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Why is Taiwan so alienating, lonely, disconnected, negative?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Why is Taiwan so alienating, lonely, disconnected, negative?

Postby Winston » Tue May 08, 2012 4:55 pm

I have a question.

Every time I go out in Taiwan, esp if there's a lot of young people around, I feel so depressed, isolated and disconnected, as though I don't exist. No one makes any eye contact with me at all. And when people eat, they turn their head downwards, like solemn monks or something. It looks so repressed when they do that. I'm the only one who eats with his head up while looking at the people around me, which makes me feel freakish like the "odd one out" since no one looks back at me. I can't help but feel depressed and lonely by this. It makes me feel totally isolated and disconnected from others.

How do other foreigners here tolerate it? How do they live here for years on end? I certainly can't tolerate this. It's so damn depressing to see this everytime. I can't be myself. I can't make eye contact with people, can't flirt, can't open a conversation using English, etc. The whole thing is the most UNNATURAL thing in the world.

How do other guys tolerate it? I can't imagine I'm the only one who feels this way. Is there something wrong with me? I imagine I would feel the same way in Japan or Korea too, since everyone says there is no eye contact with strangers there either. Ask Ladislav, if you don't believe me.

Also, since no one in public here is talking to anyone they don't know, or cold approaching anyone, it feels totally inappropriate and "out on a limb" for me to approach any girls to start up a conversation. I just don't get good vibes from the experience at all. Other than Rock, I've NEVER EVER seen any guy, white or asian, here making cold approaches toward women to try to start up a conversation or flirt with them. It just isn't normal. People usually meet new people at parties/get togethers, or through mutual friends, similar to America. Cold approaches is not even part of the paradigm here, so it's not even an issue. It's also very depressing when you see a hot girl with a cute face, thin body, or sexy long legs, who totally ignores you and doesn't even look back at you - which makes it feel completely inappropriate to try to hit on her.

I'm sure people here are very nice and considerate deep down, but it's just so hard to break the ice. I've been to a few parties and picnics here, and people are nicer and more sociable there. But out in public, there is no eye contact at all, and that feels so depressing and deflating.

Can someone explain why this makes me depressed, in an objective way, without any victim blaming?

Most countries are not like this. Eye contact is normal in most countries. Keep that in mind.

My parents say this is normal and to not take it personally. But they are repressed themselves, and repressed people don't see anything wrong with other repressed people of course. Only non-repressed people do.

Am I a total misfit here, in terms of personality and communication style? What can you do about that?

Has anyone else experienced what I mean?
Last edited by Winston on Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:00 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Postby lavezzi » Tue May 08, 2012 6:15 pm

It seems as if you have a huge need for attention. Everyone needs some amount of validation or recognition, but when you feel a need for it constantly (like from people while they are eating) you are too reliant on others. In my opinion, the best way to live is by being mostly obscure. If you are given too much attention from others, you have to be concerned about your how you are perceived which makes you too reliant on other's approval. Yet if you are too isolated, you get lonely. In my view, it would seem the perfect solution is to have a good (i.e foreign) wife in a repressed country, whether that's actually possible is another issue.

Victim blaming? I've never heard a non-feminist say that before. Are you suggesting you are a victim here, as if others somehow owe you attention? It's true that developed countries are very repressed, but you chose to live in Taiwan. When you lived in the Philippines, a very non-repressed country, you complained to no end about various other things.
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Postby Falcon » Wed May 09, 2012 9:56 am

If you don't like Taiwan, why don't you go elsewhere then? To the Philippines, China, Thailand, or wherever you feel would be better. Or at least try a different part of Taiwan, such as aboriginal communities up in the mountains or the rustic eastern slopes around Taitung and Hualien.

After all, as the founder of Happier Abroad, you can post positive solutions and opinions about how people would be happier outside Taiwan and other developed but socially repressed East Asian societies. You've already done it for the good ole USA, but we're not the only one out there needing help. Now time for Taiwan. Let the series begin. :D
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Re: Taiwan/East Asia - My Depression from Repression

Postby Rock » Thu May 10, 2012 6:32 am

Winston wrote:I have a question.

Every time I go out in Taiwan, esp if there's a lot of young people around, I feel so depressed, isolated and disconnected, as though I don't exist. No one makes any eye contact with me at all. And when people eat, they turn their head downwards, like solemn monks or something. It looks so repressed when they do that. I'm the only one who eats with his head up while looking at the people around me, which makes me feel freakish like the "odd one out" since no one looks back at me. I can't help but feel depressed and lonely by this. It makes me feel totally isolated and disconnected from others.

