4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

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Michael-liu
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註冊時間: 週五 4月 24, 2009 6:09 pm

4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Michael-liu »

Dear Friends,

This topic is inspired by the following Chinese article I read on Apple Daily.

https://tw.appledaily.com/forum/2021041 ... IK74MFPUI/

Session 1

Please note today's topic is focused on invasions of privacy by individuals, not by the government or corporations.

What is privacy?

Cambridge Dictionary=>
someone's right to keep their personal matters and relationships secret

Wikipedia=>
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively.

When something is private to a person, it usually means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them.

The concept of universal individual privacy is a modern concept primarily associated with Western culture, British and North American in particular, and remained virtually unknown in some cultures until recent times. Most cultures, however, recognize the ability of individuals to withhold certain parts of their personal information from wider society, such as closing the door to one's home.

Questions

1. I think the point of this Chinese article is the "boundary" (分寸) in social interactions, particularly with strangers.( If with friends, that is different situation) What is your opinion about this article? Do you agree or disagree with her points?

2. The author is a married woman without children. I think this is why she feels offended or annoyed when people ask whether she has kids or not. Do you agree? Why is "no kids" a sore spot(痛處) to this author? For men, when asked what personal questions, would men feel uncomfortable or annoyed?

3. Have you ever had similar experiences that strangers( no matter Taiwanese or not) asked you about personal questions you didn't want to answer?

Session 2

What makes some people so nosey
July 21, 2019 by Hanan Parvez

All of us have had to deal with nosey people at some point in our lives. Noseyness is when someone whom we don’t want to interfere in our life does so. This unsolicited interference often manifests as questions and comments relating to our personal matters such as our health, career, and relationships.

Think about how you feel when someone pokes their nose into your personal affairs. You feel violated and resentful. Someone who didn’t have permission to invade your privacy did so. These negative feelings motivate you to negatively evaluate the nosey person and avoid interacting with them in the future.

Nosey people lack social skills

The degree to which we share our personal stuff with others depends on how close we are to them. You may have no problems sharing the details of your life with your spouse, friends, siblings or parents but you feel that random stranger who commented on your weight had no right to do so.

“Why can’t they just mind their own business?”

“Don’t they have anything to do?”

We never say these things to people we’re close to even if they pass the exact same comments. It’s normal and expected of them to interfere in our lives.

Assuming nosey people have got nothing else to do in their lives is unlikely to be true. What’s more likely is that they have terrible social skills. They think they’re on a level with you where they can ask you about your personal stuff but they’re wrong.

They’ve misread or misunderstood your social signals. They don’t understand that people have boundaries. They don’t understand that people share their personal stuff with others selectively.

Often, if you give them negative feedback, letting them know that they’re not that close to you, they’ll recoil if they have brains. But some people so socially inept that no matter how many times you give them hints that they’re crossing the line, they just won’t understand.

Purpose of noseyness

Why are some people nosey in the first place?

The short answer is: they want information- information about you.

As social animals, we humans like to keep tabs on our peers. The primary reason for wanting to obtain information about other people is competition. People are nosey so that they can know how far you’ve come and where you’re going with your life. This helps them compare their own life with yours.

Again, being social animals, we are wired to evaluate our actions and measure our progress in relation to our peers. This is why the well-meaning, so-called wise people repeatedly advise: “Stop comparing yourself with other people”.

People can’t stop comparing themselves with other people. It’s a fact of human nature.

Noseyness takes this comparison to another level. Nosey individuals become so obsessed with comparing themselves to others that they make other people uncomfortable with their intrusions of privacy.

Noseyness arises from a place of insecurity. Those who’re not sure about the progress they’ve made in life will seek to re-assure themselves by being nosey with a desire to find out that others are behind too.

If nosey people do indeed find out that others are doing just as bad or worse than them, they feel good about themselves. On the contrary, if they find out that others are doing better than them, they feel crushed. You can almost sense the jealousy as they lower their voice and head in disappointment when you tell them about your progress.

Another purpose of noseyness is that it provides fodder for the gossipers. Some people derive their self-worth by being master gossipers in their circles. They want to know about your personal stuff so that they can later entertain their friends with the spicy news.

Lastly, by gaining knowledge about your plans, nosey people can get a chance to foil them. Competition.

Noseyness of relatives

If you’re unmarried, I’m sure you’ve got at least one uncle or aunt who’s particularly concerned about you getting married and having kids. You know, the one who’s always trying to hook you up with someone and believes you’ve reached the perfect age for marriage.

Why do relatives tend to partake in this behaviour? I’m yet to encounter a single person who doesn’t find this behaviour annoying and yet these relatives keep doing it as if it’s their God-given duty to have their kin married.

