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The Regrets of a Foreign Bride

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

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The Regrets of a Foreign Bride

Postby momopi » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:59 am

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/ ... 17,00.html

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008
The Regrets of a Foreign Bride
By Natalie Tso/Taipei

"I cried so many times, it was selling human meat!" says Autumn Fan of her experience of being vended by a marriage broker. Fan had been one of about one hundred young women offered to a group of Taiwanese bachelors during a matchmaking trip to Vietnam. Twelve at a time, the girls were seated on a sofa for the men to eyeball.

"I wasn't particularly happy or sad about being chosen," says Fan, who was 19 at the time. "My mind was just blank. I had no idea who this person was, what my future would be." They had dinner, a silent date for lack of a common language, and then she married the foreigner so her parents could earn $1,000. Her three sisters later made the same choice.

As less desirable men find themselves snubbed by Taiwan's sophisticated women, one in four grooms in Taiwan now marries a bride from Southeast Asia or mainland China. "There's a strong urban bias in Taiwan," says Professor Hsia Hsiao-chuan of Shih Hsin University's Graduate Institute of Social Transformation Studies. "That means farmers and blue-collar workers have a hard time finding wives." But the rejected and dejected are treated like kings by professional matchmakers, who take them on trips to browse for brides in poorer parts of Asia.

Like any other, the resulting marriages can be heaven or hell. "The husbands fall into two extremes," says Keh Yu-ling, director of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation which serves the new immigrants, "simple shy guys who dote on their wives, or men with no respect for women." Fan had a taste of both. Her husband was sweet, she said, until he lost his job and began abusing her. When he broke her rib, she divorced him. Fan is grateful, however, for her freedom and the custody of her daughter. Of her ex-husband, she says, "We do our part as wives and mothers, but when they're unhappy, they say things like 'I bought you.' Why couldn't he say he married me?"

Hsia blames the ruthless dealers: "They push men to buy a product and even teach them how to control their wives". Ads with lines like "Vietnamese Wife for $6,000," "Guaranteed Virgin" and "Refund for Runaways" were rampant before the government regulated content. Even then, more recent ads promised: "Vietnamese make ideal wives: pretty, tidy housekeepers, obedient."

For railway worker Lee Shuang-chuan, they were also disposable. He derailed the train that carried his second Vietnamese wife. As she was recovering from the "accident" in the hospital, he injected her with deadly snake venom  it turned out he had taken out a $2 million accidental death insurance policy on her. As police began zeroing in on him as a murder suspect, Lee hanged himself from a tree. His first Vietnamese wife died of "a snakebite" four years earlier.

Lee's case, as well as public outrage over reported instances of virtual slavery, have drawn attention to the vulnerability of foreign wives here. To prevent the women from being purchased like commodities, Taiwan enacted a law last month cracking down on the foreign-bride industry and its advertisements. The law requires Taiwan's roughly 500 matchmaking agencies to become non-profit organizations and adhere to stricter regulation, or face recurring fines of up to $15,000.

Despite the new law, many Taiwanese have yet to embrace the roughly 366,000 Asian women who moved here to marry. Vietnamese wife Sho-chen complains that people on the street say to her, "You Vietnamese wives only cost $8,000, do you know how expensive a Taiwanese woman is?!"

Still, Taiwan does offer Southeast Asian wives free language classes and the opportunity to work or study upon arrival. Some have adjusted well: Mae-kwang, for example, whose delectably addictive Vietnamese restaurant near my home has three busy branches all within a minute's walk.

But many of the wives who came to Taiwan in search of a better life end up incurably homesick. Fan and her three sisters all regret their decisions to marry Taiwanese men. One of the sisters also got a divorce after her husband had an affair. Autumn Fan sighs, "If our family had more money, we wouldn't have done this. We always get together and talk about how much we miss home."
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Re: The Regrets of a Foreign Bride

Postby Mr S » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:35 am

momopi wrote:Despite the new law, many Taiwanese have yet to embrace the roughly 366,000 Asian women who moved here to marry. Vietnamese wife Sho-chen complains that people on the street say to her, "You Vietnamese wives only cost $8,000, do you know how expensive a Taiwanese woman is?!"


