Analysis Of The Film ' Saving Face, Hwei Lan Gao Or ' Ma '

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Introduction Less acculturated, non-English speaking, traditionalist Chinese Americans may conform fully and solidly to customary Chinese beliefs, norms, and values that could affect how they articulate their concerns and thoughts and the way they seek counseling services. In the film Saving Face, Hwei-Lan Gao or ‘Ma’ is the 48-year-old mother of a young surgeon, Wilhelmina ‘Wil’ Pang. ‘Ma’ is a traditional Chinese who does not speak English and ineptly acculturated to American culture. Her daughter Wil, on the other hand, is remarkably acculturated to the White lifestyle but still chooses to follow her Chinese traditions, such as taking care of her mother and respecting the Chinese practice of ‘arranged marriage’ out of filial piety.…show more content…
For instance, when Wil invited her African-American friend, Jay, to join them for dinner, ‘Ma’ showed aversion toward Jay’s presence and his eating habits, even telling Wil in their native language that Jay is ‘Black’ because he uses too much soy sauce. Another instance is when she visited a local video rental store and showed a tinge of embarrassment when she saw Asian pornographies on the shelves. These instances demonstrate her lack of knowledge or familiarity with the liberal and indulgent White culture. The second stage—cultural awareness—refers to the development of appreciation, understanding, and sensitivity to a foreign culture. This is normally characterized by intrinsic adjustments or changes in values, beliefs, and attitudes. Furthermore, sensitivity and awareness involve the attributes of flexibility, resilience, and openness that an individual develops with respect to others (Qian et al., 2011). At first, ‘Ma’ displays cultural unawareness, lacking understanding and sensitivity to American ways of life and values, particularly as regards sexual orientation or gender identity (blatantly rejecting her daughter’s sexuality) and respect for cultural diversity (displeasure toward her daughter’s friendship with an African American). The third stage—cultural sensitivity— refers to an understanding of cultural commonalities and dissimilarities, without attributing qualities to such cultural dissimilarities (e.g. right or wrong, superior or inferior)

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