The answer lies in the inclusive fitness theory.

(Inclusive fitness)是指某個體的直接與非直接適應度(fitness)的總合。直接是指影響個體本身的適應度;非直接則是指影響個體在群體(社會)中其他同伴的適應度,血緣關係愈大,影響愈大。此概念類似於親屬選擇,但定義上較為寬鬆。

(親屬選擇:Kin selection)是演化生物學的研究之一,也是社會演化學上的基礎理論。指生物族群的基因頻率在不同世代之間的一種變化形式。而這種變化,至少是源自一些在血緣上親近的個體之間的互動。更進一步,則是個體對於其他族群成員的行為,以及對於族群之外生物的行為等等。

According to the theory, an individual can maximize their reproductive fitness by passing on as many of their genes to the next generation as possible. This can either be done directly (by them reproducing) or indirectly (encouraging their kin who share their genes to reproduce).

This is why your relatives care about your reproductive success. Your reproductive success contributes to their reproductive success. Since our parents and siblings are our closest kin (and share most of our genes), they care the most about our marriage aka reproductive success.

They show great interest in whom we get romantically involved with and provide suggestions pertaining to whom we should or shouldn’t commit to.

Friends do this too out of care even though they’re not genetically related to us but not to the same degree as relatives.

There’s a reason that the joke where an aunt tells a younger person “You’re next” at a wedding, and then the younger person says the same thing to her at a funeral, is so popular. It speaks to the frustrations and resentment that many young people feel for the noseyness of their relatives.

You must have noticed that it’s your mother who keeps tabs on the relationships of your cousins while your father doesn’t seem to give a damn. Research shows that women are more vigilant than men about the relationships of their relatives.

This is because women, unlike men, have limited opportunities for direct reproductive success throughout their lives. So by maximizing their indirect fitness through relatives, they maximize their reproductive fitness.

The more resources you invest in your relatives, the greater the chances of their (and your) reproductive success. Interestingly, studies have shown that women have stronger nepotistic tendencies than men.

This fits well with the notion that women would seek to maximize their indirect reproductive fitness.

What behaviours do you find nosey?

When we’re asked about our personal stuff by people we’re not close to, we perceive this behaviour as nosey. If you’re insecure this ‘personal stuff’, you’re more likely to find a behaviour nosey. It could be that the other person isn’t being so nosey after all but you see their behaviour as nosey because you’re insecure about your ‘personal stuff’.

For instance, you may have no problems disclosing your income to someone if you’re rich. But if you’re not rich, the question, “How much money do you make?” is seen by you as nosey.

Similarly, if you’re in great shape and someone asks you, “Have you lost weight?” you may gladly give them the details of your diet and workout regimen. When you’re struggling with controlling your weight, the exact same question by the exact same person becomes nosey.

Questions

1. Let's do an experiment. Ask your table members some personal affairs questions to see what questions they dont want to answer.

2. Do you agree more well-educated people are less likely to ask strangers personal questions?

3. Do you agree with the article that nosy people are psychologically insecure and like to compare their life with others?
最後由 Michael-liu 於 週四 4月 22, 2021 11:49 am 編輯,總共編輯了 14 次。
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Rock
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文章: 2013
註冊時間: 週三 10月 31, 2007 9:03 am

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Rock »

I read that Apple Daily article. Her opinion is interesting. And it's delivered in a bit of condescending air, which is also interesting. :?

What the writer mentioned is a conventional Taiwanese conversation. We know that most of time, it's not intended to be harmful, but rather friendly. She is Taiwanese, or was Taiwanese; she knows what's going on there. Even if she is bothered, she doesn't have to take it too seriously. Instead, she talks in a way like it's a crime or lacking of "international common sense" thing, which I find hard to appreciate.

When we talk about western culture, we think it's more open-minded. It's a good thing. But somehow this open-mindedness can be not so open if things are not going their way. Take this one for example, the Taiwanese pattern is I ask about your sons and daughters, and I expect you ask about mine, so we can have a talk and share some experiences about raising children and life. It's totally friendly. Even when we are strangers, it doesn't harm to have a heartful talk if you are really open-minded; not to mention you can always brush off this small talk with any excuse and without any feelings hurt. But then someone from the western industrial culture is pissed-off and says that it's my privacy and none of your business, so you should have the common sense not to ask about my kids in the first place. You are wrong and I am right. Period.

