Saturday, February 16, 2008

Foochow Body Language

Many people may find the Foochows difficult to understand. we are interesting people actually. But if you can to study us closely, you may understand us better.

Body language as a form of communoication, has been of great interest to me ever since I was young. And having observed my fellow men for more than half a century, I have made the following conclusions and would like to share with you a little of what I know about Foochow Body Language. However if I have made any mistakes in my observations, the fault is all mine. So please look at them and perhaps you could also provide me with some feedback.

(Please also read Allan Pease' book on Body Language for comparison. It is a wealth of knowledge)

when I refer to "man", I am referring to both genders and I do apologise to all my feminist sisters. Some how I find it difficult to use the word "person".

Sticking out one's tongue means I don't believe you or you are talking nonsense or you are just being silly.

When a man slaps his own face - he is remorseful and is showing that he is very wrong . He is apologising.

When a man spits - he is showing that he is very upset and would not go on reasoning any more. This is a little rare nowadays. But it still happens in extreme or stressful cases.

When a man drops his trousers (very rare indeed but in the past it was quite common when all language failed him and when he was really angry) during an argument especially when he lost his temper(however, it was just an attempt to do so, and he would not go all the way). This shows extreme extreme anger.

when a man shows his bottom or point to his bottom and say "ne, ne, ne"- he is insulting you. This is very coarse among the educated today. But it was often done before. Instead a person may just exclaim, "My buttock lah!!" or " Ku Chiong!"

when a man points with and shakes his walking stick angrily - he is telling you that you must listen to him and that he is very angry with you.

when a man raises a hand and indicates he is to strike - he is giving a very stern warning that he might just want to beat you up.

When a man tries to calm another man down, and the later is still angry, he will shrug his shoulders and push the former away without looking at him. He will then walk away. This man cannot reason any more and would not like to discuss any more. He is very offended. He wants to save his face. Often the former will have to apologize directly or send a delegation to apologize.

When a man lifts a leg on to a chair - he is trying to relax and/or wait and see (sullenly) what you are going to do next. Sometimes this is considered a very rude body language.

When a man shows the middle finger - this is a very rude gesture, equivalent to the F word.

When a man putts his middle finger down your nose - this is the worst of insults he can give to you. You can punch him on the nose.

When a man slaps a friend's back happily - he is showing that he is extremely to meet up with you and that you two are good friends.

When two Foochow men walk arm in arm - they are happy and are best of friends. They are definitely not GAY. A greater gesture is when two men have arms over each others' shoulders to show they are blood brothers and the best of friends.

Foochow men are very warm hearted. When meeting a good friend in the morning he can straight away hold a friend's arm and take him into a coffee shop for breakfast. Very genuine. Or sometimes, when it is in the negative, he may want some help, like borrow some money or asking for a favour.

Shaking hands - politeness. Generally a very warm handshake reveals a warm character, a strong and good shake indicates a sincere person who has a lot of respect for others, a cold limp one indicates that this man does not realise your worth yet. In the past the Foochows loved shaking hands, as a legacy of Rev.Hoover. But today, fewer Foochows want to shake hands because of various reasons.

When a man looks at you and is seen to be closing one eye he is sizing you up or he is not sure who you are. He might be plotting against you.

A very confident Foochow man will have a strong eye contact with you. If a man looks down and starts kicking the floor, he has something on his mind and is not willing to share with you.

When a man gives you a slant look or a side way look, he has been viewing you negatively and might have said bad things about you prior to the meeting.

When two friends wink at each other, which is rather rare, they are passing a secret message telling each other not to mention their secret.

When a man twitches the side of his mouth and looking side ways he is indicating that he does not like you. Or you might have offended him previously.

When a man upturns his eyes he is indicating that you are a hopeless person or what you have just said is ridiculous.

When a man clears his throat he is thinking and is getting ready to say something important. Some people do this very obviously. Clearing the throat is like a speech clutch. It helps the Foochows to think before speaking and at the same time ensure that his voice is clear.

Foochows are fond of saying " Wai Ha!". It means that what he hears or sees is rather surprising.

Foochows are also fond of saying "Ah Siang Noh!" This means that something terrible has happened.