How do other foreigners here tolerate it? How do they live here for years on end? I certainly can't tolerate this. It's so damn depressing to see this everytime. I can't be myself. I can't make eye contact with people, can't flirt, can't open a conversation using English, etc. The whole thing is the most UNNATURAL thing in the world.

How do other guys tolerate it? I can't imagine I'm the only one who feels this way. Is there something wrong with me? I imagine I would feel the same way in Japan or Korea too, since everyone says there is no eye contact with strangers there either. Ask Ladislav, if you don't believe me.

Also, since no one in public here is talking to anyone they don't know, or cold approaching anyone, it feels totally inappropriate and "out on a limb" for me to approach any girls to start up a conversation. I just don't get good vibes from the experience at all. Other than Rock, I've NEVER EVER seen any guy, white or asian, here making cold approaches toward women to try to start up a conversation or flirt with them. It just isn't normal. People usually meet new people at parties/get togethers, or through mutual friends, similar to America. Cold approaches is not even part of the paradigm here, so it's not even an issue. It's also very depressing when you see a hot girl with a cute face, thin body, or sexy long legs, who totally ignores you and doesn't even look back at you - which makes it feel completely inappropriate to try to hit on her.

I'm sure people here are very nice and considerate deep down, but it's just so hard to break the ice. I've been to a few parties and picnics here, and people are nicer and more sociable there. But out in public, there is no eye contact at all, and that feels so depressing and deflating.

Can someone explain why this makes me depressed, in an objective way, without any victim blaming?

Most countries are not like this. Eye contact is normal in most countries. Keep that in mind.

My parents say this is normal and to not take it personally. But they are repressed themselves, and repressed people don't see anything wrong with other repressed people of course. Only non-repressed people do.

Am I a total misfit here, in terms of personality and communication style? What can you do about that?

Has anyone else experienced what I mean?


1. Taiwan is a very introverted country. But as an introvert myself, I've always appreciated that. People including young women may mostly ignore me and not make eye contact if I don't do something to get their attention (ie approach them). But I've noticed that even the most attractive local guys get treated exactly the same way (ie its non-discriminatory and not personal). Therefore, it is no reflection on myself, its just their default behavior. So I don't feel bad about it.

2. Foreigners are often given special license to break unwritten social conventions here within reason (ie you can't go around grabbing girls asses with no repercussions). I've noticed that a lot of Taiwanese still have distorted ideas about how Americans and other westerners behave in their own countries. Many seem to believe we are from very sexually open socieites where almost anything goes. So when we approach them to talk or make friends, they may assume we are just behaving within our own cultural norms. Plus, they are easger to put on a friendly face and be helpful to outsiders. Fortunately, some are also curious about or interested in foreigners, our cultures, and of course English. Some Taiwanese girls who find Taiwan culture repressive may even seek out foreigne partners. Dating and/or marrying a local guy can mean subjecting yourself to control from his family.

3. Most of the girls my tenant has approached have had that introverted body language you write about. And he usually gets rejected. But after 20 or so approaches, he inevitably seems to find someone who warms up to him and becomes his friend and dating parter. And these girls are mostly attractive and very young. Just yesterday, I saw him outside my apartment chatting with a young neigbor girl who I always assumed was very closed and impossible to talk to. He told me they set a date to go to a nearby cafe next Tuesday. And she barely speaks any English. Another cute girl who he met at closing time in Luxy 99 (after a slew of shoot-downs) is writing about him on her Facebook page as a potential new bf. Numbers game seems to work for him as a foreigner. Apparently he is attractive enough to pull certain girls.

4. Winston, if you must stay in Taiwan, you should consider practicing Qi Gong? The basic moves are very easy to learn and can ultimately give you more self-confidence, help you not to care as much about how others behave, and to accept what you can't change.

5. If youi are interested, perhaps you can meet up with me and my tenant soon in Taichung for a diversion. Maybe if you watch a successful guy like him approach girls and get shot-down a lot, you will feel better too, lol.
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Postby momopi » Fri May 11, 2012 3:41 am

If cold approach isn't working, try warm approach.
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Postby Winston » Wed May 23, 2012 9:04 am

momopi wrote:If cold approach isn't working, try warm approach.


I have. They either ignore me as if I don't exist. Or they look at me briefly in fear that I'm some kind of criminal. It's very uncomfortable for sure, and discourages me from trying again.

