Critical Observations about East Asian Mentality and Culture
By Winston Wu
- A Taiwanese American Freethinker
“Judgment is either to confuse someone else’s unconscious behavior with who they are or to project your own unconsciousness onto another person and mistake that for who they are.”
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, page 133
"When you judge someone, all you accomplish is to label yourself as one who judges."
Wayne Dyer, The
Power of Intention
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
– A famous quote by Albert Einstein, contrary to the East Asian mentality that deems imagination to be impractical, idle, and worthless
"You're probably the most atypical Asian male I've ever met."
- What an old Scottish traveler who's been to nearly a hundred countries told Winston Wu.
"Most Asians don't think for themselves. They simply follow the pack. You are one of the exceptions."
“Winston, you are a White man trapped in an Asian man's body. All the characteristics I associate with Asian men seem to be the opposite of you. You do not do what society tells you to do. You do not work hard just for the sake of working hard. You find White women attractive.”
“As far as you being a banana – a white man trapped in an Asian body - I would like to qualify that you are not an American white man inside an Asian body but a European Existentialist - a Frenchman,
Italian or Spaniard trapped in an Asian body. You are certainly not a modern Anglo-Saxon trapped in it.”
This is perhaps the most accurate and truthful treatise on the stiff repressed closed non-flowing stern East Asian Mentality that you will ever read. By "East Asian" I am specifically referring to people from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, not the more open relaxed Filipinos, Malaysians or Indonesians. Asia is a big continent, so I just wanted to clarify that first. No one else has the guts to say the truth the way I do. All the others cater to the politically correct mainstream. They say only polite noncontroversial things about every culture, like the Travel Channel does, such as "Oh everything was so wonderful! The culture is amazing. The people were so friendly. The food was so good!" Blah blah blah.
No one has the guts to be honest anymore, cause the mainstream world is all about CENSORSHIP, CENSORSHIP, CENSORSHIP! You are only allowed to say and think what you are programmed to, not the way things ACTUALLY ARE. How sad.
Well to the matrix controllers I say F
you. TRUTH is my passion, not the FEAR of condemnation and
ostracization I'll received for being honest and speaking the most
obvious truths. To me, a society where truth is taboo is F-ed up! Why
is truth such a taboo? !
!Am I the only sane person left in the world???
My name is Winston Wu. I am an ABC
(American Born Chinese) and a Taiwanese American who grew up in
This article critically describes the Confucian East Asian characteristics of repression, inhibition, stiffness, strictness, conservativism, solemness, workaholic lifestyle, narrow minded, rigid, insular world view, and judgmental black/white thinking. Not all foreigners and outsiders see these traits though, because of the façade Orientals put on in front of them as gentle, polite, giving, and humble people, which by the way, is not at all the face they show their own kind. But many do.
Now you might think it’s odd, immoral or even hypocritical that an Asian American would write something criticizing his own ethnical background and heritage. But you gotta understand that I grew up with a Western mindset and am a writer with a natural depth of insight and observations who tells it as it is. Being direct, straightforward and honest, I've never been into political correctness nor do I have an Asian need to "save face". To me, truth and freedom of mind are more important than "saving face" or pretending something to please others and get along with them. I do not even really identify myself with a certain race, hence there is no damage to my ego in making any critical comments about Asians. Plus I have more of a European (Spanish, Italian) soul and mentality anyway, so I am very different from normal Taiwanese people. In Europe, I have even been described as “probably the most atypical Asian male I’ve ever met” by an old well-traveled Scottish man who had been to nearly a hundred countries, after he saw how open-minded, insightful, and philosophical I was about so many subjects. See here for an exposition of 10 unique accomplishments about me.
Unlike the typical Asian who is a workaholic, obedient, career-minded, conformist, closed-minded, judgmental, materialistic, rigid thinker who is unable to think “outside the box”, I am the antithesis - a Renaissance man, eclectic, free-spirit, free-thinker, philosopher, writer, actor, traveler, existentialist, adventurer, spiritualist, an old soul, and lover of beauty, pleasure and women.
Unlike most Asians who simply follow the pack and don't think for themselves, I do. Whereas most of them are rigid conformists, I am a freethinker and freespirit, which sometimes makes some Asians uncomfortable around me. Also, they believe that the purpose of life is to be a virtuous workaholic, while I believe that the purpose of life is to enjoy it and live to the fullest. Thus, me and typical Asians have some intrinsic differences.
One of my website fans observed the following about me: “Winston, you are a White man trapped in an Asian man's body. All the characteristics I associate with Asian men seem to be the opposite of you. You do not do what society tells you to do. You do not work hard just for the sake of working hard. You find White women attractive.” And my cultural advisor added about me being a “banana” (white man in asian body): “Yeah, but you are also not a redneck type white man. You are more of a European existentialist.”
Like passionate European males, I am a blend of traits. Though I am wild, passionate, free-spirited, sensual, romantic, and feeling, I am also intellectual, shrewd, insightful, cerebral, organized, and practical as well. Such a blend makes me more like a European or Latin than American or Asian.
Since my early days, I’ve shown a propensity to go “against the grain” and think on my own. For instance, during school, when all the other students judged their achievements by their grades (especially Asian students), I choose not to attach my self-worth to my grades and saw no logical reason to. Just because society, the school, or my parents told me to was not a good enough reason for me to believe that grades determined my status or self-worth. I had a far deeper sense of self beyond such shallowness. Thus, even when I got bad grades such as D’s and F’s, they would never really affected me. I also deviated from my parents’ Buddhist religion at an early age, becoming a born again Christian instead, unlike most people who stick with the religion of their family their whole life, never questioning it. And when I was 14, I debated my church Youth Pastor on doctrinal issues (which was difficult because though I knew my subject, he had a commanding presence while I was shy and timid, so I felt intimidated and couldn’t get my point across properly; today though, I’d cream his ass).
If you wish to know more about me and my background, see these About Me links.
Let's begin now.
Note: Since my ethnic background is Taiwanese, most of the examples given here are Taiwanese-related, though they may apply to other East Asian cultures as well, such as Japanese and Koreans. What I say here does NOT apply only to the older generation, but to the younger one as well. In fact, believe it or not, if you go to Taiwan, you will find that the elderly are far more open and easy about talking to strangers than the young people are, who are extremely stuck up and cliquish. It's a world of difference that is surprising cause you'd think that younger people would be more open, but in East Asian cultures it's the reverse.
Note: If you are reading this and happen to be one of those politically correct people who are religiously against defining or putting labels on others, then click here. Understand that observing or defining patterns in others is NOT generalizing or stereotyping. For example, if eight X’s and two O’s fall into a grid, one should have the right and freedom to call it like it is, rather than pretend that the X’s and O’s are equal or that no pattern exists, just to appease your beliefs against labeling others. I do not claim absolutes in any of my writing, and acknowledge that every general rule has exceptions.
Note: Please do not accuse me of generalizing. Over 99 percent of Taiwanese people are pure conformists and followers who strive to be ALIKE, not different. Therefore, it is logical and accurate to generalize them since they already “generalize themselves” by conforming to set societal standards.
Whenever I am around Taiwanese people, I immediately notice how stiff, closed and indirect they are. There is no eye contact at all. No one talks to you. There is nothing open or free flowing about them at all, period. Even a rusted bolt is less stiff than they are. Seriously. This stiffness creates a negative repressed vibe in the Taiwanese environment that makes me feel creepy cause I can't even be my natural self around them. (I tend to be sensitive to energies and absorb my environment). It makes holding a conversation with them very awkward and difficult, even though I speak their language. It's not about language. It's about them being on a toally DIFFERENT frequency, tempo, wavelength and rhythm that is hard to connect with. Words can't really describe what I mean (though I'm doing my best).
They simply have a very closed fundamental nature to the core (which explains why Taiwanese who go to America usually report the US as being "more open"). In fact, I even got the sense that having desires was not allowed in this society (yes it's that bad) and that acknowledging them in any way was akin to cussing during a church ceremony. Add to this the fact that Taiwanese girls and women act frigid, prudish, and conservative to the nth degree, and you've got a total nightmare and frozen wasteland for the horny guy who likes action and to get laid with beautiful hot women. In fact, Taiwanese women are not only the most anti-sex, anti-sensual females I've ever met, but they do not even like to touch anyone or even shake hands. The vibe they carry in their posture, demeanor and body language is extremely frigid in every way as well, more than words can describe. The fact that Taiwanese women are very prudish and frigid is one of those things that's as obvious as the blue sky but taboo to complain about or even discuss.
can't even begin to imagine what Hugh Heffner would do if he were here.
It would probably be a total nightmare to him.
Imagine him being surrounded by gorgeous Taiwanese playboy
bunnies who won't even touch him or shake his hand. lol Sure
the high end hotels here have working girls, but they usually run at
several hundred dollars! Either way, this is NOT the place to
get laid. I can't even understand how this country's
population reproduces since it is so anti-sex to the point of not even
acknowledging the very existence of sex. Seriously.
In fact, just trying to meet girls here is a nightmare, for
they seem very uncomfortable and frightened toward strangers.