Perfect example of why dating a NE Asian woman from the richer countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea would be a pain in the ass cause they demand too much and everything is ties into how much of your money you can spend on them and how much they can spend on themselves.

What a bunch of bitches in Taiwan! Putting a monetary value on some ones life. No wonder Winston despises the woman and social scene there, it must be worse than the states!

I also read somewhere that if you are a Taiwanese with darker skin you are looked down upon also as you don't meet the definition of what is beautiful.

Well in 20-30 years I bet Vietnam will be in a better economic position than Taiwan as I'm sure the island will have merged with China by then either by force or economic pressure.
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Re: The Regrets of a Foreign Bride

Postby ladislav » Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:40 pm

If and when I get tired of the Filipinas' bs, I know where to go.

http://www.catinasia.com/cgi-bin/page.c ... ia&p=index

http://www.vietnamcupid.com/

$8000 is not a bad deal. Not sure tough if they like to date/marry "white devils". I have heard VNese men throw stones at their women who are accompanied by non Orientals.
Last edited by ladislav on Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mr S » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:14 pm

When I was visiting Vietnam my friend had a GF in Danang and he had little cultural or social issues there, actually he had more girls hitting on him then he could handle and Danang is kinda a small city.

I hung out with some girls in Hanoi who were showing me around the city and didn't have any issues, one even took me to her house and it was quite nice; upper middle class in Vietnam i think.

I think if you are a professional and act like one you will not have any issues there, the girls are just as cute as Filipina's; I think smarter and more serious like Chinese women.
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Postby momopi » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:07 pm

Generally speaking, VN women here are more aggressive than TW women. In Southern CA, in schools with large VN and TW population, the girls tend not to get along, because the VN girls would go after the TW guys, and TW girls expect the guys to kiss their butt before dating them. TW girls consider VN girls to be lower socio-economic class. VN girls, in turn, look down on PH girls as lower class. The spiteful attitude carries over from HS to college.

From 1990s to 2005, TW men flew to VN in doves and brought back some 120,000 VN brides. Average age for men was 35-36 and women 25-26. Most men were smart enough to choose a more mature girl in her 20's. The ones that opted for 18-19 year olds often have control issues.

Around 2005-2005 the VN mail order bride business in TW got out of hand. Late night TV shows displayed VN mail order brides like home shopping network, and VN bride ad boards decorated the freeways. The government finally cracked down and they were mostly gone by 2006-2007. But marriage brokers still operate and there's an influx of Korean marriage brokers to VN today. There's about 20,000 VN brides residing in SK. The VN government has imposed more strict rules and require marriage brokers to be licensed.

While TW accepts foreign brides, they don't make it easy for them to get citizenship. See article below for requirements and info.
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Postby momopi » Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:10 pm

http://taiwanreview.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?C ... Item=23746

The Biggest Leap

Some foreign spouses work as caregivers for the elderly and infirm. (Photo by Chang Su-ching)

Publication Date01/31/2007
BylineZOE CHENG

More than 350,000 women have left their homes overseas to come to Taiwan to marry. Slowly but surely they are changing the nature of Taiwanese society.

Taiwan has long been understood to have four major ethnic groups, aborigines and three kinds of Han immigrants, the Holo, Hakka, and post-1949 mainlanders. But in a speech on November 2004, President Chen Shui-bian added a fifth group to the list--foreigners. Their inclusion was an acknowledgement of both the size and the impact in recent years of marriages between Taiwanese and overseas nationals. Currently there are about 133,000 spouses of resident Taiwanese from Southeast Asia, along with another 233,000 from the People's Republic of China. More than 90 percent of these cases involve a Taiwanese man marrying a woman from abroad. Currently, in one in four newly registered marriages in Taiwan, one of the partners is either Southeast Asian or a PRC national, while one in seven newborns is the product of a mixed marriage. The result is that Taiwan is turning from ethnic homogeneity to diversity, and its insular society is suddenly having to cope with an influx of large numbers of outsiders. How these newcomers are integrated into mainstream Taiwanese society and the changes their presence will inevitably bring about are some of the most important cultural questions Taiwan faces.

