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Taiwan - Philippines comparison

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Taiwan - Philippines comparison

Postby ryanx » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:28 pm

I have lived in Taiwan for about 2 years now...teaching English the whole time. I tried so damned hard to pick up the language (despite my advanced years lol) but to no avail. I got and get so many silly reactions to and non-co-operation with my efforts that I finally had to give up.

Not to mention people's incredulity that a foreigner could say and understand some basic words or phrases or numbers and that there is no need for everyone to constantly say 'hello', 'thank you' or 'solly' in English at every turn to show 'respect' to the Westerner (I say Westerner and not foreigner - because they treat other SE Asians like slave labor including restrictions on their movements and basic human rights and freedoms).

I am just tired of people always 'helping' me out, making me self conscious about being different and the endless curiosity. Some days I feel I am trapped in Groundhog Day, with things endlessly repeating themselves with no prospect of change.

I am a very sociable and talkative guy. I like to interact with the society around me and not just a few foreigners which I usually have nothing in common with - either because of age or very diverse backgrounds etc...and although I have no major problems with the Taiwanese as a people (except maybe their crazy driving, pollution and noise) but living like a dumb and mute (forced on me by the culture) does not really appeal to me. It is frustrating in the extreme. I get by with necessities of life. But there is a whole dimension missing!

So I need to get out of here!

I spent about 3 weeks in Philippines in February traveling to a few places and although I was just holidaying and relaxing they seemed to me to be far more sociable and relaxed as a people and I felt 'normal' again after a long while. I could communicate so much better with them.

My eventual destination, sooner or later, is to live and retire in the Philippines.

So I am asking people on the site who have lived for long periods in both countries, at least one year or longer, to provide whatever insight they have and compare different aspects of life - everything and not just dating. Of course I know and understand Taiwan is relatively much more affluent than Philippines with a much better infrastructure and products and services.

I just need the perspective of a typical 'Joe' foreign Westerner - whoever that may be!
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Re: Taiwan - Philippines comparison

Postby Rock » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:15 pm

ryanx wrote:I have lived in Taiwan for about 2 years now...teaching English the whole time. I tried so damned hard to pick up the language (despite my advanced years lol) but to no avail. I got and get so many silly reactions to and non-co-operation with my efforts that I finally had to give up.

Not to mention people's incredulity that a foreigner could say and understand some basic words or phrases or numbers and that there is no need for everyone to constantly say 'hello', 'thank you' or 'solly' in English at every turn to show 'respect' to the Westerner (I say Westerner and not foreigner - because they treat other SE Asians like slave labor including restrictions on their movements and basic human rights and freedoms).

I am just tired of people always 'helping' me out, making me self conscious about being different and the endless curiosity. Some days I feel I am trapped in Groundhog Day, with things endlessly repeating themselves with no prospect of change.

I am a very sociable and talkative guy. I like to interact with the society around me and not just a few foreigners which I usually have nothing in common with - either because of age or very diverse backgrounds etc...and although I have no major problems with the Taiwanese as a people (except maybe their crazy driving, pollution and noise) but living like a dumb and mute (forced on me by the culture) does not really appeal to me. It is frustrating in the extreme. I get by with necessities of life. But there is a whole dimension missing!

So I need to get out of here!

I spent about 3 weeks in Philippines in February traveling to a few places and although I was just holidaying and relaxing they seemed to me to be far more sociable and relaxed as a people and I felt 'normal' again after a long while. I could communicate so much better with them.

My eventual destination, sooner or later, is to live and retire in the Philippines.

So I am asking people on the site who have lived for long periods in both countries, at least one year or longer, to provide whatever insight they have and compare different aspects of life - everything and not just dating. Of course I know and understand Taiwan is relatively much more affluent than Philippines with a much better infrastructure and products and services.

I just need the perspective of a typical 'Joe' foreign Westerner - whoever that may be!


How old or at least what age group (20 something, 30 something, etc.) would 'Joe' be in? That will have an impact on his experience in each place.

BTW, once you carry yourself in a certain way (as if your completely familiar and at home in your environment) and speak fluent colloquial style Mandarin, you may find that locals no longer treat you much like a laowai. It comes natural for me now because I've been in Taiwan so long and its quite a small place. I feel familiar with about everything. Once in awhile, I miss the old treatment so much, I feign being a non-Chinese speaking newbie.

