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Where to go after Taiwan?

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Where to go after Taiwan?

Postby ryanx » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:34 pm

I have been in Taiwan for exactly four years now and my tolerance for the country and it's people and culture is at an all time low.

Over the past four years I tried in so many ways to make a life here and find ways of coping with all the noise and pollution and crazy behavior on the roads and endless number of scooters and general lack of respect and consideration for each other and the environment and of course the most important aspect of making a life somewhere: learning the language so I could be independent and live something resembling a normal life.

No matter how hard I try and speak Chinese, it is futile. They are always trying to 'help' me by practicing their broken and basic English or looking surprised or giggling or running away and sometimes completely freezing.

I am so exhausted and stressed by this daily battle of telling them off for answering me in English when they have clearly understood my Chinese that I avoid going out or having the absolute minimum contact with them, which is no way to live, especially as I am a very talkative, lively, sociable kind of person.

Example: (in Chinese) Can I have a small hot coffee? Answer: (in English) Do you want sugar and milk?!

(in Chinese) Why do answer me in English?

(in English) because you are a foreigner!

If this happened once a week or even once a day, it would be tolerable. But it happens with every other person. Imagine every other person you meet on a daily basis reminds you that you are a foreigner in some way or other; body language, behavior etc

Whatever is making them act in this subservient manner to a perceived westerner is just pathetic and sad...again, especially as they treat Filipinos and indonesians as second class citizens with very little rights or freedoms.

In short, any respect I might have had for them has eroded considerably over the years. This is not on an individual basis as there are some wonderful, enlightened individuals, but more to do with the society as a whole - and not always necessarily anything directly to do with me as a foreigner; such as noise and pollution and bad driving which affects them all.

It is just one thing too many. As a 52 year guy, with no family of my own, no real language skills, a crappy teaching job, and a culture that is not inclusive or relaxed about my presence, I am finding it hard to stay here any longer.

I admit, for the first couple years especially, I enjoyed the new dating opportunities and the younger, more feminine and beautiful women than anything I was used to in the west, but that is wearing a little thin now and I just don't have the same vigor and enthusiasm.

So the question is where to go next? I love the more fun-loving, relaxed Philippines and the couple of times I visited I really enjoyed the warmer culture and the very lovely Filipinas, but I know for sure I would find it so hard to live in the physical environment with even more noise and pollution and and lawlessness and low quality of life and food etc.

I don't want to go back to the toxic west and certainly not Canada where I lived for a few short years. I grew up in UK and could go back, but the loneliness (lack of females) and dark cold winters would kill my spirit.

I don't hear too many recommendations for South America - I would have loved a nice life in somewhere like Mexico or Colombia...but I read they have their own challenges.

I don't want to waste time trying to learn yet another language especially at my age. I feel stuck with no good match ABROAD to make me HAPPIER.
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Re: Where to go after Taiwan?

Postby Rock » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:56 pm

I'm sorry to hear Taiwan has not worked out that well for you. You're perceptions seem to tend a lot more towards Winston's than mine. What part of the island do you live in? I think traffic and pollution in Taipei have improved dramatically over the years and public transport (MRT and bus lanes) plus a new trend towards riding bikes with new automatic bike rental racks have made getting around Taipei City and even New Taipei City (newly named suburban ring around Taipei) a snap. If all the Asian capitals I've visited, I think Taipei is the easiest to get around in.

As for the scooters, I sure hear you on that one. They produce so much annoying noise pollution that I wish the government would start restricting them or perhaps require a switch to more quiet models or even electric bikes like you see in Shenzhen.

As for your Chinese, I suspect you speak it with too much hesitation or perhaps a very thick accent. Cus I can go days and weeks without any local person in Taipei speaking to me in English even though I go out and about a lot.

From what you've written, there is prolly no perfect country for u. In Phils, u won't have much of a language issue. But the noise, food, and pollution are much worse on a like-for-like basis (capital vs. capital, 2nd or 3rd city vs. 2nd or 3rd city, rural area vs. rural area). In almost all of South America, Central America, Caribbean, and Mexico, you will have a big language issue if you don't already speak Spanish and/or Porto.

Perhaps your best bet would be to live in some sort of expat ghetto in Thailand - say Pattaya or Chiang Mai. Traffic and pollution wouldn't be so bad, lifestyle would be very easygoing, and even language is not so much of an issue, especially in Pattaya. Perhaps you could even explore expat communities which are emerging and growing in the likes of Cambodia.