Many men slapping a table (nak toh ming) when they want to make a point, when they are angry or when no one listens to them.

When a man getts up from a chair he is done with the conversation andwould like to go.And if you would like him to stay, you can push him back to his chair. In olden days, the host would do this once or twice to show genuine hospitality.

In the olden days, when a man put his umbrella under his arm he was ready to go off from the group. He might do this angrily and you could see that. Like walking away in a huff and puff because he was not too happy with the discussion.

When a man stamps his foot it shows anger, irritation, frustration, remorse and impatience

Often both Foochow men and women stare at others to indicate curiosity,and sometimes surprise /shock. To many this is considered impolite and it makes people embarrassed,or self- conscious . A fight or two had broken out in during my school days between two racial groups because of this starring.

When a Foochow man says,"Shoo!" he is asking people to keep quiet. Sometimes he will put his forefinger perpendicular to his lips.

Perhap now it is quite rare, adults may pat the head of children to show affection;

For extreme compasion two men may embrace and one man may pat the grieving party's head to give comfort and consolation. It also shows affection. But this is becomeing very rare.

An older Foochow man may extend his hand towards a child or a girl,open palm,palm down, with all fingers crooked in a beckoning motion : beckoning some to come

"Shame on you!" (semi-joking gesture) Foochow is "Siew Leh"
Forefinger of one hand extended, tip touches one's own face several times quickly, going downwards; similar to scratching, but with the forefinger straight (usually with the remark "Shame on you!")

"I'm very full" (after a meal) This can be followed by belching too.
One hand open, lightly patting one's own stomach
Hand raised to throat, fingers extended, palm down (often with the remark "I'm full up to here")

Biting of one's fingernails (usually done by women but some men do it too)
Emotional stress, worried, doesn't know what to do

Wagging one's finger (forefinger of one hand raised, other fingers clasped, the raised forefinger is wagged from side to side)
Warning not to do something; indicating that what the other person is doing wrong

Shaking of head together with waving of both hands above the head
Very emphatic rejection of a proposal, idea, person; nonverbal way of saying a strong "No"

Positive : Winking (quick closing of one eye, generally with a smile and slight nod)
May show several feelings: understanding, approval, encouragement, trying to get across a message, solidarity

Touching or pointing to tip of one's own nose with raised forefinger
"It's me" "I'm the one" (To Westerners, the gesture would seem slightly funny) This is usually done when the people are known to each other well.

Using an open hand to cover one's mouth while speaking (generally used by older people) , sometimes even turning the back to others.
To show confidentiality and secrecy; sometimes no meaning

Using both hands (when one would be enough) in offering something to a visitor or another person - Respect

(When one's tea cup is being refilled by the host or hostess) putting one or both hands upright, palm open, beside the cup - "Thank you" When the visitor takes the cup away, he is genuine and does not want another cup.

Some people also indicates that they are about to leave when they finish drinking their tea. And they would say."Have to do definitely/"

When offering to pay for the bill, watch out for your friends' body language. A person who is very sincere in paying, would quickly push your money away and his wallet would be out in no time before the cashier. A person who is not sincere would hesitate and his hand would be easily pushed away by you. Sometimes everyone would want to pay the bill. The bill is usually settled by the person who most successfully pushes other hands away. A very sincere Foochow man would say he would pay the bill from the beginning of the gathering. He would say, " I will foot the bill today. Or today, you will all eat on my account."

2 memories:

blogger said...

But I feel funny, why Sarawak foochow love to look at other people's son or a young man? I found that especially by those who have niece, daughter and granddaughter. I found this very intruding. The same characteristics that some hakkas have. I know that foochows and hakkas have some common characterics but that should not come at the expense of other people's privacy! Such characteristics are not present in other subchinese races, frankly speaking. If I am want to look for a girl, I will not not go to that extent of peeping people around, because that I see as invasion of privacy! No offense=P

sarawakiana said...

I am not sure what you mean by "looking at other people's son
"? Do you mean that Foochows "spy" or send a detective to "investigate" some one's son?

A genuine prospective father-in-law would send a good match maker to ask for the hand of the young lady or young man concerned. This is not an invasion of privacy.

thank you for your interest.


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