I've also learned that getting this body language down (carrying yourself as if you are localized) comes in handy in certain tourist areas of less developed countries. For example, I get badgered a lot less in places like Patpong by the touts or Pattaya by the Indian tailors when I adopt this sort of attitude and look.
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Postby ryanx » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:02 pm

I should have mentioned 40 something. To be honest I wasn't looking for how to carry myself advice. I have traveled all over the world extensively and I am very familiar with Taiwan and Taiwanese mentality. Of course speaking the language fluently makes a HUGE difference - it makes all the difference! That's why I tried so hard to learn it. But now I have completely lost the motivation and I am bitter and pissed off and I am not prepared to put the time and energy in any more. I just can't be bothered. Too much effort for too little return. I am just not comfortable here on a daily basis and I am hating it more and more. I don't want anybody to notice me, to make a fuss, to treat me any differently. Their mentality and mine just simply don't mix too well. Ladislav knows what I am talking about.
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Postby pete98146 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:11 pm

I'm married to a lovely filipina and I've vacationed quite a few times in Philippines. Of all the things that you mention in your post, the fact that you are sociable and talkative would make you a good candidate for Philippines.

I'm more of a Type B personality so Phils can be too much for my Scandianvian blood :) My wife and I are still weighing the options of retiring in either Chiang Mai or Davao. Splitting time between both cities would be optimal.
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Postby ryanx » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:27 pm

Are you in Taiwan at the moment pete98146?
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Postby Rock » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:47 pm

ryanx wrote:I should have mentioned 40 something. To be honest I wasn't looking for how to carry myself advice. I have traveled all over the world extensively and I am very familiar with Taiwan and Taiwanese mentality. Of course speaking the language fluently makes a HUGE difference - it makes all the difference! That's why I tried so hard to learn it. But now I have completely lost the motivation and I am bitter and pissed off and I am not prepared to put the time and energy in any more. I just can't be bothered. Too much effort for too little return. I am just not comfortable here on a daily basis and I am hating it more and more. I don't want anybody to notice me, to make a fuss, to treat me any differently. Their mentality and mine just simply don't mix too well. Ladislav knows what I am talking about.


Sorry to hear that you're bitter and pissed-off after just 2 years here. I have seen several other westerners grow to hate this place over time as well so I'm not too surprised. East Asia or at least Taiwan just seems to clash with certain personality types. I sure hope you manage to leave ASAP.

Regarding the comparison you requested, Winston is qualified (lived in each place for over a year) and will see eye-to-eye with you on Taiwanese being less sociable than Filipinos. But sometines he misses threads and posts so if he doesn't respond soon, you might wanna send him a heads-up PM.
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Postby Winston » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:22 pm

Rock is right. If you feel "uncomfortable or out of place or tight" in Taiwan, then it's not for you and the energy is not flowing in a positive manner on your terms. It is a very homogenous culture, similar to Japan though not as extreme. People are nowhere as relaxed as in the Philippines. Westerners tend to feel more comfortable in the Philippines because it's more westernized (in terms of language and culture, not attitude) and more relaxed.

If you talked to Ladislav, he would have advised you to use each country for its benefits. In this case, you would use Taiwan for its money making potential, like you would with the US, and the Philippines for social atmosphere or retirement and vacationing. Fortunately, they are only an hour apart by flight. And Cebu Pacific often has low fare specials.
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Postby pete98146 » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:17 pm

ryanx wrote:Are you in Taiwan at the moment pete98146?


Nope! I'm in Seattle now.
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Postby Repatriate » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:39 am

Btw, Taiwan is part of NE Asian culture not SE Asian. It's as critical an error as mixing in western european with eastern european culture.

I honestly think 99% of western expats would be happier in the Phillipines because it's practically a U.S. colony still and has all the cultural trappings of western culture. The people there also adore westerners and generally accept them in their greater social community.

I think in NE Asian countries the best you can expect is some respect and maybe a few asian groupies but if you wanted to actually become a part of society in a functional way beyond novelty it's pretty much impossible without decades of holding some important professional position or another.

I've said this several times..you know how "accepting" a culture really is by the number of minorities are in government positions. In NE Asia you'd never find a single white face in power positions such as civil service or politics. Even in business there are tons of barriers there and the only foreigners that survive are the ones who have plenty of cash and prestige to throw around beforehand.
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Postby The_Adventurer » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:04 pm

I think the Ladislav way is really the best way. I can be very sociable and love friendly interactions with locals in the Philippines sometimes, but then the place just doesn't have the technology I want on the level I want. There are times when I would love to be ignored and left alone in a place where I had blazing fast internet and all the gizmos and gadgets I could get my hands on.
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Postby Winston » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:16 pm

ryanx, are you still in Taiwan? Maybe you can meet up with me or Rock? Rock can show you a good time. He has this aura about him that Taiwanese people seem to like and seem drawn to, which means you'll have more "experiences" than you normally would without him. lol

Why don't you contact him and meet up with him in Taipei? Each person you meet will teach you something new anyway.
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