“Spike Away”, an incredible invention by Siew Ming Cheng, would have changed my life if it had been available nearly 2 decades ago.

Personal space is an elusive concept in China. The “proximity bubble” is very different in America than it is in China.

But first things first: watch this video for placement and context. When you’re finished with the video, continue reading.

If you need more proof of personal space being invaded in China, check out this blog: Let China Show You What Crowded Really Means.

American anthropologist Edward T Hall is renowned for developing Proxemics—the study of how human beings react and behave in regards to personal space. Hall’s concept of a “personal reaction bubble” describes the various “invisible zones” that surround each and every one of us and who we’ll allow in each. Outside of a 3.6 m bubble is the “public space”, which is reserved for strangers; 1.2-3.6 m is the “social space” for new acquaintances; .45-1.2 m is the “personal space” for close friends and family; and inside .45 m is simply coined “intimate space” for significant others. On the whole, Hall’s “bubble” theory helps describe why strangers getting “too close for comfort” always seem to make for an awkward situation. However, there’s one major problem with this theory—its Western/American bias doesn’t take into consideration “bubble” concepts in other cultures, as is immediately obvious to most Western expats in China, where it seems the personal bubble is completely nonexistent. – article by Trey Archer

For more on “personal space”, watch this video:

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Have you ever felt like your personal space was invaded? Leave a comment and tell me when, where, and how you felt at the time.


Credit: Laughing Squid

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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