Face masks history: Even before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Asian countries, such as Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia were already wearing masks; not only to protect themselves against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreaks but also as a culture. Western countries are now designing more masks to meet the urgent demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic, change perceptions towards mask-wearing, and encourage people to accept it. Conversely, mask-wearing in Asian countries is already a norm, a daily accessory, and not just fashion like in the West. This leads us to the different perceptions of face masks between Western and Asian countries.
The Different Perceptions of Masks – The West vs. AsiaFace masks in Western countries are associated with illness. In other words, individuals are only required to wear masks when they are sick. Western countries think of wearing masks as a villain, seeing it as an evil practice (Face masks history). On the contrary, the Asian countries accepted the wearing of face masks long before even the Covid-19 pandemic came. It’s more of a culture now than just protecting themselves from illnesses. Wearing face masks has become a civic duty and everyday necessity. Wearing face coverings in the West is a bit self-centric; to protect you as an individual, while in Asia, wearing face coverings focuses on protecting others around you. Below is a table summary of the differences in perception of face masks between the West and the Asian countries.