I can't even begin to imagine what Hugh Heffner would do if he were here. It would probably be a total nightmare to him. Imagine him being surrounded by gorgeous Taiwanese playboy bunnies who won't even touch him or shake his hand. lol Sure the high end hotels here have working girls, but they usually run at several hundred dollars! Either way, this is NOT the place to get laid. I can't even understand how this country's population reproduces since it is so anti-sex to the point of not even acknowledging the very existence of sex. Seriously. In fact, just trying to meet girls here is a nightmare, for they seem very uncomfortable and frightened toward strangers.
spite of all this, the Taiwanese nature and soul is also benevolent,
good-natured, gentle, kind, and generous. They also have a
very strong sense of conscience, duty and obligation, which is why it
is rare for them to defy authority. They are conformists by
nature. That's why I can generalize about them with accuracy
since their society does not promote individuality or independence, but
duty and conformity, which almost everyone follows, or at least
spite of all this, the Taiwanese nature and soul is also benevolent,
good-natured, gentle, kind, and generous. They also have a
very strong sense of conscience, duty and obligation, which is why it
is rare for them to defy authority. They are conformists by
nature. That's why I can generalize about them with accuracy
since their society does not promote individuality or independence, but
duty and conformity, which almost everyone follows, or at least
What's shocking is that only one hour away by plane, is the Philippines, where in Manila and Angeles City, you can experience "Sex Disneyland" where many girls are available of all types and colors for cheap prices. They are very open and direct, and easy to meet and date, like the most natural and smoothest thing in the world. So you, you got the most open girls in the world full of sensuality and eager for love, and the most closed inhibited frigid prudish anti-sex girls in the world, right next to each other with only an hour's flight between them! It's like a thin veil between two totally different dimensions.
arrival in the airport from the Philippines, I noticed
this strict uptight serious look about the Taiwanese people,
which was a total contrast
people in the
I even got the impression that smiling or saying hi to anyone would disrupt the equilibrium of the environment. One sales lady I saw at the airport even had this strict look on her face that said, “If you talk to me about anything other than business, I’ll get pissed, for you will be committing a grave sin in disrupting the equilibrium of my environment.” Ick.
No one even makes eye contact with you, even if you’re attractive or good looking. And if you make eye contact with a girl or smile, she looks horrified as if a strict unspoken rule is broken. Ick! How can human beings be like this? It’s like everyone here is in the military 24/7.
Furthermore, I began to notice another pattern I hadn’t noticed before. The Taiwanese (as well as Chinese in general) seem to have this perpetual anger about them in the way they talk to each other. When you watch them interact in public, you notice a high occurrence of this angry tone in their voice, as if they’re always arguing, even in casual conversation. And often in a self-righteous tone as well. It’s not uncommon on the street to hear shouting matches either.
This is even portrayed in their TV soap operas and political commentary shows as well. In them, the actors and interviewed guests also speak in this angry self-righteous tone as if they are arguing in every little word. And their tempers are quick to flare. Anyone can see this right on TV. And in fact, even in many American movies, Orientals are portrayed as overtly angry and strict, yelling at each other as part of their natural speech.
Even Oriental movie stars have this perpetual angry look about them. For example, Bruce Lee had that angry look and personality, as well as Jet Li (in his older movies), and even the sexy Lucy Liu displays such traits in her expressions. Of course, there are always exceptions to every general rule, such as Jackie Chan.
I have been told that Koreans are like this too, that when they interact with each other casually, it sounds like they are arguing, at least to outsiders.
The best way I would describe it is as an “angry strictness” that is quick tempered. And it’s not even about what kind of things they are strict or anal about either. There seems to be this inherent fundamental strictness in their basic personality and nature.
I wonder why this is. Being angry all the time certainly doesn’t fall in line with their Buddhist and Taoist teachings and traditions. I wonder if it’s a cultural thing that they adopt, or perhaps it’s inherent in Chinese genes.
Since I am of Taiwanese descent, I too can sense a sort of blood boiling adrenaline within me that can make me quick tempered at times, though I’m definitely not always angry, but prefer to be peaceful, and definitely not strict at all. But it’s hard to say whether that is due to my individual nature, family genes, or to collective racial genes.
As someone told me, “Most Asians don’t think for themselves, they simply follow the pack. You are one of the exceptions.” Thus I’ve noticed that a lot of Chinese and Asian people feel uncomfortable around me, when they realize that I’m different from them. They are strict conformists to society who obey authority, and thus feel uncomfortable around freethinkers or freespirits who think on their own outside the box. Probably they fear what I stand for, as it is outside their safety comfort zone of conformity and thinking inside the box. As a result, they have no idea what to do with me or how to make sense out of me, so they often resort to just avoiding me altogether. (except for my relatives and extended family of course)
Likewise, their “angry strictness”, uptight nature, and narrow insular mentality make me feel uncomfortable as well. Whereas they are strict conformists who follow the pack, I defy and challenge conventionality. I have my own way of thinking, which I fight for, and that threatens their identity, it seems, maybe because they can’t be as assertive and independent as I am. It’s like we see each other as invaders of our own paradigms and reality. Basically, they perceive me as one who is trying to expand their mind and thinking beyond the comfort zone of their paradigm, while I on the other hand feel as if they are trying to shrink or squeeze my mind and intellect against its nature.
This happens to be the case with my own mother as well. She has many of the “angry strictness” qualities typical of Chinese people. And when we are around each other, we both make each other’s blood boil. Simply put, just being “who we are” around each other causes friction. Recently, this seems to be a documented fact even, as we bought a blood pressure measuring device (I have mild hypertension that needs to be checked regularly) and noticed while using it that when I’m with my mom or interacting with her, my blood pressure seems to rise considerably than when I’m sitting alone doing something else.
Even though my parents practice and study Buddhism and spiritual teachings, they argue over little things and raise their temper quickly. I wonder why they have to be that way.
To Taiwanese people, the basic rules of life are simply as follows:
1) The purpose of life is to be a virtuous workaholic, laboring long and hard to be secure and successful in life.
2) Even after you become successful, wealthy or financially independent, you should still continue working long and hard for the rest of your life to remain a virtuous and noble person, or “just because” that’s how Chinese people like it.
3) One is permitted to have enjoyment and pleasure in life, but only for brief moments. Such must be strictly limited and controlled, lest they destroy society and make everyone lazy and idle. For there is no virtue in enjoyment or pleasure, only in working hard and toiling long hours is there virtue. When you are too old to work hard, then you may start enjoying life, relaxing and traveling, somewhat, but only in an inhibited proper way.
4) A normal decent person conforms to society, obeys authority, and “follows the pack”. There is a right proper way of doing everything. If anyone deviates from it, they must be fixed, corrected, and controlled into doing it the right proper way.
Needless to say, I don't agree with these rules. Instead, I believe that the purpose of life is to enjoy it and do what you love, regardless of the outcome. In my book, anything else is a wasted life.
Of course, there are some in the Western world who share such beliefs about the rules of life as well. They are the strict, conservative, conformist, socially inept, workaholic, all work and no play, robotic, shallow, materialistic types with no understanding or interest in the deeper dimensions of life, that we have all met one way or another. Obviously, I don’t vibe or jive with such people. The types of people I get along with best are artist types, freespirits, freethinkers, intellectuals, writers, actors, travelers, existentialists, etc. I must say though, that one can be one of these types while being responsible, sensible, and practical at the same time, as I myself am an example.
Taiwanese generally also love working to death, literally. Many work 7 days a week with no days off, for their whole life, and actually enjoy it that way. And this even includes those who are rich or financially independent. I can’t understand how anyone can be that way. But as my advisors explained, they measure everything by their practical worth, they do not live for the romantic, passionate or wild side. To them, the purpose of life is to work hard and long, suffering during the process, in order to be successful and make money. There’s a certain honor and glory in being a workaholic in their eyes. That’s what they live and breathe. Like many Americans, they live to work. They don’t know how to live life any other way. It’s even part of their culture to constantly chant to each other “work hard!” (“pah-biah” in Taiwanese) as if it were some kind of religion or mantra.
To me, that’s just insane. I've always believed that the purpose of life is to enjoy it. And if you don't, then it's a wasted life, no matter how much you attain materially. Likewise, I believe that people should do what they love most. And if they can make money doing what they love, then great. But if not, they should still continue doing it, because not doing what you really love in your heart and passion, is a wasted life in my book. In short, I'd rather be broke doing what I love, than make a good living not doing what I love. I know that some will argue that in an ideal world, everyone would be doing what they love, but the reality is that sometimes you have to do what you don't love in order to make ends meet and pay the bills. I don't agree though. Even if I have no way of doing what I love to make ends meet, there are always choices in life, and I'd still choose to go for broke doing what I love and reap the consequences. That's how I am. Regardless of the tangible outcome, I prefer to live according to my beliefs and integrity, rather than in fear following what society dictates.
From my perspective, the Taiwanese populace are like robots without independent thought. But from their point of view, they probably think I’m weird as well, cause I’m not like them. What a strange mismatch. If I were white, they’d be less surprised that I was different than them, but being a Taiwanese Asian, it shocks their paradigm completely it seems.
Another thing that I don’t get is that since the economy of Taiwan has boomed the past decade, greatly improving their standard of living, why do they still have to work so hard and suffer with little freedom or enjoyment outside of that. Well one answer is of course, that like Americans, they “live to work” so no matter how well off they are, their purpose of life is still to work hard, even if they’re already rich, for the glory and honor of its own sake. But it can be argued that they wouldn’t have become a rich country if it wasn’t for their workaholic busy-bee lifestyle and mentality in the first place.
One of my
advisors explained that
Perhaps it’s all a matter of perspective, depending on where you’re coming from. From a typical Taiwanese person’s view, these things are normal and I’m the “strange one”. Oh well. Maybe I am.
In Taiwan, there is this cultural black and white thinking that strictly dictates that there is one “right way” (“dee-uh” in Taiwanese) of doing things, and all other ways are “wrong ways” (“mmm-dee-uh” in Taiwanese). It is subjective and singular-minded. In their belief system, everything, especially people, must be strictly controlled and regulated through “proper ways” of behaving and conduct. Any deviation from these “proper, right” ways must be quickly “corrected” (“gai” in Taiwanese) or else all chaos will erupt (you gotta remember they live in fear, not confidence or optimism, and thus tend to use “negative reinforcement” to control their children).
there is a proper time to
go to bed (9pm to
10pm usually) and get up (early morning), even on Friday and Saturday
nights. There is a proper time to eat meals (and you gotta
eat quickly, this isn’t
And of course, there is a proper way to meet people, make friends, or get acquainted with the opposite sex, and that is by introductions through mutual connections. Not only are most Taiwanese people too shy to talk to strangers, but they are taught that it is improper, indecent, and “wrong” as well. The only ones who tend to talk to strangers freely are old people and little children.
Thus, it is very hard to meet people or get dates there. The social environment does not flow freely at all, unlike many European, Latin, or African countries. Having to depend on introductions through others is very limiting indeed, but alas, it is the “proper” way to do things, and most Taiwanese and Orientals in general are afraid to deviate from it (you gotta remember, most of them prefer to “follow the pack” rather than think or do things their own way).
