Chapter 27: I Don't Need Your Mianzi | Speaking of China

2 Responses

  1. danni
    danni June 7, 2010 at 1:24 am | | Reply

    I don’t think I will ever understand mianzi.
    Zhang reminds me of my mother-in-law. She works 7 days a week and through most public holidays. Her career has cost her a husband and she has become a stranger to her son. She has no real friends but business contacts, employees and their wives. She is bad tempered and lonely – i have seen this by living with her. Most nights she spends watching TV on her own. She only occasionally plays majiang with her employees and then i am sure it is because they dare not refuse her invitation. Yet, when you speak to her she always boasts of how much money she has earnt, expensive things she’s received or bought and places she’s been on business. Everything is so pretentious and she never has the funny little anecdotes to retell like my family would do. A meal with his family is so uncomfortable compared to with my own relaxed easy-going family. I really don’t envy her! I’ve tried to encourage her to find new hobbies and make friends to enrich her life and encourage her to come for meals with me and my boyfriend, for a change of scenery.
    I get the unwanted mianzi a lot when I go to her business banquets. Such contrived behaviour and obsence public displays of affluence. It’s always the fact that she speaks on my behalf that annoys me without really giving opportunity for me to get to know the other people. She’ll tell them what ‘her Danni’ studied, how young she is, how pretty she is (it is sickening to listen to and exhausting to always be modest) and even invites people to visit me in the UK. God forbid any of them ever take up that offer – I would only want the best of my Chinese friends to receive that sort of invitation!

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