Losing Face

In Vietnam maintaining face is very important. Face is a personal attribute that represents one’s reputation, dignity, and / or social standing. People and companies can lose, earn, or give face to others. It’s because of the significance of face that I was really surprised when our My Son Ruins tour guide lost all face with us. After going through the ticket check station we got to the minibus area which would shuttle us up to the ruins. 1 minibus and 2 jeeps were waiting for our group of about 60 people. It was plain to see that 2 trips would be necessary to shuttle all of us up since the seating capacity of all 3 vehicles combined was less than 60. As the vehicles filled up there was what I thought one seat left on the jeep which the guide was signaling me towards. As I got closer it was clear to me that it was barely half a seat and I wasn’t going to fit but he kept motioning me towards it even though I was shaking my head and not moving towards it. He became more agitated and was now aggressively telling me to sit there. Finally I had enough of his attitude and told him sternly “I cannot fit”. He completely lost it and held a one way argument with me for the next 5 minutes in front of everyone even though I was telling him to just forget it and then to stop being a baby. He continued this behavior for the rest of the day. He could have saved himself by looking at the situation and realizing that it wasn’t necessary to cram as many people as possible on the jeep since it was going to have to come back anyway or by just acknowledging that I couldn’t fit in the half seat and leaving it at that. Instead, he chose to be really aggressive and infantile for the rest of the day.

Vietnam - Hoi An - My Son Ruins 2

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