So, similar to Anglo-Saxon dominated countries (America, Canada), in Oriental countries (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans mostly) it takes time, effort, and luck to meet people by developing connections through the proper channels first, which is usually through school, work or mutual friends. That means little of it is really in your control. You gotta mostly wait and hope you get lucky. After all, you can’t just meet people in public or talk to strangers while you’re going out and doing something, for to do so would make you appear rude, inappropriate, and even “freakish”.
Unfortunately, those who are seeking dates or an intimate relationship are in the worst position, for their romantic choices are strictly limited within their schools, work environments, and social cliques. Thus the millions of other potential partners they could be matched with out there, are simply closed off to them and off-limits. It’s very sad and depressing, if you ask me, but that’s how it is. (Thank God though, that the internet now offers them a way to meet people that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to meet through these traditional channels, otherwise their situation would be hopeless unless they had the right connections)
And since it’s
improper conduct to
talk to strangers in Oriental societies, or to even look at them, it
damn near impossible to “pick up” girls that you
find attractive. (which
in Anglo-Saxon and
countries, social interactions and relationships are usually strictly
within one’s work environment, school, or social
clique. Suffice to say though,
it’s even worse in
the Asian countries where
people are much more
comfortable and relaxed talking to strangers and are more approachable
shy, are Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. But
even in these
countries, most people tend to “follow the pack”
rather than think for
themselves. In regions like
Now back to the Oriental control nature discussed earlier. If you deviate from their strict notions of the proper and right way of doing things, even in little things, many Taiwanese people, including non-family members, will be quick to try to correct you and fix you, as if it were their second nature. And they do it in a preachy righteous tone (which annoys me). In fact, controlling and correcting others is in their instinct, as if they live and breathe it. You can never take it out of most of them, not even by reasoning with them, showing them the folly or illogical nature of their ways, or by “correcting” them. You see, they aren’t this way because they choose to be or because it’s logical or necessary. It’s simply “the way” they’ve always done things and not to be questioned. They aren’t a freethinking society, but rather a “follow the right way” society.
Even in the
nature is strongest
in the relationship between parents and their offspring. (which
outsiders don’t always get to see, for many families hide
their control freak
nature from outsiders in an attempt to save face) Parents are
controlling and correcting their children over every little thing
end. One of the most common warnings they utter to them in
Chinese is “Ni
jze yan tzu,
As another example, my dad’s younger brother and some of his close friends whom I call “Uncles” were strict controlling Asian parents who used anger, shouting, threats and fear to manage their children. To Western styles, their approach seems abusive, cruel, and excessive. But in Taiwanese families, such a parenting style is actually quite normal, standard, and even expected. They do it all in the name of “it’s for their own good”. What I gather is that in these parents’ minds, there is this fear that if their children are not sternly and tightly controlled, then chaos will erupt and the whole family will go down the drain. So in their minds, they are doing what’s right. Thus, the parents and the children both live in fear.
One harmful effect of all this is that it contributes to their vulnerable insecure state of constantly living in fear of criticism. Rather than empowering them with self-confidence or self-worth, it weakens their ego and worth by subjecting them to excessive control, negative reinforcement, and fear tactics. In addition, they also tend to have this annoying habit of talking to you like you don’t know anything, even when they have no idea what you really know. Thus it’s no wonder that Orientals tend to be shy, timid, introverted, and non-assertive. They also almost never brag, unless they are Americanized of course.
As a result, Taiwanese children tend to pass on such strict controlling ways to their own children of the next generation, and the cycle repeats. One of the ways to break it is, of course, by becoming a freespirit and freethinker like me who can think outside of the box and choose his/her own path and behavior rather than following that of society like a robot. But of course, those Taiwanese who dare to be different will risk alienation from many of their ethnic kind, and find that many Asian cliques will exclude them and/or avoid them. For to them, following the pack is normal whereas thinking on your own, if it deviates from the norm, is seen as freakish, dangerous, unstable, outside their comfort zone, and thus makes them feel uncomfortable.
What Taiwanese people (as well as many Orientals and Americans) don’t understand is that you can’t change people by merely “correcting” or “fixing” them with a lecture about what they “should or ought” to do. Change comes from within, and you can’t change someone unless THEY want to be changed.
And besides, change itself is complicated. Some things about you can be changed, while others can’t. Sometimes, the change is only temporary, lasting for days, weeks, or even months, before you revert back to your behavior prior to the change. But even real change often occurs gradually, not instantaneously (as the result of some dumb lecture).
But alas, Taiwanese ways assume that you are a conformist by nature rather than an independent thinker, and that thus you can be “corrected” into conforming to their ways. Thus they assume that you can be changed by a simple lecture from them telling you what you should do. Yeah right. Perhaps it is these folks that need to be “corrected” by being given some wisdom about the folly of their control freak nature, and the ability to see things from more than one angle so that their mind can be expanded.
Of course, all of us, including me, are sometimes prone to such erroneous assumptions, as I myself may be flawed in thinking that this article will change the behavior of any control freak Taiwanese/Orientals.
- At a dinner party in a Taiwanese man’s home, while we were eating good vegetarian food, our host suddenly pointed to me and told me to eat the proper way with spoon and fork together rather than just a fork, even though I was doing fine with only a fork. Now, such an action about a trivial matter was totally out of context in a carefree lax happy-go-lucky Filipino society, and totally out of the norm, especially since it is a Filipino custom in homes to eat with bare hands. But it was the Taiwanese mentality to correct even such miniscule things, even though he was a very nice man. Afterward, all the other Filipino guests at the table followed suit and used both fork and spoon as well, since we were all in his home. I don’t know why he chose to correct only me though, probably because I’m Taiwanese too, so he felt more comfortable doing that to me.
- One time, while my girlfriend and I were at a hotel swimming pool during my parents’ visit, we met this really cute little boy only a few years old. My girl took a fancy to him and so while I was taking pictures, she got next to him to have her picture taken with him. While my camera was charging its flash, the boy’s mom suddenly came and took her kid away briskly. Afterward, I was puzzled and said, “That mom was not Filipino was she?” My girlfriend said that she was Japanese. “Oh no wonder,” I said, “cause a Filipino mom would never have a problem with a stranger wanting to take pictures with her kids. Only a Japanese or Oriental would be so strict and paranoid about it.” She nodded in agreement.
Inverse between Taiwanese and Filipinos in Character and Religion
Here is one odd inverse that I’ve observed between Taiwanese and Filipinos with regard to their character and religion. Although Buddhism is part of Chinese culture and tradition, the Taiwanese mainstream personality is far more Christian-like with its black and white views and judgmental attitude. Their “one way is the right way” mentality is more compatible with Christian thinking, as well as their overly righteous tone and speaking manner. Very few of them are nonjudgmental. Furthermore, their negative reinforcement tactics of controlling others through fear is also more similar to the classic Christian system of keeping its followers in fear of punishment and damnation from God.
the other hand, Catholicism is deeply ingrained in Filipino
the point where over 90 percent of Filipinos claim to be Catholic, but
their character seems more Buddhist than Christian.
They are generally
very nonjudgmental to
the point where even misfits and weirdos
countries feel like they fit in with them.
And they are very tolerant of differences in expressiveness or
lifestyles, and do not see one way as the
only right way. In
are very lax, carefree, slow to anger, not overly serious, and do not
up over little things that go wrong.
an example, amazingly the drivers in
Taiwanese and Orientals in general seem to be an odd blend of traits. Though they are generally kind, loyal, helpful, considerate (often over-considerate), generous to friends/family, modest, humble and moralistic, they typically exhibit the following four unpleasant characteristics in their pattern of behavior. They are:
Judgmental/Black and White Mentality – They are quick to judge and jump to conclusions, even about things they aren’t qualified in and know nothing about, especially about people who are different than them. It’s no surprise that they aren’t comfortable with people who are different. They fear the unknown, whereas an intellectual exploratory soul and philosopher/existentialist like me is curious and fascinated by the unknown. Rather than listen and ponder a situation they don’t understand, they prefer to judge and lecture others, often in an overly righteous tone reminiscent of Christian fundamentalist preachers. Like I said, it’s difficult to reason with those who have a black and white mentality. The only exception to this that I’ve seen are the Taiwanese Buddhist monks, who are somewhat more open minded, more non-judgmental and able to listen to other’s point of view, due to their non-materialistic lifestyle and meditation practices which help control their minds and detach from illusion.
Angry/quick tempered – Their voice sounds like they are perpetually angry. And no, that’s not just “how they talk” as some try to excuse it. It reflects a deeper nature/habit of theirs, which is evident by how quick tempered and excited they get over little things. Their blood definitely boils fast, in general that is. It’s not uncommon to hear shouting matches in public places either. Even if you’ve never been to Oriental countries, you can see it in their TV shows and political talk discussions.
Strict/Uptight – They are very strict, perfectionistic, anal-retentive, and militarialistic in living and pushing upon others their black and white view of what’s right and proper, even in little things, which they follow religiously and expect others to follow as well. There’s no relative perspective or “a matter of opinion” to them. To them, the proper right way is an objective fact, not a subjective area that is relative to opinion. Even if their “proper and right” way is illogical or inappropriate for the situation, or unnecessary, it’s all they know and so they will still follow it simply because “it’s the way”. You see, to them, a good admirable person does not think for himself or question things, he follows and behaves the “right proper” way.