The Newcomers

On a Sunday morning in late November, a deserted tobacco-processing building in Meinong, a small town in southern Taiwan famous for its traditional umbrella making, is bustling. The building is the headquarters for one of the area's more active civil organizations, the TransAsia Sisters Association, Taiwan (TASAT). When it comes to the problems of foreign spouses integrating into Taiwanese society, TASAT works at the coalface. There are some 600 Southeast Asian spouses in Meinong, and the organization plays a pivotal role in helping them adjust. It is also a place where they learn Chinese, keep in touch with fellow countrywomen, discuss family problems and how to negotiate Taiwan's bureaucracy and learn about their legal rights. Only a year ago the women of TASAT took over this site and transformed a derelict building into a thriving local office. Now they are moving to a more central location in the township to be able to reach out to more foreign spouses.

Helping out with the move are Fanny Lee, Jiang Jung-jen and Shu Keh-yah, all of whom are Southeast Asians married to locals. For these women, the moving day is nothing special; it hardly compares with the trauma of uprooting themselves from their home countries and coming to Taiwan in the first place. When they made up their minds to marry Taiwanese in search of a better life, they were barely able to imagine their future lives; all they had were vague ideas about Taiwan's comparative wealth and some scant knowledge of their husband-to-be's financial circumstances.

Shu, for example, met her husband through a commercial matchmaker in Cambodia. "He arrived in Cambodia to meet me and the next day we were on the plane to Taiwan," she recalls. "Cambodia was then in turmoil and soldiers were all over the airport carrying rifles," she says.

Lee, an Indonesian, first met her husband on a group blind date arranged by marriage brokers and was attracted to him. "I didn't dare tell my coworkers that I was going to marry a Taiwanese," she says. "They would think I was being cheated." Negative media reporting in both countries has tended to stigmatize such marriages, and the families involved often prefer to keep a low profile.

For the women, the principal reason for marrying a Taiwanese is to be able to emigrate to a substantially wealthier country. It is not just that they are attracted by the higher standard of living available in Taiwan, but also that they hope to be able to send more money home to their families than they could expect to earn if they stayed and worked in their own countries. Immigrants from the Philippines and Thailand have been entering Taiwan for marriage since the 1970s but it was not until the 1990s, when Taiwanese businesses rapidly expanded into Southeast Asia, that this started happening in really large numbers. Figures from last year show that 56 percent of Southeast Asian spouses were from Vietnam and another 19 percent from Indonesia, the remainder being from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines.

Demographic Deficit

Why are so many Taiwanese men looking abroad for spouses? Hsia Hsiao-Chuan, associate professor of social transformation studies at Shih Hsin University, points out that the majority of the males who marry foreign spouses are of low socio-economic status, for example, farmers or blue-collar workers. "They are economically disadvantaged and, as a result, socially marginalized and therefore find it difficult to marry," she says. According to a government analysis by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), part of the problem is simple demographics: there are 700,000 more males than females over the age of 15 in Taiwan. Amid this surplus of men of marriageable age, those at the bottom of the economic totem poll find if difficult to find partners locally. That in an age of quick and cheap transportation links they should look to Taiwan's neighbors for spouses is only natural.

That foreign spouses tend to marry men who are themselves at the bottom of the social ladder, that the marriages are arranged by matchmakers, and that their incentive is to better their own economic position leads to a number of prejudices toward them in Taiwanese society, with which they sometimes find it hard to cope. Even the name by which they are colloquially known, "foreign brides," raises hackles because it seems to emphasize that the spouses are outsiders in Taiwanese society and also only seems to refer to newlyweds, whereas some of the spouses have been married a decade or more. "Actually we prefer the term 'new immigrant women,'" a TASAT member says. "Except for the aborigines, all of us here in Taiwan are the descendants of immigrants. All that makes you different is your time of arrival," Shu, a founding member of TASAT, says.

The foreign spouses also sometimes find themselves the victims of a certain kind of snobbery which, perhaps contradictorily, holds them in disdain for marrying for primarily economic reasons and also for joining families generally at the bottom of the social ladder.

"Many people in this society think that foreign spouses are gold diggers or 'mail-order brides,'" says Ke Yu-ling, executive director of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation (PSBF), which has been devoted to assisting foreign spouses for many years. "But when some traditional males face the anxiety of continuing their family line or just want to get married, they will resort to matchmakers or relatives to find a wife, yet nobody in the relationship calls this a 'mail-order marriage.' Neither do I," Ke says. "No one will denigrate their own marriage." The spouses also reject the idea of a marriage which is not the result of a long love affair tending to be problematic, though this notion is common currency in the media.

