I am reading an article about “tight and loose cultures”. The adjectives are so fitting!
I was riding the bus home yesterday. A middle-aged man all of a sudden walked to the front section of the bus, turned around and muttered something in dialect. There was a cute high-school-age “couple” standing where this man was. The young man went stiff upon hearing what the other man said, and said something back in lowered tone. The older one raised his voice and said, now in Mandarin, “Behave yourselves, you are in public!” Now I realized what he was angry about. The young man was stealing a kiss. That peck was obviously offensive enough for the bystander to walk away.
The two men’s voice went up. The driver repeatedly said, “Calm down and reason yourselves! It is not nice to fight in public, ” as he maneuvered the bus through the Friday traffic. When the bus stopped, the older one shouted, “Get off, you disgraceful, let our fists reason. You dare to talk back like that to me!” The young lady grabbed onto the arm of her companion, who was pulling himself toward the door.
The bus door closed. The man at the curb continued to shout, “Get off! Get off, you!”
The young lady closed her hands on the face of the young man and made him look away.
For the rest of the ride, they did not speak, nor did they stand as close.
I looked for Taiwan’s tightness score in the article but it was not there. China has a score of 7.9 whereas the U.S. has 5.1. What would it be like if the kiss happened in Pakistan (12.3) or Ukraine (1.6)? Nah, I know, it won’t happen in Pakistan.
P.S. Article: Differences Between Tight and Loose Cultures: A 33-Nation Study. Science, 27, May 2011: vol. 332 no.6033 1100-1104.