Controlling/Correcting – They have this obsessive propensity to control and correct others, even those who are non-family members. It’s almost like their second nature. Particularly among the older generation, Chinese tend to speak with this preachy overly righteous tone that turns me off. They seem to have no respect for your opinions, nor do they try to see your side. And they often point out faults in a preachy condescending manner, using fear and negative reinforcement. They will do this even over trivial things that don’t matter. My mom has yelled at me for things like eating certain fruits with my hands rather than fork, asking a Taiwanese doctor if he speaks English, etc. with unrelenting anger. What’s ironic is that she is a devout Buddhist, so when I point out to her that Buddhism teaches non-attachment and non-judgment, and that Buddha himself would never approve of being controlling and angry over little things like she does, nor of being so judgmental about everything, she spins it around by saying, “Buddha also strictly emphasized that one must do things the RIGHT way!” (Like I said, you can’t logically reason with their illogical black/white behavior)
For brevity's sake, we will term these four characteristics above as JASC, and refer to them as such in the rest of this article. These JASC characteristics typical of many, if not most, Taiwanese, can make being around them a stressful experience. If only they would practice and integrate the teachings of Buddha and Lao-Tzu into their lives and mind (which ironically are already a part of their culture and history), such as non-self, non-judgment, nonattachment, being in the present moment, being the watcher of their thoughts, detaching from fear (which they live in), worry, stress, and other forms of suffering which are mere projections of their mind. Then they might overcome this vicious control freak cycle, as well as their angry emotions.
Repressive precepts of life taught from birth
In Oriental families, children are taught from birth the following primary life precepts.
1) One’s sole purpose in life is to perform one’s duty faithfully and diligently. As a student, your duty is to study, get perfect grades, and pass exams to bring honor to yourself and family. As an adult, your duty is to work diligently and tirelessly, even living and breathing it if necessary. If you are blessed with a rich family, then your value is judged by your profession and career status; with the higher the salary determining the level of career status.
2) Nothing else in life outside of your “duties” has any real value or meaning. Beyond it, everything else is useless and idle, therefore one should not have too many other interests or distractions.
3) When you are a student, grades and test scores are the measure by which to judge your self-worth and status in society, as well as the honor you give your parents. Bad marks make you “lose face” to yourself and your family, which is a serious disgrace and sin, making your academic life a deadly serious business. And when you are an adult, your career status and salary become the basis of your value and status. Therefore, in essence, you value is determined by how well you do your “duties”.
4) Every action or activity you do in life belongs in one of two categories, “work” and “play”. If you are not doing one, then you are doing the other.
5) Nothing exists outside of conformity to the system. Obedience and conformity are the keys to prosperity and harmony in life. A person has little worth beyond how he/she performs her “duties”, whether as a student, worker, parent, or child.
6) Anything that contradicts the above is immature, irrational and silly child’s play. Mature honorable adults conform to these precepts, while those who don’t are immature, undisciplined, and lacking in development.
The effects of these precepts
As you can see, this rigid absolutist view of life centered on “duty as the purpose of life” that Oriental children are ingrained with early on, contributes to the development of their JASC mentality. There are definite standards of the way things “ought to be”, leading to closed minded value judgments on anything that doesn’t fit in. In fact, the precepts are so ingrained, that you can usually feel it in their “vibes” as well. Though it’s debatable whether part of it is genetic or inherent, a large part of it is due to the conditioning of these precepts. These primary precepts become their basic mentality, closing their minds to all alternative ways of thinking or living, thus they and their parents become “judgmental”, “condemning” or “criticizing” toward other people and things that don’t fit into them.
As a list member of my group said:
are only interested in
school and work."
In a Confucian society people live by their social
duties. As a student, it is your duty to study. As
an adult, it is your duty to work and to support
family. And as a son it is your duty to support and
to respect your parents. An individual has little
meaning beyond these social duties.”
In addition, they are taught that nothing that doesn't have practical benefit is worthwhile, but instead, useless and idle. Therefore, imagination, creativity, abstract thinking, philosophy, romanticism, etc. is discouraged and made irrelevant, unless it aids one in their study or work (playing the piano being the exception). Also, intolerance for differences is also stressed, as well as new ideas that don’t fit into the “one’s purpose in life is to do their duty in school and work” life precept. Outside of that primary life precept, life has little or no meaning and value.
For people like me, who are open-minded and expansive, being around other Asians with JASC qualities and the mentality of these life precepts, makes me uncomfortable because their “vibe” is conflicting with mine. I feel as if they are trying to contract and restrict my expressive nature, while I am trying to expand their rigid absolutist mentality.
Needless to say, Asians who try to become actors, musicians, or live a Bohemian lifestyle draw the most heat from their parents, who have a JASC mentality that refuses to allow anything to exist outside the conservative life precepts.
Nevertheless though, these precepts have some positive benefits as well. It teaches children to prepare for their future, think long term, be practical (though overly), and pragmatic toward life. And the rigidity taught in their thinking make them excel at mathematics courses (Any Californian teacher will attest to this), business and high tech fields. In addition, the emphasis on not having too many interests and passions, has the benefit of focusing on a single specialization in life, which greatly increases their chances of being successful at their field of specialization. After all, if you focus all your energy into one field, you are much more likely to be successful in it than if you spread out your energy among different fields and interests like a Jack of all trades. But the downside of all this, of course, is that it makes them narrow-minded, rigid, with a one track mind, perhaps uninteresting to others, having few interests and things to share with others, and unable to relate to or get along with those who are different from them. They learn to feel pleasure in living a routine rut, and see nothing outside of it anyway.
reasoning within a closed loop
The thought system of the repressive traditional Asian mentality operates in circular reasoning within a closed loop. It does not seek to expand or broaden itself, but only to maintain its insular nature by repeating its mantras to further reinforce itself. Any attempt to expand it, reason with it, enlighten it with a new understanding, give it a new perspective, etc. is usually futile and results only in the tightening and reinforcement of the closed loop.
You see, the Asian paradigm does not seek to grow or understand, but to strengthen its set preconceptions in regard to order and hierarchy. It works only with what is within its closed loop system, not acknowledging anything outside of it. And that is a fundamental difference between me and them.
Contrary to the Western stereotype of Asians being into Eastern mysticism, Taoist philosophies, Buddhist practices, Yoga/Martial Arts, etc. the typical Asian mindset is actually overly shallow, materialistic, and one-dimensional. Daughters are told that a man’s riches are all that matter; men are taught that their career and wealth determine their worth; children are taught to live and breathe their school and grades or else they will be come terrible monsters; people are taught that there is only one right way to do everything, with no room for disagreement, etc. Thinking out of the box is not allowed nor even acknowledged as possible. (In fact, I’d even say that less Asians dare to think outside the box than Americans.) In fact, for the most part there is no room in the Asian paradigm for such things as – thinking outside the box, imagination, creativity, romance, soulmates, spiritual life, etc. contrary to what a Westerner might think. The esoteric and mystical groups that are popularized in the Western media are fringe practices held by a minority of Asians, and not part of the mainstream mentality at all.
Unfortunately, the Oriental way of dealing with what they don’t understand in people, especially their own kind and even more so their own family, is to condemn it, claiming that it is wrong, doesn’t fit what “ought to be”, should be fixed/changed, etc. That is why I’ve often felt uncomfortable around my Taiwanese relatives, older family friends, and elders. Not only do they have this narrow absolutist mentality of how things “ought to be” and “ought not to be”, but they are not open to discussion and hearing feedback to revise their perceptions. That’s simply how it is. Although non-Oriental cultures have condemning views as well, they are not as quick, petty, and snappy about it as Orientals are.
It is unfortunate that these judgmental Orientals do not do what soulful exploratory people do, which is trying to understand those who are different than you, even if they are of your own family, by putting yourself in their shoes, asking open-ended leading questions, listening to feedback, affirming other people’s feelings, etc.
Culture of uniformity
fact, some Oriental societies, such as
The Asian mentality is not logic based, nor rational or even wise, but based totally on adhering to custom and tradition, never thinking outside the box. One only does what society says he is supposed to do, thinks within the boundaries of custom/tradition, and conforms to whatever the ruling authority is. Unlike them, I am not the type of person who does something just because society or custom says so.
double-face of Asians/Orientals: What most white people don't see
Most white people don't see the other side of Asians and Orientals, which is the repressive controlling instinct and mentality that seeks to perpetually condemn, "fix" and correct those who are different from a set standard of Asian culture. The reason is because Asians don't try to change white people, but other Asians who don't fit the mold of how Asians are "supposed" to be. Instead, they view whites as a foreign species to maintain a good "face" to – bowing and smiling gently to feign fake politeness. They are not shown the repressive dominating intricacies of Asian corrective behavior. That's why Asians of the older generation tend to act overly polite, gentle and kind to whites, giving them a false impression, hiding their strict, rigid, repressive, verbally abusive, belittling side, which they prominently show to their own kind and especially to their own family.
only Asians see
and know about this
condemning negative and strict feature of Asian cultures and
unless they tell their white friends about it.
For example, the standard Asian mentality is that an Asian male in America ought to be focusing all his energy and time toward attaining a successful career, and looking to date and mate with an Asian woman with qualities that would make a good wife. However, since I'm a free-spirit who lives a Bohemian lifestyle of freedom and exploration, and prefers white women (lacking a taste or connection with Asian women), I do not fit this role model Asian male standard.
Thus, other Asians who notice this feel an instinctual need to attempt "fix" and condemn me for not adhering to the standard of what an Asian male is supposed to be. They do this by routinely telling me what I ought to be doing, and how things ought to be, to try to put me back in line.
Since I prefer white girls over Asian girls, when other Asians I come into contact with find out about it (even the young ones), they will tell me that that's not how it's supposed to be, and feel the need to tell me how it should be, namely, Asian men preferring only Asian women. That gives you an example of the narrowness of the traditional Asian/Oriental mentality, which is ingrained not just in the older generation, but even in many of the younger generation as well.
It doesn't matter if I explain to them that I just don't have any connection or energy with Oriental women. They won’t take that into account, for to them, it's not about being who I am, but fixing up the ways that I'm different so that I can be a "correct Asian".
To give you another example, the traditional Asian/Oriental mentality is that all young people's lives should be totally centered around school and grades. Any other lifestyle for them is considered not "normal", frowned upon, condemned, and yes even "sinful". They will not impose or force this on white people of course, but they will on other Asians/Orientals.
It’s simply the traditional Asian way (or rather the Oriental way to be more precise; e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean), to fix what's different or what you don't understand, by condemning it and then trying to correct it so that it fits with their narrow and insular view of life. Now it's one thing to do that with objects, but the traditional Asian/Oriental way is to do that with people as well. To me, it's very repressive and unevolved.