Foreign spouses who marry into an economically disadvantaged household can hardly expect to live a gilded life, and this is especially true for those who find themselves in the role of caregivers for sick seniors--a situation met in 10 percent of marriages involving foreign spouses. The idea of marrying for money can be bitterly ironic to some foreign spouses. "Perhaps the first thing they face is economic pressure after getting married," Hsia says. Some foreign spouses find themselves the sole source of income at home if their husband loses his job or has difficulty finding work. "Many sisters' husbands have no jobs," says Jiang of TASAT, who is from Thailand. In her marriage she finds family obligations result in her under-utilizing her earning potential. Her mother-in-law demands her help in growing vegetables but, she says, "for me it's just a waste of time. They aren't growing crops for sale; it would be far more worthwhile for me to go out and get paid work." When they do go out to work, they can often find themselves severely overworked, being expected to be fulltime homemakers and fulltime workers as well, often working overtime or even double shifts if they can, to alleviate the family's tight finances. Ke claims to know of cases of young mothers from Cambodia trying to combine their tasks in the home with working in a factory from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

And, of course, there are always cultural differences and misunderstandings within the family to be overcome. "Many cases demonstrate the fact that both sides in a mixed marriage tend to overestimate their ability and capacity to deal with cultural differences," Ke says. "I heard a mother-in-law complain that her daughter-in-law didn't know anything except how to take showers," she says. But this kind of complaint merely shows the depth of the cultural misunderstanding. "In Southeast Asia, where the weather is hot, frequent showering is regarded as polite behavior. But the mother-in-law just sees it as a waste of water." These kind of conflicts might seem trivial, but too many of them can lead to intolerable friction within the marriage.

Talking the Talk

Of all the problems faced by Southeast Asian spouses, the most important to overcome has to be the language barrier. This not only affects the relationship of the "new immigrant woman" within her new family or the wider community, but also her chances of finding work. "The greatest difficulties a foreign spouse might have is the language barrier and adapting to the way of life," says Ke. TASAT's Fanny Lee says: "A friend of my father-in-law considered hiring me, but eventually didn't because I didn't know any Chinese characters." She also says that the language barrier also hinders her from learning about the outside world. The most pressing issue for her, therefore, is to learn Chinese. For a foreign spouse with some kind of professional qualifications, her employment chances are often limited because her professional credentials in her native country might not be transferable and she would have to take exams in Mandarin to become qualified in Taiwan. As a result, a lot of foreign spouses end up doing labor-intensive jobs.

The Biggest Leap

The language barrier not only affects job opportunities, but also the parental education a foreign spouse can provide. Foreign mothers are usually the main caregivers at home, but communication with their own children can be handicapped by language problems. Usually they do not speak their own languages with their children. "Their environment makes them feel ashamed of their mother tongues, and as a result they feel pressure not to communicate with their children in their own language," says Hsia. A recent survey by King Car Education Foundation indicates that only around 32 percent of children born to foreign mothers can communicate with them in their mothers' native language. Yet the children, surrounded by Taiwanese relations, can often become more fluent speakers of the local language than their mothers, and there are fears, according to Hsia, that this communication gap encourages children to look down on their mothers. Surveys by the MOI and by King Car Education Foundation have, however, shown to be false the popular canard, much disseminated in the media, that children of such mixed marriages lag in learning ability.

Civil organizations such as the PSBF had been offering foreign spouses free Chinese-language classes by themselves for years until government funding came along. In 2005, the central government started a NT$300 million (US$9 million) "Foreign Spouse Care and Counseling Fund" aimed at providing medical subsidies, community services and legal aid for foreign spouses, as well as offering language classes and counseling sessions. A hotline has been set up to provide counseling in six languages to foreign spouses, while the number of language and adaptation classes in cities and counties is expected to reach 500 nationwide this year.

Getting foreign spouses to take advantage of the facilities and opportunities offered is proving, however, slow going. "The government has allocated a great deal of resources in this regard, but only a few women take advantage of this program--approximately one in 10," says Ke of the PSBF. Reasons for low attendance might include a lack of information about the classes, transportation problems getting to and from class, or that the spouses have to work. To encourage foreign spouses to attend, the MOI also provides baby-sitter services when these mothers go to classes.

