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A Secret War Instills a Secret Behavior

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Essay title: A Secret War Instills a Secret Behavior

A Secret War Instills a Secret Behavior

Head high, shoulders back, chests protruding and leading the way, these bodies strut confidently down the road. These people hold a face of high value. Others -- who carry an invisible rock on their shoulders and have eyes glued to the pavement -- either pace quickly to avoid anyone catching a glimpse, or saunter meticulously sluggish in hopes of going unnoticed. The blur of a fast-walker or the lack of detail in a barely animate object portrays a humiliating face value that these people prefer to be undetected. These two characteristics appear in both the American society and Asian society. "Saving face" means to avoid humiliation or embarrassment. It is a concept that both cultures share. Yet, the history and political structure of an Asian country, such as Laos, is different from America's. Even though "saving face" can carry different importance in these two societies, the concept is an essential behavior.

The American democratic government is run by its people. It stresses equality among the people, which leads to openness to differences of opinions. For Americans, the notion of being cautious to avoid embarrassment is secondary to being carefree in expressing an idea. With the freedom of speech, communication shapes American society to be open to acceptance. An American would rather humiliate his/herself as long as a message was conveyed than to restrain his/her expression. If a person is humiliated, he/she is more willing to accept it because he/she has the freedom to counter in a debate or discussion. "Saving face" deems unnecessary in the American culture, and as a result, the concept to save face is less understood by its people.

Unfortunately, Laos is deprived of such freedom. Its communist government shapes the country to communist ways. One core group of powerful officers run the country. The group does not yield to negotiations with civilians. The lack of communication between the government and its people mold the country to be less accepting of different opinions. The government is "saving face" by not accepting opinions of its people. If they do, one would believe that the government is not strong enough with its own regulations because they yielded to the suggestions from others. This would be viewed as losing power or value, essentially "losing face." The same behavior occurs with its civilians. The relation between the government and the people correlates to the smaller picture of one individual and another individual. Most will believe their ideals are right, and others are wrong. It is as pure as black and white. There is no room for gray areas. "Saving face" is a concept that is well understood and essentially very important to the Laotian culture.

Historically, America has a good record with wars: winning most, and stalemate in a couple. When it came to the first war they would lose, the Vietnam War, America felt the need to compensate for their loss. The result was the Secret War. During the Vietnam War, the Geneva Accords recognized

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