remember as a kid, being caught in a lie and trying desperately to weasel my way out without looking stupid. There were times as an adult, I would deny having problems at my job, too worried of loosing creditability. In Mark Salzmann's book "Iron and Silk", he shows the Chinese culture and how important it is to keep face in front of a foreigner.Early in the book, Mark is introduced to Pan a marital arts expert. During he first encounter the reader can see that Pan is a strong and domineering instructor. The students follow every word he says. Mark can see their skill level is far beyond his. After doing a short routine, Mark is pulled aside by Pan. Pan tells Mark he can fix his wushu but if he fails it will be Pan who looses face. People will loose respect for the greatest martial arts expert who couldn't teach a foreigner.During one of the class discussions Mark had with his students, the topic of kissing was brought up. Mark wanted to know why public sighs of affection were so rare in China. Mark said the only time he had seen two Chinese people kissing was when a mother kissed her infant child. Children any older than five should not be kissed. The students explained that showing affection was just not done, it wasn't normal. At the end of class one student stayed, he confessed that he still kissed his children. Every night after they have gone to sleep he sneaks into their room to kiss them. The student could not admit to the entire class that he was different. Not only did Mark meet plenty of people who were concerned with loosing face, but the Chinese government was the same way.I think the best example of trying to keep face was when Mark killed a rat. Mark was in the middle of teaching when a rat fell on his desk, he quickly swatted it. The students told him he would receive a reward if he brought it to the Rat Collection Office. The office denied Mark the five cent reward sole on the fact he was a foreigner. The school denied there was a rat problem, so giving Mark the money would simply be admitting to the rat problem. The school would loose face and so would the guards at the collection office. It is amazing how far people will go in order not to admit their wrong.In Salzman's book he shows Chinese culture and how it affected him. Any other country would probably treat him the same. Try to look it's best. Everyone wants to look good. People have a hard time dealing with being wrong. "Iron and Silk" by Mark Salzman showed those feeling from a different cultural...

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