But another problem might well be that the dominance of her in-laws over a foreign wife's activities. Some foreign spouses are not allowed to go out except to work on family farms. "The marriage broker or the neighbors can dissuade the husband of a foreign spouse from letting his wife make contact with the outside world or learning too much about the society for fear she might run away," Ke says.

Turning Taiwanese

Chinese language ability has now been a requirement for naturalization. And while naturalization is not a requirement for being able to work--foreign spouses enjoy the right to work upon acquiring an Alien Resident Certificate after marriage--it is regarded by many spouses as essential for regularizing their position, for example, guaranteeing they can stay in Taiwan even if their husband dies or their marriage fails.

"An Alien Resident Certificate doesn't grant them political or economic rights," says Hsia. "For example, if a foreign spouse is the victim of domestic violence, and she isn't naturalized, she has nowhere to shelter. If she chooses to divorce, she is repatriated."

According to a law revised in 2005, a foreign spouse seeking naturalization must pass a basic language test in addition to providing proof of assets--either a monthly income above NT$31,680 (US$980) or proof of having saved a minimum of NT$380,160 (US$11,770) within a one-year period. In addition, they need to pass a basic knowledge test and have resided in Taiwan for more than 183 days a year for three consecutive years. Applicants are also required to give up their own nationality.

A foreign spouse can choose to take government-offered classes for up to 72 hours instead of the language or knowledge tests. However, Hsia thinks that Chinese language ability should not be a requirement for naturalization before Chinese language lessons are available to all foreign spouses. On top of this, the proof of assets requirement sets the bar unfeasibly high for many marriages involving foreign spouses.

Minister of the Interior Lee Yi-yang defends the requirements. "In comparison with other countries, our regulations are reasonable," he says, pointing out that the relevant stipulations are in line with those of other developed countries. "The common practice in foreign countries for a marriage immigrant to naturalize requires a period of three years," he says, also pointing out Taiwan's very liberal work rights: "We have granted foreign spouses the right to work upon acquiring an Alien Resident Certificate. Few other countries are so liberal," he says.

"After all, we do have our difficulties. The US has criticized Taiwan for human trafficking problems in recent years. There is indeed a certain percentage of women coming to Taiwan under the guise of marriage but who are actually engaged in prostitution. We have to clamp down on this," he says. Understandably, given its illegal and fraudulent character, there are no figures for how many women actually come to Taiwan for prostitution in this way, though it is estimated that, of those that do, about a third are from Southeast Asia and the remainder from China. This trafficking has also brought marriage brokerage services into disrepute--last year the government banned any new businesses registering as marriage brokerage services, and sent out warnings to those already legally registered--as well as having a negative effect on the social standing of legitimate spouses. Mechanisms for checking that marriages are genuine are also to be tightened.

By October last year, around 34 percent or 45,020 Southeast Asian spouses had attained ROC citizenship. "I've seen many foreign spouses who really want to settle down here, especially those from Vietnam or Cambodia. I usually tell them to give it a second thought before application, as they will have to give up their own nationalities," says Ke, "but many of them reply that there was no need to think about it. When they acquire citizenship, they're always very happy."

Shu of TASAT says that naturalization is still very hard for a Cambodian spouse. "The government always says that our certificates are fake. If this is the case, why don't they stop us from coming? We have come, married and had kids, but we can't get Taiwanese IDs," she says.

MOI officials say part of the problem is the almost complete lack of bilateral relations with Cambodia. For most countries, a lack of formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan does not prevent the carrying out of basic consular functions--visa issuance and the guarantee of documents, for example. But government agencies in Cambodia simply refuse to respond to Taiwanese requests for such things as verification of a person's status. Generally before foreign spouses enter Taiwan, they have to be interviewed at the Taiwanese foreign ministry's representative office in their home country. In Cambodia, however, there is no such office.

A Class of Their Own

The number of overseas spouses from China is, in fact, twice that of those from Southeast Asia. If less attention seems to be paid to how they integrate into Taiwanese society, it is perhaps because the primary problem of language does not exist in their case.