A friend in Taipei told me that Taiwanese/Chinese are very good to you if they know you, but if they don't, then you essentially don't exist to them. That's a basic part of Chinese character. I don't know why. It's odd. But I've noticed it with Chinese in California too, for the most part.
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Postby Winston » Wed May 23, 2012 9:14 am

Ok I sent my above post in the OP to two white guys living long term in Taiwan (one of which has been living here for 10 years, as long as Rock has). One of them even berated me for considering the idea of "cold approach" in Taiwan. Here is what he said:

Hi Winston,

So, people here are efficient when eating. No talking, heads near bowls and eating their whatever. You are supposed to eat with your head towards the bowl, not looking around. What's your problem?

People here don't make much eye contact, which is fine with me. I tolerate this because I mind my own damn business and enjoy my meal and other activities. I can live here because I am comfortable here. I hate it when people make eye contact or stare. The only time no eye contact bothers me is when they don't make eye contact and they're the driver and I'm the pedestrian. Overall, it's NATURAL (for Asia, that is).

If you know you can't change their behaviour, don't get uptight. Yes, there is something wrong with you. Hahaha.

I get it about what really bothers you about Taiwan. "Cold approaches" put off girls here, and maybe you come on too strong. Stop complaining, and adapt. Observe what local men do, and copy. Girls are conservative here. Change your methods. Start slow if you want to meet a girl.

Here or back in Canada, I've never done cold approaches. It's dumb dumb dumb, because females anywhere think they are being treated like objects rather than human beings.

You're depressed because you aren't having things YOUR WAY. Life is not like that. Be like wheat and flow with the wind. Or better yet, make a windmill and turn that wheat into bread. If you resist adapting OF COURSE YOU WILL BE DEPRESSED.

Yes, you are a misfit. See you soon.


Oh well. He wasn't that sympathetic. But at least he was honest and did not try to misportray Taiwan as a pickup paradise.

And the other white guy who's been here for 10 years said this:

ya, this is kind of the way Taiwan is. or, i should say Chinese society and probably east asian society (i.e., korea, japan, china). i've actually tried to explain it too. chinese are very very nice and helpful if they know you personally. if you are a friend, they will really bend over backwards to be nice and helpful. but, for people they dont know, there really is zero connection. the reason i know that is because if you go in an elevator, you will see lots of girls fixing their makeup or their hair in the mirror with lots of other people in the elevator. they have zero self-consciousness about the other people in the elevator because they dont know them and its like they dont exist. for us, we would not be able to do that just because we would still feel their presence. but, for chinese, they dont know these people, therefore its like the dont exist.

you're right. it's tough. and it's one of the difficult things that ive had to deal with living in taiwan. and maybe why i like going to phil so often.

actually, i was just reading an article that a guy wrote in Japan that sounds very similar to experiences in Taiwan. you should check it out.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl2012 ... E.facebook


This is so true. Chinese are very good to you if they know you. But if you are a stranger, you simply don't exist to them. It's a strange characteristic inherent in Chinese people. I noticed this growing up in California around Chinese people too. This is common knowledge, so I don't know why it's not talked about publicly on any travel sites or programs.

The same guy later admitted that Taiwan often gets lonely, when I brought it up, which is rare since guys don't like to admit to loneliness since it exposes them to vulnerability. He said:

yes, it does feel very isolated and lonely here. sometimes i walk by restaurants and see large groups of chinese having dinner after work and know that i will likely never be invited to those kinds of gatherings. i've even tried to invite myself along to events like that, but i usually get, "i'll see if my other friends are ok with it", which usually means no.

sure, i guess u can post what u wrote last time. as long as i can see the video u are talking about haha


And of course, my retired therapist friend, who is an expert in psychology, told me that Taiwan is socially not much different than America:

Hey Winston,

Of course it is normal to feel the depressive feelings you are feeling in the sterilized culture of Taiwan. You are in a place where you feel isolated and have few people that understand you and so far as I know, you do not even speak the local languauge. As I told you, I have been to Taiwan and it is not much different (to me) socially than being in the United States.
..........
You probably need to make a move and plan your trip to China because otherwise you will probably sink more into a depressive funk. It is quite normal given your lack of sexual, lack of connection and feelings of being misunderstood (which are real feelings) by your family and the culture at large.

Remember, it is not YOU--it is THEM!!!! You are just in a place that doesn't fit your needs and it is beginning to wear on you. Find a place that fits your needs and the rest will take care of itself.