Put simply, they don't believe in letting others be who they are, only in how they "should be".
And believe it or not, they even do this to other Asians they know nothing about, don’t understand, have nothing in common with even, and whose lives are none of their business! Geez Louise. How control-freakish can one get, to go to such an extreme? The pettiness and single-mindedness of such people is a real turn-off to me.
Even one of my best friends, a Vietnamese American girl, constantly did this with me. It's simply part of their basic mentality and instinct, though some do rise above it. But it gets to the point where I start avoiding Asian folks in general, cause most of them simply can't accept me for who I am. They feel the need to "fix" me as if I'm some sort of robot whose components have malfunctioned. (Gee, that makes me feel really appreciated alright)
Since those with such a repressive tight-boxed insular mentality are not open to differences, I generally prefer not to deal with them, and they are left confused and scratching their head as to why I am different from them and not open to their "corrections". Hence, it is often awkward for me to be around other Asians.
For some reason, Asian elders and relatives feel the need to give you unwanted, simplistic, and obvious advice. It’s not rational, but a mere cultural quirk. Somehow, these people feel it is their duty to give you simplistic advice in line with the five precepts, and make themselves feel useful in doing so.
Such unwanted advice, though well-meaning, can have dangerous effects. If the recipient of the advice is easily influenced and follows it literally, he/she may realize that it was wrong advice from someone who does not even understand them or their life, resulting in wasted time and money. Hence, the danger of giving advice, for it may be wrong for them. That is one reason why therapists and mental health professionals do not give their patients much advice, but coping skills instead.
Western culture, it is rude to give unwanted and unasked advice to
if they are your relatives. But Oriental relatives and elders
simply because it is “their way”, handed down from
generation. And they attempt to justify it by claiming that
well-intentioned, and so never wrong. The backwardness of
Asian parents traditionally use "negative reinforcements" to control and discipline the behavior of their children. Such reinforcements include belittling, verbal abuse, criticism, condemnation, yelling, finger pointing, mean stares, instilling fear or guilt, etc. It's just their way of child rearing that was handed down from generation to generation.
They rarely, if ever, use any positive reinforcements such as praise, compliments, motivation, positive feedback, empowerment, etc. In effect, they believe in living in fear and in making others live in fear as well. Very morbid, if you ask me.
There seems to be an inherent nature in Taiwanese and Oriental people to be very petty and anal-retentive even about the smallest things. It's like some of them don't feel alive unless they are petty or anal about SOMETHING. This control freak tendency is a pattern I've noticed among my family and relatives, and others have commented at length too. (see examples of it at the community forum of www.modelminority.com)
To get an idea of what I mean about the extremity of traditional Asian repressiveness, imagine Pat Robertson, Jerry Faldwell, and Pat Bucanan all put together, but much more tight-assed, anal, and obsessive about little details and on top of their backwardness, and that's what I'm talking about here.
Taiwanese parents have this habit of controlling their children throughout their lives to an obsessive compulsive degree, asking them about every little thing, telling them what to do on every aspect of their lives, even those they don't know anything about or aren't qualified to judge on, checking up on and double-checking on every aspect of their lives, etc. This level of control can turn children into zombies, totally unable to do anything for themselves, and never becoming independent. But in their minds of course, they are doing a good thing out of their care and concern for their children's well being, even if it means going overboard. Therefore, to many Taiwanese parents, intentions are more important than outcomes and results. Nevertheless, this is taken to the extreme as well beyond a doubt (which you can read about at www.modelminority.com in the community forum).
To give you a great example of what I mean, here is an account from a Korean American who describes in detail the obsessive compulsive over-controlling condescending nature of her mom.
Great to hear back from you...
Well..shes done a lot of the things you mentioned on the site...
She tells us(3 daughters) how to eat..and what to eat for example if we're all sitting together for a meal...example: "Don't eat that alone-you have to eat it with rice."
She has never apologized in her life..
She believes that anyone that's younger than her doesn't know better than her and also doesn't deserve respect from her since she's the older person...
She feels that if you voice your opinion then you're being disrespectful..
She also feels that if you disagree with what she's saying-it doesn't matter-you're supposed to just sit there and "accept" it and not say anything back..
She feels that
Koreans are superior
to any other race..example:
"Oh those cells phones came out in
She feels that women should find a rich man and be with him solely for that reason..
She thinks money is the most important thing in life...
She also thinks that the mold of going to school and studying is all there is to do as a young person..
She thinks that being a doctor or lawyer are the only two professions that anyone should try to pursue...example: I'm about to finish my Bachelors degree after transferring to two different universities--after declaring my major was Pre-Med-because that's what she 'told' me to major in..
Growing up-my older sister and I would get in trouble for bringing a "B" home and were not allowed to go out with boys or even go out with friends on weekends..
I had moved back into my parents' house about two years ago to try and save money to buy a place when I got closer to finishing school...my mother also assured me that they would remodel their full basement so I could live down there-this still hasn't been done to this day..
The other night..a Saturday..(keep in mind I'll be 28 next month and work full time and go to school full time at night and basically handle all my business without giving my parents any burden..) I was out on a date-I rarely go out--maybe-one night per week with all my other responsibilities..she called my cell phone numerous times and was leaving me messages like "That's enough-it's late and you need sleep." It was so embarassing to have my date wonder who in the world was calling me so persistently.
Anyhow-I got home and that's when we had our blowout--I basically told her to stop calling me every single time I go out and quit worrying about me since I was almost 30 years old. She yelled back and said "I'll call you 100 times if I want-you can't tell me what to do etc etc"
So after that I was completely fed up with her trying to force me to be her robot/puppet and decided it was time to move out. So I'm signing another apartment lease this week so I can move in this weekend and get my sanity back.
There are a lot of other issues too like my younger sister(20) who doesnt work and barely passes her college general education classes. But my mother lets her go out and do whatever she wants-even still buys her clothes at the mall--yet I'm the responsible one and I get treated like a delinquent. So about a few days after the blowout-note that I haven't said two words to her or vice versa since then--she knocks on my bedroom door and says something along the lines of "Get up-it's time for church" as if everything is just fine and dandy and nothing ever happened. Another thing she said was "Parents fuss because they care-if they dont, nobody will."
She expects me to just pretend like nothing happened and I'm supposed to just snap my fingers and act normal with her. Not this time. I'm fed up and removing myself from that mentality.
It's the most twisted mentality ever and I've just finally reached my limit. Until she understands that you can't talk to people or treat them any way you want-and being a family member does not justify treating people any way you want-I won't be letting myself be around someone that needs constant drama in their lives. Something else she's done is try to give the guilt trip--when I first moved out-she gave me the whole schpiel about "Oh after all we've done for you-this is the thanks we get??" She also doesn't understand the concept of people needing to "vent." I might go to her just to vent and relieve a little stress by talking about some minor problem going on at work for example. She ALWAYS responds by immediately having a "solution" to my "problem." It irritates me so bad I just have to walk away before I say something rude. She has very poor listening skills and will blatantly interrupt you while you are talking because she has no conversational skills.
Sorry for the novel-I got a little emotional about the whole thing. I hope this helps give you a better idea of what I was meaning. Those are just a few of the lifelong examples that I've gone through.
My older sister is 31 and my mother still tries to control her even though she's married and living with her husband about 15 minutes away from my parents' house.
The younger one is such a delinquent-she's taken off for days with random guys and my mother has taken her back and justified her bad behavior with excuses. I just can't stand seeing the hypocrisy and biased treatment that she displays with her children.
Thanks for listening!
Let me know what you think about this craziness..
As you can see, it goes far beyond healthy parental concern. Such perpetual condescending treatment and verbal abuse from repressive Asian parents can make one feel incompetent and dependent. And I would venture to say it probably contributes to Asian youngsters’ propensity of being timid and shy.
Fortunately, my parents were not that extreme, however they did exhibit facets of her description in their behavior, which are somehow deeply ingrained into the old-fashioned collective Asian psyche. But I have seen plenty of Asian parents that are like what she describes.
In my case, my mom would argue with me about how much soy sauce I put on my food, watching me nervously as I pour it on. Such issues are trivial, and even the most incompetent people are able to decide how much soy sauce to put on their meal. But as mentioned, the Asian mentality is extremely, obsessively controlling beyond reason, negative, etc. There’s almost no changing it. No matter how many times I tell her that I’m old enough to decide that trivial issue for myself, she still can’t help herself from trying to control it. Also, she considers it unethical to call and order pizza for delivery. I don’t even have to explain here why that makes no sense, yet she insists on it and strongly discourages me from doing so. In addition, my parents also meddle in personal affairs such as when I return my phone messages, something which I should be able to handle on my own without interference and judgment. Such are examples of the warped nature of the Asian mind.
It seems to be an “Asian thing” to argue about petty trivial issues.
The Asian mentality even incites its adherents to do things that are counterproductive repeatedly. For instance, my mom will even yell at me for sometimes choosing to eat with forks rather than with chopsticks. Now, since I am a highly functioning, efficient, competent, responsible adult, you’d think that she would know that I am capable of making such a trivial decision. But oh no. The Asian inclination for obsessive control and pettiness somehow drives her to try to control the most trivial things about me. It borders on insanity, sadly enough, but that’s just how it is.
And of course, any wise easy-going freespirit knows that arguing over trifling petty things is a waste of time and energy, but for some morbid reason, the Asian mentality persists on it, perhaps even feeding off it. It just won’t stop or change its ways, no matter how irrational they may be. But the Asian mentality does not seek to be rational, only to reinforce its closed loop ways. So much for the influence of Buddha, Taoism, and Eastern Mysticism on the mainstream Asian populace. After all, an obsessive need to argue over petty things is so transcendent and at one with the universe, isn’t it? lol
It’s also no wonder that a high percentage of Asian Americans have some kind of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It’s in their upbringing, nature, and possibly genes as well. Many of them have emailed me to confess it too. Even if their ways don’t work and bring out only bad results, Taiwanese parents will simply repeat their ways regardless. It’s illogical to continue using failed tactics of course, but it’s simply the “Asian way.”
