SINGAPORE (June 11): The group wandered into the meeting room and then sat in random seats on both sides of the long double-sided table. When the Chinese counterparts arrived, there was utter confusion because the scatter of seating told them nothing about the delegation of foreigners. It was not a good start to the meeting because face had already been lost and the Western delegation was at an immediate disadvantage.
Face is your standing and reputation in the community, among friends and with strangers. It is all-pervasive and a constant concern in China.
Face is about respect and sincerity. Face without sincerity is a falsehood, and this falseness is quickly unmasked by people who have spent a lifetime assessing character as a foundation of survival. Chinese friends talk of people having a good heart. This is not a cliché. It is an assessment of sincerity.