Chinese and family problems?

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Chinese and family problems?

Postby rowland » 11 Jun 2012, 08:38

I won't get out of joint if the mods delete this, but don't fault me for trying. This is something that's nagged at me for literally years. An episode during my recent visit to Taipei has brough it to the fore.

My belief, based on several encounters, is this: when Chinese have family problems, they absolutely cannot confide in other Chinese. In the US, they spill their guts to someone like me. In Taiwan... what?

In my six days in northern Taiwan, I had two encounters with down-and-outers. One was the standard impertinent beggar. Give him your pocket change and he goes away. The other didn't ask for money; he just wanted to talk to somebody. He singled me out because I was obviously foreign. His English was very limited, and my Mandarin was very limited, and he was drunk. All I could make out was he felt his father had let him down somehow.

Is this common? Was it just a fluke? Taiwan seems to me a very modern, prosperous and westernized country. Chinatown in Boston is more alien than Taipei. But, less than a week and I run into a Chinese guy who's gone completely to pieces due to family problems, and is afraid to talk to other Chinese about it.

I need a basis of comparison.
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Re: Chinese and family problems?

Postby Hartzell » 16 Jun 2012, 21:06

And your point is . . . . . . . ?
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Re: Chinese and family problems?

Postby jill2032 » 18 Jun 2012, 12:06

The answer is yes. Asia, especially north east asia, where had influenced by confucianism, would have this phenomenon. There's a Chinese axiom: 家醜不可外揚. Literally means you shouldn't tell anyone of something bad about your family. If you still can't get the meaning, search by goole. It is an axiom commonly used. Although Taiwan is very modernized, in some respect, it is still very traditional. Some wives of famous husbands would talk about their marriage and relationship in a TV program, but in our social contex, it is deemed as unbecoming, even if they are saying something good. Furthermore, in sinophone culture, problem involving family relationship is more complicated than the cultural outsiders can imagine. Sometimes, talking with my foreign friends about family problems, I usually feel that they don't really get in the situation.
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