It’s odd that they do this, when their cultural and historical idols, such as Buddha and Confucius, said that nothing in extremity is any good. And there are statues and temples to Buddha and Confucius everywhere, so obviously, they are seen as cultural and historical idols, yet Taiwanese don’t practice what they preached, for they taught that nothing in extremity is any good, not even love, but the middle way is the best.
Perhaps one factor that causes this is explained by a list member of my group:
freaks". A Confucial
is organized vertically. Order goes from parents to
children, government to subjects, teacher to
students, etc. In
like working together, exchanging opinions, doing
business as equals, etc. are stressed. In Confucian
societies, vertical relationships are stressed.
This also explains why white Americans should be paid
more. They are higher than ABC in a vertical scale
Taiwanese carry in their mind.”
Furthermore, the Asian parental mentality also has no respect for privacy. For instance, my parents become very offended if I utter the phrase “It’s not your business” while they are asking me intrusive questions or attempting to pry into areas of my life that I don’t want to share with them. In their mind, everything in my life, including my secrets and personal affairs, are “their business.” And as such, they feel compelled to interfere and cast judgments.
This puts me between a rock and a hard place though, because I know that since me and my parents hardly agree on anything, even the most trivial things, they are likely to disagree with most things I do and decide. Therefore, it’s obviously a bad idea to have them be involved in my personal affairs of course, since they will often disagree, interfere, and cast judgmental on my affairs. But on the other hand, if I protest their right to interfere, question me, and judge me, then they get offended and angry because since I am their son, and see everything in my life as “their business”. It’s simply a conflict for which there is no logical resolution. And that’s how the endless arguing and bickering in Asian families that go nowhere work.
You’d think that people have the common sense not to keep repeating the same methods that lead only to negative results and endless arguing, but not in the Asian mentality. Instead, they prefer to repeat cycles of fruitless arguing over and over. Asian mentality does not seek to change tactics when negative results occur, but prefers to rigidly stick to the same ways even if they don’t work, expecting others to change. Hence, another reason why I say that Asian mentality is very narrow and tunnel-like in its scope and nature.
self-sacrifice syndrome in public confrontations
This one is weird, and I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but I'll try my best. Though as mentioned, Oriental families have this overpowering need to be critical, negative and condemning toward their own, when it comes to the public, they suddenly are compelled to be the complete inverse, showing pure humility. So much humility in fact, that they save face by surrendering in almost any public confrontation they encounter, preferring to concede a dispute rather than fighting it out. There are exceptions of course, but this is the general way. I'm not sure why it is, but it seems to be a form of self-sacrifice syndrome.
In fact, this carries over to my family in a weird way. If I ever tell my parents about ANY public feud or dispute I have with ANYONE, they have this weird illogical tendency to automatically actually take the other side against me! Believe it or not, that's what they always do. And they do this even when its clear that I am in the right or have been wronged. For instance, if a waitress misdescribes what I ordered and doesn't compensate the mistake (something unprofessional in
This defies almost all reason to a Western mindset, but that's just how the "Taiwanese way" is. As you might have guessed, such a way is a pet peeve to my outspoken, stubborn, persuasive nature, but it's something I have always had to deal with, which leaves me flabbergasted since this Taiwanese way of perpetual surrender in all disputes goes against all my beliefs.
One way such emotional controls are utilized was speculated on by one of my list members.
people here are governed
by two emotions,
FEAR and GUILT." I think this is a result of both
points above. People fear (authority) because they
are ever present. Social relationships are mostly
vertical. People feel guilty that they may not be
measuring up to social roles they must fulfill. Am I
a good student? Am I a good worker? Am I a good son? etc.”
Taiwanese students do not study out of interest or curiosity, but out of FEAR from parents, the school system, and society who judge their self worth and value by it, threatening to shame them by making them “lose face” if they don’t do well, hence the GUILT.
But the funny thing is that the vast majority of what they study is never used in real life, so in the big picture, it’s all for nothing, but a mere disciplinary method as well as a classification system to rank the worth of people. This academic system that determines people’s worth was developed to define the lines between social classes long ago in ancient times, and unfortunately has never changed or evolved, hence making them a backward society.
Also, another peculiarity is that because they study out of fear and guilt of duty, most Taiwanese students who study for hours every day still have little knowledge about things. And this is obvious just from conversations with them.
As the list member commented:
is why most Taiwanese
students have little
knowledge about things, even
though they study 8 - 10 hours per week."
How much of their study is motivated by social role
they are fulfilling and where they would end up in
the vertical scale of society?? How much is
motivated by curiosity and search for truth??”
when you have conversations with people from
Suicides caused by the gospel of exams
this “gospel of exams” is taken to ridiculous
extremes where it can even become
a matter of life and death. In the most extreme cases, such
dishonor is brought upon failing students that some even ended up
lives over it. You’ve probably heard on the news
the tragic story of this
happening frequently in
Assertiveness is not a valued quality in Taiwanese and Oriental societies. While assertiveness is encouraged and valued in
Many of the standards of politeness and impoliteness are reversed in
fact, Taiwanese do not like to touch others, not even hugging their
friends, etc. For some reason, their girls are afraid to be
hypersensitive about it, and act like scared stray cats that are afraid
petted. They seem to have an ultra-sensitive nervous
these things to me are examples reflecting a mentally unhealthy
I’ve even heard that some married couples in
The idolization of “white people” in Asian cultures by their media is apparent. For instance, in Asian countries models with a Eurasian look (semi or partly Caucasian) are displayed the most prominently in commercials and city billboards. And the top movie stars and models tend to have sharper narrower Caucasian-like noses than the typical flat Asian nose.
Same goes in my ethnic country
Here is an example of what I mean. In
Americans are not treated like Americans. Instead,
they are treated
like normal Taiwanese people - mere peasants. A conflict
arises here in
that they are accustomed in
as a matter of fact, if you’re a minority, you are never
considered an American
culture and mentality of
Due to the backward repressive nature of
99 percent of East Asians in general
cannot hold an intelligent conversation. They are very simple and can
only talk about simple practical things. They do not love knowledge or
wisdom, only work and money. They are pure conformists with no
independent thinking. Even among the educated East Asians, there is
still no independent thinking. Educated Asians may be more worldly and
cosmopolitan, but their knowledge is limited to pop culture and
mainstream media topics. They still do not think outside the box. And
they definitely cannot write the
kind of articles like I do here. There
seems to be a rigid singularity in their mentality
and train of thought. It's in their communication
style, words, and stiff expression. In fact, when
interacting with them, I often
feel like they
are trying to stuff my mind and thoughts into a very tight box, as if
contracting it. It feels awkward and
In my estimate, it seems that Taiwanese people and East Asians view things from a 2 dimensional thinking pattern. In forward thinking and expansive societies, people use at least a 3 dimensional thinking pattern. And not to brag, but I tend to view things in a 3 and sometimes 4 dimensional thinking pattern (demonstrable by the many articles and expositions on my site). Therefore, it is very difficult and awkward for me to connect with East Asians on a mental level. When you try to explain variations or different angles to them, it seems to be over their head and makes you feel like you are overanalyzing or talking about things that aren't there to them. It feels like trying to explain algebra to a dog. What's odd is that they actually EXPECT me to be like them and are confused as to why I am not as narrow and simple as them.
As an example
and one dimensional view of life, in
The thing is, most of the things I do (such as writing this article) don’t fit into either of those two categories, so I have a hard time explaining myself and what I do in my life, to such types of Taiwanese people, even though I speak near fluent Taiwanese.
Another big difference between me and mainstream Taiwanese people is that I love ADVENTURE while they love ROUTINE and live for it. Many Taiwanese people are happy to work 7 days a week, often in a little shop right in front of their home (which is often part of their home itself) never going anywhere, even in their own country. That kind of rut in life makes them comfortable, safe, and happy. Well obviously I can't connect with them in that area, knowing how I am.
Like the Americans, the Chinese and Taiwanese (as well as the Japanese and Koreans) have this belief that the primary purpose of life is to work. According to Confucian values, work is a virtue, and Oriental societies have taken that to heart to the extent that they live and breathe it. Therefore, the diligent Taiwanese worker or business owner who works 7 days a week, many hours per day, is actually proud of it, feeling no resistance to it, for in their minds, they are somehow more virtuous for working more than the person who works 5 or 6 days a week. Strange mentality indeed. But that’s how so many Orientals and Asians are. Also, there is the Confucian belief that suffering is a virtue too, so to “suffer” while working is considered good for you, and hence many Chinese employers enjoy seeing their workers toil and suffer, pretty sadistic indeed.
don’t care that this completely prevents them from developing
other ways, mentally, physically, spiritually, or culturally.
wisdom goes, nothing in extreme is any good. In my view, the
work is to earn one’s living, meeting the need for shelter
and food, so that
one has the free time to do what one wishes to do, whether its pursuing
interests, hobbies, development, or spending time with one’s
too many Taiwanese and Orientals take it way beyond that, so that
in life exists for them other than working. Perhaps they were
to think this way by what the ancient feudal lords in
Unfortunately, many Taiwanese and Orientals do not have any interests or passions outside of work and school. In fact, they consider it odd and improper to have interests outside of school and work. A few hobbies to relax yourself is ok, as well as physical activities to keep you in shape, but intellectual interests and passions are frowned upon. People are expected to conform to their duties and work hard, not think critically or in unconventional ways. They believe that interests outside of work and school detract from the real function of life, which is to duty to work, school, and family. Of course, the tradeoff for them is the benefit of specialization, for if you only focus on one thing and put your energy toward it, you are much more likely to succeed and excel at it. That much is true, and it's partly why Japanese companies are so successful. Therefore, this single mindedness approach does have its benefits. But it creates people that I just don't relate to, aren't attracted to, don't admire, don't want to emulate, and don't find interesting.