The other possibility which comes to my mind would be to move around more frequently if you could somehow structure it to work for you financially. Truth is, there's probably no perfect country for any of us and if we stay too long in any one place, it's likely we're gonna get burned-out at some level at least. One reason I don't tire so much of Taiwan is that I travel to other areas of the world for a significant part of each year.

If you're still in Taiwan when I get back in late January or early February, and fancy meeting-up in Taipei, just let me know. Good luck.
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Postby Winston » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:33 pm

How about Thailand or China? Have you looked into those countries?

Taiwan is just plain dull and boring. Nothing special. And the social vibe feels awfully closed and repressed, not natural and open like in Europe. It hurts me every time I see a hot girl that I want to go to but have to restrain myself because it's not appropriate.

If you've been here for four years, do you know any girls you can introduce me to?

How do you feel about the fact that it's taboo to say anything about Taiwan within Taiwan? Doesn't that suck that something is so bad and terrible but you're not allowed to talk about it?

I thought you were given good treatment as a foreigner with extra hospitality? Is that not true?

I also hate the drivers and roads here. The conditions are terrible and annoying and stupid.

My problem is the opposite. I prefer people to speak to me in English, but they keep speaking to me in Chinese and assuming that I'm one of them.

If you think you're treated weirdly, check out what it's like to be an Asian American in Taiwan. Here is an excerpt from a new article I'm writing that will be the most taboo article ever written about Taiwan for sure. It will explain why I have an even more awkward situation in Taiwan than you do.

Excerpt from my upcoming article "An Asian American's Awkward and Negative Experience in Taiwan":

"First, while you might think that a foreigner in Taiwan experiences a culture shock, there is an even bigger one experienced by Asian Americans (like myself) in Taiwan which is not publicly talked about and runs deep into one's very own identity.

You see, as an Asian American, I have basically no place in Taiwan. I don't fit into the local category or foreigner category. I'm definitely not a normal local because I'm Westernized and think/act like a Westerner, which is not how a Taiwanese is expected to be. In America, I am used to being treated like a Westerner, so it is awkward to be treated like a local Taiwanese in Taiwan by everyone constantly. It's like everyone has this FALSE assumption about you everywhere you go, so that you always feel PRESSURE to be something you're not. Really weird. A Taiwanese is expected to be a lot of things I am not - repressed, humble, shy, meek, conformist, narrow, small-minded, insular, obedient, group-oriented, passive, indirect and non-assertive. In contrast, I am direct, assertive, outspoken, blunt, intense, passionate, romantic, flirtatious, relaxed, open-minded, broad-minded, intellectual, philosophical, freethinking, curious, adventurous, melodramatic, self-centered and individualistic. On the other hand, I don't fit into the foreigner category either, because I'm not white. So I don't get the foreigner hospitality treatment in Taiwan, or the attention from girls either. Thus, I really have no natural place in Taiwan and am constantly treated and viewed with false assumptions.

So you see, being in Taiwan is a very awkward experience which messes with your identity. And it explains why Asian Americans do not usually like to live in Taiwan like other foreigners do. After all, who would like his/her identity messed with everyday? It gets annoying after a while when everyone carries a false assumption about you, expecting you to act, talk and think like a local Taiwanese. Eventually, it makes you feel invalidated. And that's not a good or positive thing at all.

So in that sense, an Asian American (or Taiwanese American) experiences an "identity shock" in Taiwan, not just a culture shock.

And if that wasn't bad enough, it gets worse. That was just the tip of the iceberg. It gets much deeper and more taboo, which I will go over in the next section."
Last edited by Winston on Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Winston » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:41 pm

Ryanx,
Check out my pros and cons list of Taiwan. Is there anything you want to add to it?

http://blog.happierabroad.com/2012/11/t ... -cons.html
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

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Postby Banano » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:45 pm

Multiculturalism....simply doesnt work, get it
its not just matter of picking country and buying flight ticket thinking locals will embrace you, if you are reject in your own country, you will be reject in any other country..
blacks in america are still adapting and they have been there for a few centuries and you want to be taiwanisee in 4 years..get real
this is becoming miserable abroad
No wonder AW think that everyone who goes abroad to date is a loser
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Postby xiongmao » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:40 am

Vietnam? Cambodia? Laos?

If you don't have yellow fever then South America has some good opportunities.

Speaking Chinese is hard for Western people. Unless you learn to speak with the local accents then people won't really understand you.
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