These letters validate what I've been saying all along. Obviously, Taiwan is not the easy "pickup paradise" that Rock, Repatriate and Dragonboy like to claim. Here it is only appropriate to meet people at parties, social gatherings, work, school, and maybe online - just like in the US. But not casual chat ups in public places. What this means is that in Taiwan, when you see a super hot sexy girl walk by, which is nearly everywhere, you can't do anything but watch her pass by, like a missed golden opportunity, just like in the US. It's VERY excruciating to experience that over and over again!
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Postby Winston » Wed May 23, 2012 9:16 am

My Theory: 3 Reasons why Taiwanese give me bad vibes

I have a theory about why I often get bad or negative vibes from Taiwanese strangers whenever I go out in Taiwan (which makes me prefer not going out) which makes me feel like I'm in some kind of "anti-matter universe" where everything is inversed. Here it is:

First, since no one is making any eye contact with strangers since it's the Chinese way to completely ignore the existence of strangers (while being good to those they know), perhaps me doing the opposite puts them off? Out in public, I'm actually TRYING to make eye contact with others in order to start a conversation, since I hate being completely ignored. Perhaps this is too abnormal in a Chinese environment, esp since I have a Chinese face. And so it sort of "creeps" people out (even though it wouldn't in other countries). If I was a white person, it might be more acceptable to do that, but an Asian guy isn't supposed to be trying to look at strangers in the eye, so I am not expected to be different.

Second, I don't carry a repressed, stiff, inhibited facial expression everywhere I go, like Chinese/Japanese/Koreans typically do. So perhaps my NONrepressed face acts like a mirror that subconsciously makes Taiwanese face their repressed nature and see it for what it is, which makes them uncomfortable?

Third, since I'm a spiritually liberated person who does not need to conform and does not live in fear, but lives in a world of freedom and possibilities, perhaps this creates a different kind of aura or energy field around me, as opposed to the typical "fear aura" that Taiwanese have from their conditioning? Like most East Asians, Taiwanese are brought up to live in fear and insecurity in order to make them compliant, obedient and conformist, so it eventually becomes part of their aura/energy field. Therefore, if I have a different kind of aura that is not fear based, perhaps that too puts them off and makes them uncomfortable because again, it acts like a mirror that makes them subconsciously realize the negative energy emanating from them, which they don't want to face?

What do you think? Does this make sense? Is this explanation plausible?
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Postby PaulB » Wed May 23, 2012 5:09 pm

You're overthinking it. Start by losing weight.
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Postby pete98146 » Wed May 23, 2012 5:53 pm

Winston, I think what you are experiencing is becoming a universal trend. Sadly the new generation of people communicate via electronic gizmos and most human interaction has been thrown out the window. Hard to imagine the "Seattle Freeze" is taking over the world....but it is slowly but surely.

But you can't take this personally. It happens to everybody. Just because you are a "throwback" and prefer a lot of face to face social interaction doesn't mean others do. I might be stating the obvious but the more developed the nation, the worse this problem becomes. Heck, atleast back in Phils, women will talk to you, smile and generally interact with you.

Question: Do you miss Phils at all? I know you had much disdain for Angeles. Any thoughts on moving back Phils and trying Davao, Cebu or Baguio?
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Re: Taiwan/East Asia - Depression, Repression, No Eye Contac

Postby green1976 » Wed May 23, 2012 7:45 pm

Winston wrote:I have a question.

Every time I go out in Taiwan, esp if there's a lot of young people around, I feel so depressed, isolated and disconnected, as though I don't exist. No one makes any eye contact with me at all. And when people eat, they turn their head downwards, like solemn monks or something. It looks so repressed when they do that. I'm the only one who eats with his head up while looking at the people around me, which makes me feel freakish like the "odd one out" since no one looks back at me. I can't help but feel depressed and lonely by this. It makes me feel totally isolated and disconnected from others.

How do other foreigners here tolerate it? How do they live here for years on end? I certainly can't tolerate this. It's so damn depressing to see this everytime. I can't be myself. I can't make eye contact with people, can't flirt, can't open a conversation using English, etc. The whole thing is the most UNNATURAL thing in the world.

How do other guys tolerate it? I can't imagine I'm the only one who feels this way. Is there something wrong with me? I imagine I would feel the same way in Japan or Korea too, since everyone says there is no eye contact with strangers there either. Ask Ladislav, if you don't believe me.