Examples of extremities
Asians in the
Some of the more extreme bunch also believes that having free time is a sin or bad thing, contrary to Western mindsets. In fact, there is a common phrase in Taiwanese language used to describe someone who meddles in other people's business, and it goes like this "He/She has already eaten and has too much time on his/her hands” which in Taiwanese is “Ja ba schoo yin”. This implies and reflects the mentality that having free time to do the things you want is a bad thing; very odd indeed. No wonder why their potential is so limited, with most never evolving around robots with singularity of thought. If you condemn having free time, then you condemn the individual’s ability to evolve, grow, and expand in his/her own way.
These things above are ludicrous and distasteful, as well as bizarre. Not only are they bizarre, but they are uninteresting and unattractive as well. Now I have no problem with things that are bizarre or weird, as long as they are interesting, such as ghosts or UFO's. But when something is bizarre, as well as uninteresting and distasteful, then it is pointless as there is no reason to try to understand or meld with it. And again, it’s ironic that the extremity of all this goes contrary to ancient wisdom and Buddhist teachings that moderation, not extremity, is the key to a harmonious life.
If you’re going to be working for an Asian boss or employer who harbors any degree of traditional Asian mentality, watch out! And try to find an alternative. Asian bosses are well known for being VERY frugal and stingy when it comes to paying their employees and workers, or spending money on anything at all. They often try to pay you as little as possible, and are notorious for trying to weasel their way out of paying you at all, even if you’ve done your job. And they like seeking loopholes to use against you to deny you your pay, and you never know when they will do that.
those who have extensive experience teaching English in countries such
Furthermore, they tend to have a sadistic desire to make their workers suffer, and love to overwork them too. They see such suffering as a virtue attached to glory and honor, as if work is not worthwhile unless one suffers, which is pretty sadistic and masochistic if you ask me. And they also feel that one’s duty should be to work hard for the mere sake of working hard, even if little reward or benefit is involved. In their insular mentality, the ideal person lives and breathes their work, and if they don’t, then they are seen as idle and disloyal. It’s the Asian way and mentality, very repressive, backward, unintellectual and sadistic as well. And unfortunately, this sadistic desire to see suffering in workers applies even to those they give measly pay to.
know there are stories out there from white foreigners who claim
that their Taiwanese girlfriend was "wild in bed". But there
are also many reports of UFO's and Bigfoot too. What they
have in common is that whenever I go look, I don't see anything.
Perhaps they are wild in private (how else does the
population reproduce?) or have a fetish for white foreigners, but I
have never experienced it, nor can I
imagine it. I can only logically surmise that the extremely
frigidity of Taiwanese women which is their basic nature, in a private
bedroom would only result in a stoic guilt-ridden performance where she
barely puts anything into it and doesn't even know what to do. Either
way, there is no question that they are prudish as hell on the surface
I know there are stories out there from white foreigners who claim that their Taiwanese girlfriend was "wild in bed". But there are also many reports of UFO's and Bigfoot too. What they have in common is that whenever I go look, I don't see anything. Perhaps they are wild in private (how else does the population reproduce?) or have a fetish for white foreigners, but I have never experienced it, nor can I imagine it. I can only logically surmise that the extremely frigidity of Taiwanese women which is their basic nature, in a private bedroom would only result in a stoic guilt-ridden performance where she barely puts anything into it and doesn't even know what to do. Either way, there is no question that they are prudish as hell on the surface at least.
One explanation by one of my readers went as follows.
repressed society." Honest intellectual inquiry or
focus on sexual pleasure would endanger social harmony
and order so important to
and oriental family values are perhaps unparalleled in the world in
their stability, loyalty and solidarity. Divorce among
is extremely rare, perhaps the rarest in the world (much lower than
couples for sure). Parents are always there for their
children, and stay
together through thick and thin. Somehow, perhaps because of
silent, passive, non-expressive nature and lack of personality,
conflicts rarely arise in Oriental couples. They seem to have
dedication and commitment to each other that supercedes
any self-interests, personality clashes, or chemistry issues between
them. And children tend to take care of their parents as
well, even into
their adulthood. It is not uncommon in many
Oriental countries for
children to live with their parents throughout their lives, even
opening up a
business under their home on the street for all to manage, which is
common in cities and towns in
However, this can also be a double edged sword because there is a downside to this. If families are this solid and unbreakable, it also means that the children feel a sense of obligation and duty to always live near their families, preventing them from moving away to a place more suited to them with better opportunities. Thus, their potential is severely limited, out of a sense of guilt and obligation toward their parents, who will instill them with this too. Unlike Western cultures which emphasize the needs and potentials of the individual, Asian cultures tend to prioritize the needs of the family and society over the individual, hence the self-sacrificing nature of many Orientals.
is a big problem in countries like
The pros and cons of having a typical Asian wife
One well traveled person who had been to over a hundred countries, the same one who said I was probably the most atypical Asian male he’s ever met, told me that in his experience and observation, Asian women tend to make very good wives and have superb domestic skills. But if you want to discuss philosophy or have intellectual conversations with them, forget it, for they are very duty-oriented and rigid. I told him that was my observation as well. Therefore, that is the pro and con of having a typical good Asian wife. And of course, whether that is good or not depends on your standards and expectations.
One guy who had Taiwanese girlfriends before remarked:
“I had two
girlfriends in the
past, but we
broke up, as i found that they didn't express themselves and rarely
initiated any interesting conversation. Reading
wonder if, even if i had met a nice girl, i would be faced with all the
JASC problems u raised. I like filipinos, but as u know they do have a
reputation for wanting to immigrate, and i don't meet any young ones
Taiwanese people generally see two categories of people, Taiwanese and foreigners. But Taiwanese Americans who grew up in
As a result, since Taiwanese people tend to be closed minded and do not seek to understand others, they do not know what to do with people who don't fit into their categories, and so usually just forget about them or humor them, unless of course, they are blood relatives of these Taiwanese Americans, in which case they will feel obligated to treat them like family.
Generally, Taiwanese women like only two types of men. The typical traditional type likes traditional typical Taiwanese men. But the newer generation types who idolize Western culture and life though, like WHITE American males. Taiwanese American males are neither of course. So, they neither see them as typical Taiwanese (due to their mentality, language, and culture, being completely different from theirs) nor as American because they're not white. Hence, they are a freak that doesn’t fit into their categories.
I have noticed though, that the type of white guys that Asian women tend to marry tend to also be closed minded, conservative, or shy themselves as well. Hence, like attracts like, or complements each other in the right ways, producing a workable synergy.
I am a very unique blend in that I am a Taiwanese American with a European/Latin mentality and soul. However, those who stereotype automatically assume that as a Taiwanese American, I will have Taiwanese traits. So to them and others who are interested, I present this summary of key differences between my traits and those of typical Taiwanese and Chinese people.
Although Taiwanese/Chinese people are usually very kind, possess a rigid sense of morality and conscience, and have rock solid family values, I have many incompatibilities with them in the areas of mind, soul, values, beliefs and lifestyle. Here are some of the key ones.
1. Taiwanese/Chinese people are natural followers and conformists in both mind and lifestyle. They see obeying society and authority as the only possible path in life without alternatives. Thus, they are only comfortable by "following the pack". Rather than thinking for themselves or thinking outside the box, they think as they are "supposed" to think. They do not "dare to be different".
Therefore, if you are too different from them, they don't know what to do with you and often just ignore you. You see, Taiwanese/Chinese people lack any interest in trying to comprehend those who are different from them. Probably, this is because they are not curious intellectuals, but are workaholics and followers driven by duty who live to conform. Thus, they do not relish being unique or different, nor are they interested in understanding those who are. Instead, they have a tunnel vision mentality in which life is all about "following" rather than thinking for yourself or creating something. In addition, they are very strict and serious about their ways.
On the other hand, as a freethinker and freespirit, I like to think for myself, even if it goes against conventional lines. And I relish being unique and different. I am not afraid to go against the majority or crowd if I feel I am right. To me, truth and free expression are the most important ideals, not conformity. Rather than being limited to a one-dimensional practical mindset, I have a multi-faceted perspective that incorporates both practicality and imagination/creativity. Being naturally inquisitive, I seek to understand different people and what they are about. And as a writer, I am constantly thinking, musing and asking questions.
2. Taiwanese/Chinese are workaholics with few other interests in life. Almost every Taiwanese person has a strong desire to be a workaholic. In fact, this desire is so deeply ingrained into the Taiwanese culture and soul that if you don't have it, they think there is something wrong with you or that you are some kind of freak.
Like the American/Anglo-Saxons
mindset, they "live to
work" and usually work 6 or 7 days a week, having few or no other
interests. Even when they are rich enough to retire and not work
of them still want to continue working because they get bored to death
empty if they don't. They wouldn't know what else to do, sadly. Like
As for me, I have more of a European or Latin mentality and soul toward life. For instance, I do not measure my life in terms of career progress, but by the variety of rich experiences I've had. I am an eclectic and Renaissance type of man who lives for intellectual and artistic pursuits. And I am deeply philosophical, inquisitive, and existentialist in nature. Also, I am wild, passionate and romantic, yet cultured, artistic and intellectual at the same time (a rare combination of traits for a Taiwanese or American, but not for a European or Latin). Thus, I am more like an Italian, Frenchman or Spaniard than a Taiwanese or American.
So, to the typical Taiwanese person who gives me a puzzled look when they find out that I don't have a desire to be a workaholic, I say this, "Sorry buddy, I respect you and all, but we are different creatures driven by different things."
3. Taiwanese/Chinese people, like
most Americans, tend not
to talk to strangers unless it's business related or on an "as
needed" basis. They only meet new people through mutual friends and
socialize only within their own clique. This is especially the case
women. As a result, the average Taiwanese/Chinese person's dating
social circle is severely limited to the few in their clique, closed
the rest of the world's population.
Outside one's clique, other people are like an "off limits
zone" to them, similar to how it is in the
Well I don't like countries like
that. I like meeting
quality people and beautiful women. So I am happier in countries where
people are open and sociable (not just kids and old people like in
Thus, only those that get in early have opportunities to meet others or get acquainted with nice available women. Or those that have the "right" connections, which only a few will have of course. But even if you do have good connections, the number of people you can meet will still be miniscule compared to those you can meet in countries with open free-flowing inclusive social cultures.