Chinese spouses, however, have their own problems. They come from a place deemed hostile to Taiwan. The complications of Taiwan and China's ambiguous formal relationship means that Chinese spouses fall under a set of Taiwanese laws different from those applying to spouses from other countries. Chinese spouses are excluded from the current Immigration Act, and are governed by the Act Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, which was promulgated in 1992. Accordingly, Chinese spouses are not classified as "foreign," but this does not mean they have an easier time bureaucratically. Far from it; it is actually more difficult for them to get ROC citizenship. First it takes two years to obtain dependent residence status after marriage, then another four years to get permanent residence. After holding this for two years, they can apply for naturalization, eight years after they first came to Taiwan.

They also suffer from inferior work rights. Whereas "foreign" spouses can work immediately on receipt of Alien Resident status, which is conferred in as long as it takes to process the paperwork after arrival in Taiwan, Chinese spouses cannot work freely until they have permanent residence, i.e. six years after arrival. Before this they must obtain a permit to work legally. There is more. For a Chinese spouse to work as a government employee requires another 10 years' residency in Taiwan after naturalization.

Making Newcomers Welcome

While debate continues about whether regulations are too loose or too harsh and what kind of resources society must allocate to mixed families, this takes place in a society that has yet to reach a consensus about how to respond to the changing composition of the population. Multiculturalism is promoted and emphasized by civil groups encouraging Taiwanese to enhance their knowledge--and abandon their prejudices-- about immigrants from Southeast Asia. But "it will take a long time for people of different cultures to achieve mutual understanding," Ke says. Meanwhile, the government pays lip-service to multiculturalism, but its policies are basically assimilationist in nature.

While an attitude shift would help alleviate some tensions between Taiwanese and the new immigrants, it doesn't effect a permanent cure. Hsia points out that the phenomenon of marriage immigration exposes big holes in the welfare system. "Foreign spouses have helped ease some problems in Taiwan's social welfare system. But if the fundamental issues in Taiwan's welfare system that have resulted in a serious decrease in Taiwan's birth rate and an aging society are not tackled, how much longer can they help?" Hsia says.

The perspective that immigrants will help enrich Taiwan culturally and enhance its competitiveness has gradually gained ground in this nation. Lee Yi-yang is unequivocal when it comes to "new female immigrants." He says: "Our stance is that we welcome these new Taiwanese mothers and new Taiwanese children with open arms. Taiwan is an immigrant society. Foreign spouses are an integral part of Taiwan's cultural landscape as well as a new power."

But this does not mean that government policy is clear cut. "Some [Taiwanese] have advocated tightening immigration controls, holding the view that these foreign spouses are of low socio-economic status, while others criticize the government for putting too many obstacles in the way of marriage immigration. The government has to be balanced in policy design," Lee says. As an example of striking a balance, the MOI has, since 2003, implemented the Assistance Measures for Foreign Spouses and Spouses From Mainland China, which aimed at helping these immigrants adapt to Taiwanese society. The nation is scheduled to launch an agency to take charge of all immigration affairs this year, and the new body is widely expected to make the process for marriage immigration considerably more rigorous. In the end perhaps, the desirability of marriage immigration may be decided by Taiwan's demographics. Taiwan needs more children and new immigrant women seem far more enthusiastic than many Taiwanese women about raising families.

On the afternoon of the day TASAT moved its office, some warm-hearted men in the township show up one after another to help. Speaking accented Mandarin or even Hakka does not affect their friendly interaction. Taking a break during the moving, Fanny Lee shares news with a confrere: "Mr. X just asked me if I can help him find a wife from my hometown." Such a request is not uncommon for these spouses. In the foreseeable future, there will be more "sisters" following in Lee's, Jiang's or Shu's tracks to settle here and raise a family with their Taiwanese husbands.
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Postby ladislav » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:06 pm

Mr S wrote:When I was visiting Vietnam my friend had a GF in Danang and he had little cultural or social issues there, actually he had more girls hitting on him then he could handle and Danang is kinda a small city.

I hung out with some girls in Hanoi who were showing me around the city and didn't have any issues, one even took me to her house and it was quite nice; upper middle class in Vietnam i think.

I think if you are a professional and act like one you will not have any issues there, the girls are just as cute as Filipina's; I think smarter and more serious like Chinese women.