Also, since no one in public here is talking to anyone they don't know, or cold approaching anyone, it feels totally inappropriate and "out on a limb" for me to approach any girls to start up a conversation. I just don't get good vibes from the experience at all. Other than Rock, I've NEVER EVER seen any guy, white or asian, here making cold approaches toward women to try to start up a conversation or flirt with them. It just isn't normal. People usually meet new people at parties/get togethers, or through mutual friends, similar to America. Cold approaches is not even part of the paradigm here, so it's not even an issue. It's also very depressing when you see a hot girl with a cute face, thin body, or sexy long legs, who totally ignores you and doesn't even look back at you - which makes it feel completely inappropriate to try to hit on her.

I'm sure people here are very nice and considerate deep down, but it's just so hard to break the ice. I've been to a few parties and picnics here, and people are nicer and more sociable there. But out in public, there is no eye contact at all, and that feels so depressing and deflating.

Can someone explain why this makes me depressed, in an objective way, without any victim blaming?

Most countries are not like this. Eye contact is normal in most countries. Keep that in mind.

My parents say this is normal and to not take it personally. But they are repressed themselves, and repressed people don't see anything wrong with other repressed people of course. Only non-repressed people do.

Am I a total misfit here, in terms of personality and communication style? What can you do about that?

Has anyone else experienced what I mean?



So?
This is exactly what i live in Paris day after day,months after months and for many years now.
So what?

Just work for it..just work for moving where you want to move,there's no other choice,nobody will change for you or for your feeling.
Taiwan is what it is..doesn't need to turn around who is right who is wrong,are chicks in Taiwan communicative or not...

You really should get the f***ing out of there asap or your mental sanity will take a hard blow.

I'm telling you this,having the possibility to look at myself how i become miserable after a few weeks coming back from SEA and how crazy thinking start to come back as:"maybe i have the wrong attitude,maybe it's me who is doing bad and the place is not so toxic"

This is all bollocks,this is coming from somebody who cannot anymore tolerate the aggression,the aggression to be somewhere and feeling like a stranger,sharing nothing in common with the values that the others are sharing.
A perfect receipt to be classified as a sociopath haha.

Yeah f***ing sociopath as they say..they like to label people and have only the chemical pills as the absolute answer to calm down all these frustrations.
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Postby Dogboy86 » Wed May 23, 2012 8:30 pm

lavezzi wrote:Victim blaming? I've never heard a non-feminist say that before. Are you suggesting you are a victim here, as if others somehow owe you attention? It's true that developed countries are very repressed, but you chose to live in Taiwan. When you lived in the Philippines, a very non-repressed country, you complained to no end about various other things.


Very good post Lavezzi! The problem lies in no matter where you go there you are... If one dose not tackle their personal demons they will find them no matter where they go.

"Those who refuse to acknowledge their own shortcomings or failures often blame others for them."
"Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity"!!!
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Postby Billy » Wed May 23, 2012 9:08 pm

Winston, sounds like you want to hack in to the taiwan culture. Maybe you try to win this game at home. But it looks that you don´t have enough firepower to get girls and others interested in you. :)
The thing is you don´t bring any value to these people. What could they get from you?
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Postby FREEDOM1 » Wed May 23, 2012 10:41 pm

Life is simple

if you dont like it - leave - go somehwere else

thats the culture, its never gonna change for you

go to a country where you feel connected and happy

why keep banging your head against a wall

This should be obvious
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Postby smallcheese » Thu May 24, 2012 1:12 am

Dogboy86 wrote:
lavezzi wrote:Victim blaming? I've never heard a non-feminist say that before. Are you suggesting you are a victim here, as if others somehow owe you attention? It's true that developed countries are very repressed, but you chose to live in Taiwan. When you lived in the Philippines, a very non-repressed country, you complained to no end about various other things.


Very good post Lavezzi! The problem lies in no matter where you go there you are... If one dose not tackle their personal demons they will find them no matter where they go.

"Those who refuse to acknowledge their own shortcomings or failures often blame others for them."


+1

Winston, if you get a bad or negative vibe from strangers in Taiwan when you go out, have you ever considered the thought that it might be you that they're reacting to? The Chinese culture has always been one where you trust no one that you don't know and trust can only be built over time. It works that way in business and it carries over to societal interactions as well. Given all of the stories in the world of psychos and terrorists running loose in the world, it's no wonder that Taiwanese people have their guard up in public with strangers they don't know.

If your online business is successful, then I would suggest that you follow your own advice from Harry Browne, who you quote at the end of your emails. Go somewhere else! You can't change the society you live in now so stop wasting time trying to understand why. Go somewhere else that will meet your needs. And report back to us please. :-)
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