The first thing we read it is that some Taiwanese need more education, maybe go to Holland and live there for a few years to be more civilized and internationalized so they won't violate other's privacy. The second thing is, however, to tell the pissed-off ones to show some respect to a culture that they are not familiar with, or no more familiar with, before they really understand what the culture is.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Kooper
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註冊時間: 週三 4月 11, 2007 11:40 pm

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Kooper »

Hey Rock, you made a strong case against the author. I particularly agree with you on the condescending tone, be it subtle or tangible in the eye of the beholder, and the necessity of respecting or at least understanding local cultures. I also can sense the writer's unspoken position that European cultures are more civilized than Taiwanese ones and so we local residents should learn and follow suit. But you're getting too serious here, in a way that is up there with the author's. In a fight over a topic like this, it's usually the one who gets serious to lose while the one who stays humorous and sarcastic to win. :wink:
stephen185
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註冊時間: 週三 5月 30, 2007 8:23 pm

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 stephen185 »

Rock 寫:
週二 4月 20, 2021 1:52 pm
...
the Taiwanese pattern is I ask about your sons and daughters, and I expect you ask about mine, so we can have a talk and share some experiences about raising children and life. It's totally friendly.
...
I think it really depends on how you perceive the conversation. Is the stranger trying to pry into your personal life or he/she is just trying to have a friendly talk? Personally, I won't feel that much uncomfortable as the author, understanding that it's a way some people initiate a conversation with strangers here in Taiwan.
As a comparison, it would probably bother me much more if people sitting next to me on trains/airplanes keep talking about themselves all along the way...
Iris Wu
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註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Iris Wu »

Rock 寫:
週二 4月 20, 2021 1:52 pm
I read that Apple Daily article. Her opinion is interesting. And it's delivered in a bit of condescending air, which is also interesting. :? .....
I really like Rock’s comments. It is so well written; without hideous vocabulary and idioms, the thoughts are flowing so clearly and beautifully.

At first glance of the Chinese article, I was totally siding with our commentators here, feeling the tone superior, snobbish, and offensive. But for argument’s sake, let me play devil’s advocate here again.

Cultural traits evolve based upon time and people’s lifestyles. Today, we know almost none of our neighbors in the same apartment building, while in contrast, people chatted in the big courtyard in a remote village with their homes wide open half a century ago. The elements of privacy may have changed at a very fine grain.

Condemning the author a lack of empathy in cultural understanding and tolerance is reasonable based on the tone in this article, but to sense the new cultural traits in modern society is still necessary for improving our judgment in our daily greetings and conversation.
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Rock
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文章: 2013
註冊時間: 週三 10月 31, 2007 9:03 am

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Rock »

@Kooper,
Agree. I was kind of carried away and got too serious when I was writing that thing. It looks as if I was having a fight with that woman, which is totally silly. :cry:

@Stephen,
Agree, unless that one is a gorgeous lady, I suppose. Talking about that, I did have this experience on a flight to Hongkong years ago, a pretty woman sitting next to me... 8)

@Iris,
Partly agree. You guys are much better writers, I can hardly catch up with you. :lol:
But you are right, it's necessary to sense the new cultural traits in modern society in our daily greetings and conversation. I also feel uncomfortable when a stranger asks about my personal stuff.
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Michael-liu
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文章: 652
註冊時間: 週五 4月 24, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Michael-liu »

Rock 寫:
週六 4月 24, 2021 10:45 am

@Iris,
Partly agree. You guys are much better writers, I can hardly catch up with you. :lol:
But you are right, it's necessary to sense the new cultural traits in modern society in our daily greetings and conversation. I also feel uncomfortable when a stranger asks about my personal stuff.
If you also feel uncomfortable when a stranger asks about your personal stuff, then the author's reaction is totally understandable, particularly for a married woman without kids, which is a very sensitive matter to her.

Also, I think in her article, there is no words implying thoese people who asked her personal questions are poor-educated. She did not say that.
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Rock
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文章: 2013
註冊時間: 週三 10月 31, 2007 9:03 am

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Rock »

Yes, you're right, she didn't say that. As for the implications, it depends on how you read it, I guess.

And I can see that you're empathetic, you relate what she feels, that's very nice of you.

But to me, the condescension is there. I am probably wrong; people may see it differently. It would be an interesting discussion to see how people feel about it in our meeting today. You have chosen a great topic. It definitely will be a lot of fun. Good job la! :lol:
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
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Gloria Lo
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註冊時間: 週一 2月 04, 2008 7:51 am

Re: 4/24(Sat.) Taiwanese don't have the concept of privacy? (Host: Michael)

文章 Gloria Lo »

Attendees(17):
Kooper, Jerry, Howard, Holly, Shirley, Steve, Winston, Ellen, Gloria, Erica(newcomer), Jessica, David, Catherine, Jason, Ramesh, Jennia, Michael(Host) :lol:
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