4. Taiwanese/Chinese people and society tend to be extremely "square", prudish, inhibited, conservative, tight, strict, proper, serious, submissive, and hung up about sex. (Thus, they would be suitable candidates for conversion to Protestant Christian religious sects, which idealize and emphasize such traits.)
As a result, they tend not to be very fun to hang around, as they never really "let loose", but are constantly obsessed with work and duty 24/7. After all, people who are too "square" are not much fun. Also, Taiwanese parents tend to be control freaks and worry-worts who try to create co-dependency in their children.
It's no wonder then, that on internet
forums for those
seeking sex, such the one on WorldSexGuide.com, many have said that
In my experience, Taiwanese women who are wild, uninhibited and horny are like UFO's and Bigfoot. Sure, I HEAR stories ABOUT them, but I never SEE or EXPERIENCE them! And everyone who claims to know some that I've asked to show them to me has FAILED to do so or come up with some excuse. Whatever. Thus, I conclude that if they exist they must be extremely rare, and certainly not easily available to the average guy. Most Taiwanese people I've known tend to marry their first or second partner, so not many have had many partners. The society is way too square for "sexual exploration".
In contrast though, in the
neighboring Asian countries of
As a freespirit/freethinker, I feel
suffocated by all this.
I love action, adventure, fantasy, imagination, fun, desires, sex and
women, none of which are encouraged in a pragmatic Taiwanese society
naturally in it. Instead, everything feels repressed and subdued. In
In short, I would have to say that
Thank you for reading. I believe and hope that this presentation sufficiently explains to those who expect me to have Taiwanese traits, why they are mistaken. As explained above, these incompatibilities and key differences between me and my fellow Taiwanese people make me feel like an alien among them, of a different species. They don't understand me and I don't understand them. The only kindred spirit I feel with them is in language and race, for there exists a comfort zone and level of trust between Taiwanese people that non-Taiwanese cannot feel, which is hard to put in words. But in terms of my mind and soul, no way. We couldn't be more different.
Now, it is true that most Taiwanese people do seem to share the traits described above, at least in my experience and that of those who I've talked to. But I guess every general pattern and rule has exceptions, so I happen to be one in this case.
So to the typical Taiwanese person who approaches me assuming me to be like them, I say this:
"Buddy, I respect you and all, but we are just different creatures driven by different things. Now, if you wish to try to understand me, I will help you to do so. But odds are, you won't be interested or you will feign interest out of politeness only. If that's the case, then so be it. To each his own."
and recommendations for dealing with
traditional Asian parents
Though Oriental people are often very kind and hospitable, the reasons cited above make me feel that their culture and country is not right for me.
If you are an Asian American like me who feels the same way, and wondering how you can deal with your JASC minded Asian parents, here are some recommendations.
1. Give affirmation to them. This is a standard bonding technique in psychology and human relations. Basically, you restate the other person’s words and content, summarizing them in your own way, to affirm to them that you acknowledge and understand them. Do this first when you disagree with them and are about to give protest back to them. By doing so you show that you are listening to them, and thereby make them feel obligated to listen to you in return. By developing that connection first, you increase the chances of them being receptive to hearing what you have to say and why you disagree with them. Nowadays, many Oriental parents will allow you to disagree with them as long as you maintain a boundary of respect for them. And by maintaining respect, you also increase the chances that they will agree to some kind of compromise in the case of an irreconcilable disagreement. This approach is best used in conjunction with the next one, called the “Zen approach”.
2. The Zen approach. Developed by Asians ironically, this approach basically utilizes the basic Zen principle of non-resistance and going with the flow, used in martial arts as well. In Tai Chi or Judo, for example, the practitioner is taught not to exert force “against” the opponent, but rather use their own energy against them in non-resistance, going with the flow of it instead of against it. This either renders an attack harmless, neutralizes it, or even causes damage to the attacker exerting force against you. Likewise, in our case, if you argue back with a strict controlling closed-minded Asian parent, you only fuel their controlling nature even more, making the conflict worse, which in turn perpetuates you to retaliate back even stronger, creating a vicious cycle.
The Asian parent will continue this cycle an infinite number of times, even if it never works and nothing good every comes out of it, simply because they don’t know any better, for it is simply the only way they know how. Remember that you cannot convince them that you’re right using logic, reason, inspiration or common sense. Their thoughts are almost completely circular in nature, which never seeks to expand but rather to only reinforce itself. They were not taught to discuss things in open exchange with their children, who are considered below them on the vertical hierarchy, but to train and teach them to obey and keep their place and duties, for they view their relation to you as a strictly command-obey relationship. And neither is it their strategy to evaluate their methods and results to find out what is or isn’t working and what needs to be changed. No, they will continue doing things that don’t work, simply because it is “the way”. You cannot depend on them to change their approach, instead, that is what YOU have to do.
Instead, rather than resist them or argue back, you simply AGREE with or AFFIRM their critical comments and lectures. This quells the energy they project at you, allowing it no outlet to become stronger or more intense, and decreases the chances of them repeating it again later. This approach is more effective if you express agreement with them of course, and I suggest you do so if the issue is so trivial that it doesn’t really matter either way. But if it is an issue that does really matter, then you can just use the affirmation approach with them, expressing your disagreement with them afterward, as in the first approach. By using this Zen approach, you decrease possible tension build up between you and them, which heightens the chances of open communication, rapport, receptiveness, and compromise.
Also, when expressing your disagreement to them, remember to use “I” language rather than “you” language. You do this simply by phrasing your statements in terms of their relation and significance to you such as “I feel”, “I think”, “I want”, “I need”, “My position is this”, etc. rather than making statements at them like “You are so”, “You never”, “You did this”, “Because of you”, etc. By doing this, you help them to view your situation more objectively and calmly, rather than in a heated exchange of finger pointing, which fuels emotion rather than reason.
If the above approaches don’t work, then you may have to try to move out, but try to remain on amicable terms with them by utilizing the two approaches above, for you may need their help someday and healthy families are always integral to a person’s overall well-being.
Or, you can try this. I have heard accounts of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series doing wonders in opening up the hearts and minds of Asian parents. Therefore, you can try giving copies of that book series to them as gifts. If necessary, there are copies available in other languages that you can order as well. You can get them for dirt cheap prices at your local used bookstore or at www.half.com (has very dirty cheap music CD’s as well as used books, with most popular titles available).
However, if you an older Asian family relative or friend suddenly comes and gives you rude unwanted advice, lectures, or criticism, which often happens in Oriental families, you can give them this new single page declaration statement I wrote up just for this purpose, which you can find at http://www.happierabroad.com/Declaration_Asian.htm
In spite of all this, remember that Taiwanese people are known to be kind, good-natured, hospitable, giving people full of conscience and morals. And their cuisine is exceptionally well prepared and tasty, with a great variety, and very inexpensive as well. In fact, Oriental cuisine in general is internationally renowned as one of the best, if not the best in the world, on par with Italian and French cuisine, but with even more variety. So try to see the positive as well.
My own father urged me to try to be sympathetic to the seeming repressiveness of Asian mentality as well. In his words:
Asian are usually very reserved, polite and hard working people. They were brought up to respect authority figures (such as teachers, police), older people and their family members and friends. It is also the way to survive in that kind of society. Japanese is the extreme example of all these characters. Loyalty also plays a very significant part in their culture. If you work too many companies, you will have hard time finding a company that wants to hire you, because they see you as unloyal.
this right or wrong? Hard to say.
It is a culture they grew up, not their choice.
You can like it or hate it, but not criticize it. Asian are
used to this. This is their way to advance. Most of them work all their
in a clummy
job and are very happy, because they
feel happy that they have a job to go to and feed
They are happy to have a roof over their head. They don't dream about travelling abroad, see other
Furthermore, though he is strongly pro-Taiwanese, he admits that much of what I write in this treatise is true, though he urges one to be sympathetic about it:
is also true that
Asian men and women, especially men,
concern about study hard and getting good job and have very
little interest or know very little outside of that. It is the
made them behave that way. Without good grade, they can't
higher education. Without high education, they can't find good jobs.
good jobs, they can't have the houses, cars and the women they
start a family. They also have responsibility to take care of their
brothers and sisters and older parents. This is Asian tradition that
are young, your older brothers and sisters and parents take care of
you, and it
is your turn when you grow up. So, you see, they don't have many
study hard from beginning. Life is so boring, right? This is
different than western tradition. In
We brought you here when you were 3. You are foreign to Asian culture and tradition. You have your reason to dislike Asian culture. I urge you to learn and understand more about the background why Asians behave that way. You don't have to like it, but please try to understand it.
Let me close with some advice given to me by my spiritual advisor on this matter. Perhaps it will serve as an inspiration to you too:
“ Well Win, the good news is .... That you find it "shocking" ... and not acceptable. This is how things begin to change, and that is good. Remember these parents have their own samskaras, past baggage, and it is the model of reality they have to work with. Basically we are all programmed to some degree, whether we like to think so or not.
Anyway, as you say, all things considered you ARE fortunate. Something that might be interesting for you to contemplate... from another whole perspective is .... what brought you to chose the particular set of parents that you did? Apparently there was something that they could offer you that you felt you needed.. otherwise you would have chosen different parents.
Of course karma enters into all of this also. These are the mysteries of life that CAN be known, or at least better understood if we take the time to learn how. IT takes a willingness to do some real inner work, but it is probably worth it so that your current life situation will make more sense to you.
How amazing it all is when we eventually realize that our own Higher Self is judging none of this but is simply witnessing your whole play of life with blissful detachment... while the impure EGO ... goes on and on thinking THIS is Good and THAT is Aweful and on and on. What a Play Winston Wu has created .. this time around : ) And to think... what we do right now is setting the whole stage for our next "action adventure" : ) Peace, Faith.”
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share.
Taiwanese and Chinese people are not afraid to say to someone directly "You are fat" or "You've gained weight". They even said that to foreigners too, who told me so. But in the states, it is VERY inappropriate and rude to do that. It seems to be their way of passing petty judgment on others.
Also, table etiquette manners is an area of life in
Journalist concurs with my observations about Taiwan