Well, I guess then this is an illustration of one of those "it has never happened to me" things. Things were the same in Thailand- the people were nice and all until I actually moved and started living there. And after I learned the language his is when it hit me. Asians are hospitable, all right. Things chage when you want to get serious. But again I would not know.

Maybe I should get a job there, then.
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Postby Mr S » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:15 pm

Well they pay pretty good money over there, it's just getting a legit working visa is kind of a pain in the ass. But there is lots of work available there. I would go to Ho Chi men city rather than the other cities to work though as it has a better balance or work and nightlife available, plus the weather is warmer than the north.

My IELTS trainer runs a school in Vientiane. Laos. He was telling me teachers actually make pretty good money. Average foreigner teacher with a contract can make around $2000 American dollars a month with extremely low living expenses. You might be able to pull in a little bit more with a masters degree.

The owner is the IELTS examiner who trained me in Manila. Really nice guy, maybe you could work there if you want a slower pace of life and maybe he could even get you IELTS certified? Who knows...

http://www.vientianecollege.com/
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Postby momopi » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:54 pm

Mr S wrote:My IELTS trainer runs a school in Vientiane. Laos. He was telling me teachers actually make pretty good money. Average foreigner teacher with a contract can make around $2000 American dollars a month with extremely low living expenses. You might be able to pull in a little bit more with a masters degree.


Now that's off the beaten path... I'd love to hear more about his experiences in Laos.
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Postby Mr S » Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:17 am

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to talk to him as the training schedule was quite brutal. I was doing training for three days straight from 7am to 5pm, and he couldn't really discuss off topic unless I happened to come to class early before everyone else showed up or during one of the short breaks. Being in the Philippines the locals can get testy over the stupidest subjects that may offend them, especially when most of them are older turkey neck professors with their hair all chopped off and stuff, you know the kind of smart woman when after she turns 40 she decided to become A-sexual...

Anyways, I guess he has been living there since late 80's and loves it. Runs his own school, not married (I think he may be gay but don't quote me on it). He told me a bit about how it is over there. I guess the locals are very laid back and its one of the reasons why their country is so backwards as their culture is not really a motivated one. They are the kind to watch and see what happens he said, but he gave a more illustrious description which I can't quite remember exactly that was more telling of the culture compared to the surrounding ones.

Very little crime there as it is still technically communist, they only mess with the locals though. As long as foreigners stay out of the local politics they don't bother you. Vientiane city has most of the conveniences of modern life, although one may have to take a trip to Bangkok to pick up items not sold there from time to time. I guess they have DSL there. No commercialism as the government bans those stores and restaurants so it may be one of the few countries where there is NO McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, etc... Only local restaurants and stores for now, although he thinks it is inevitable that someone will pay a large enough bribe to let them in eventually.

He didn't really talk about much else. He mentioned cost of living is cheap although inflation is starting to take hold. You can rent a 4-5 bedroom house for around $300 a month. Pretty much you can live like a king there if you make over $1000 a month or have your own money in the bank. I guess the banking system is getting better and a lot of people that fled after the Vietnam war are now coming back with shit loads of money and reinvesting it in the country. Also people are maybe digging up money they hid a long time ago. He also mentioned the Chinese and Koreans are buying up property left and right, so it will probably be like Thailand in the future where the Chinese own all the land rights and lease it to others to use.

I guess he said if you want to see a bit of history before it disappears go there soon as over the next decade it won't be the same probably.

He didn't really talk about the woman there, although I already have an idea why...

Don't know much else other than they are probably closest related to Thai's in their cultural mannerisms, but still different enough to tell them apart.

If one finds the right places and has a business or teaching sense, one can be a foreigner and live and work off the beaten path. Unlike Africa where its often violent and unpredictable for foreigners sometimes to live, living in a 3rd world part of Asia isn't a big deal as most Asians are not really violent towards others in comparison to other nationalities. The Cold War politics of the past, pushing either communism or democracy fueled a lot of the infighting of the region, but its not really a common occurrence if you look at the history of the region. I would probably say SE Asia will probably be one of the safest regions to be over the next few decades as there isn't really anything to set them off. Even Burma with all its problems isn't really much of a regional issue, more internal just for them.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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Mr S
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