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10 Surprises for Asians who think America is open/expressive

What's your story? Discussions your reasons for going abroad.

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10 Surprises for Asians who think America is open/expressive

Postby Winston » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:17 am

I'm sending this list below to all I know in Asia who think America is "open, expressive, wild and friendly" based on what they see in the movies. Boy are they in for a shock.

It always amazes me how some foreigners, particularly Confucian Asians such as the Taiwanese and Japanese who carry solemn stern faces all day, think America is very "open, expressive and wild" simply cause they themselves are non-expressive drones in their own culture. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They probably get their impression from Hollywood movies, which portray America as a fun, carefree culture where everyone is expressive, emotional, wild, loose, having a good time, and very sociable and communicative toward others.

But movies tend to be the opposite of reality, especially in this case. So for all those Asians who think America is as friendly and open as they show in the movies, I have some very revealing videos and links to show them that will expose this mass illusion and mythos. They will show them how different the reality is compared to the propaganda and fiction they've been fed.

1. First, check out my friend Steve Hoca's video rant about me called "Winston Wu is right: Americans are socially disconnected" where he expresses his frustration at the complete lack of human connection in modern day America:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REKN7y53OCI[/youtube]

2. Next, see these video clips by my friend Kyle from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he shows firsthand with a hidden camera, how hard it is to talk to strangers in America or say hello to them. Watch him try to greet people on the street. See how different the reality is compared to the movies.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REuWyftROA4[/youtube]

3. Here now is a short documentary about "The Seattle Freeze" and about how difficult it is to make friends in Seattle, Washington. Several people in the film talk about their experiences there.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roC_nsdyi1I[/youtube]

4. In fact, the major newspaper in Seattle, The Seattle Times, did a story about how hard it is to make friends in Seattle, documenting this "Seattle Freeze" phenomenon as real. You can read the story here:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacifi ... cover.html

5. I also have personal evidence of the antisociality in Seattle. Check out these photos I took on a Seattle ferry compared to the ones I took on a ferry in Europe. Notice the difference in the people. The photos show how the Seattle people are isolated in their own private bubbles, while the people on the ferry in Latvia are dancing together. The comparison photos are on my blog at the link below.

http://intellectualexpat.blogspot.com/2 ... atvia.html

6. Here is a revealing article by Little India magazine about how isolated, lonely and disconnected Indian immigrants in America feel, many of which regret coming to the US and miss the warm connections in their home country:

http://www.littleindia.com/august2004/U ... merica.htm

7. Next, check out this big collection of quotes and comments about America I put together from immigrants and foreigners who have been there. As you can see, they describe it as anything but "open, friendly and expressive."

http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page32.htm

8. These are some news articles that report on the growing problem of loneliness in America, describing it as an epidemic that is hazardous to health:

http://www.livescience.com/health/06033 ... iness.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 63_pf.html

9. Here is my own video lecture about how unnatural it is to try to meet people in America and talk to strangers, and how there is no sense of social or human connection there. See part 1 of my video lecture series here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsDbEwmCMz0[/youtube]

10. Finally, my friend and cultural advisor, a former US immigrant, made this observation about what the biggest culture shock in the US is, which says it all:

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8855

"I think generally, the biggest culture shock that people experience in the US is not between their country and the US but between what they thought the US would be and what it actually is. Books and movies about America make the place appear very free and exciting and happening and the people are so interesting and emotional. There is sex and fun and romance going on. When they arrive, the place looks very conservative and the people appear robotic and quiet. Sex is subdued and hard to come by. The people are not open at all, they look closed and mistrustful. Everybody is just working and looking tired and apathetic. Talking to strangers is taboo. There are thousands of little rules and laws and social mores that seem as dogmatic and strict as those in a Muslim society. And every time you are at risk of breaking yet another law and facing very dire consequences. That is the biggest culture shock of all."


Here are some more posts in my forum about how different America is in reality compared to the media portrayal of it.

http://www.happierabroad.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=23902#23902

"And by the way, I am back in the matrix and miserable about it. Can't talk to strangers, can't make eye contact, neighbors don't interact, social groups in public do not interact or over lap, extreme social cliqishness, nothing going on for social life in the community, women unapproachable to the point that it feels taboo to talk to them at all, and lonely, isolated lives are standard, people spend more time with a TV than with people, and the relationships/dating scene here and the disintigration of family, marriage, and community is downright shocking.

Just seeing how my family members live on in this isolated and dysfunctional matrix, oblivious to what a wonderful, open, natural welcoming social life exists outside of the US, depresses me. I can't wait to get out myself. And so I have a lot of work to do on not letting that whole mess consume me now while trying to get enough healthy human contact to stay sane in this incredibly frigid and mistrustful and disconnected social atmosphere."

http://www.happierabroad.com/phpBB2/vie ... c&start=40

"This is not the picture that Hollywood beams into billions of households around the world. In it, women on roller skates in bikinis zoom through suburbs and cities and at the first beck and call go with you to the nearest motel for a roll in the hay for no money at all. This is how everybody sees America around the world.
I see America now as Iran or Saudi Arabia in terms of female availability, if not worse. Because in the latter the local men will have girls lined up by family connections- meetings will be arranged and a wedding date with a virgin bride will be set as soon as you are ready. In other Muslim countries that are cheaper, it will be even easier. Yeah the girls are dressed modestly all right but you will soon get married to a a good girl who will be open only to you.

The great deception that Hollywood pulls on the world public is monstrous."

-------------------------------------------------

"Your right, when I watch sitcoms on tv, the women are always friendly towards men, they flirt with men and are easy to ask out and sleep with. Watching American made movies are the same. The women are friendly, approachable, smile a lot and will easily give a man her phone number! Now we all know this is NOT reality, it's a fantasy that Hollywood puts out.

When is the last time a single woman in America flirted with you? Or when was the last time a single woman in America started a conversation with you?

For most guys the answer is either NEVER or ALMOST NEVER! Women in America ignore men, even if the guy is good looking. Of course, tv shows and movies in America show women as friendly and flirtacious with men. NOTHING can be further from the truth!"


So you see, the mythos that Asians have of America being so "open, expressive and friendly" is a fiction and illusion created by Hollywood, not actual reality.

Feel free to forward this page to other Asians or foreigners you know who think America is "open, expressive and friendly".

Sorry to disappoint them.

The good news is that there are many cultures in the world that really are open, friendly, sociable and inclusive, where you can make friends easily or get dates WITHOUT having to join a school or organization or being introduced by friends. I have experienced them myself. I will tell you where they are:

- Latin America and Mexico (VERY open and friendly and easy to meet people)
- Russia (VERY open and friendly and easy to meet people)
- Half of Europe (some European cultures are more open while others are more reserved)
- China (very direct and open with strangers)
- Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, known as Southeast Asia (VERY open and friendly and easy to meet people)
- Africa (VERY open and friendly and easy to meet people)
- Australia (not super friendly but more so than America)
- England, France and Germany (some say these countries are very socially open, but others disagree, the opinions are mixed)

On the other hand, here are countries that are more socially closed, where people do not talk to strangers and it takes work to break into cliques, making it far more difficult and unnatural to meet people and make friends:

- America and Canada (generally noninclusive, but not always)
- Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea (generally closed, but white people will get more attention there)
- Finland, Norway (Scandinavian cultures are renown for social coldness)
Last edited by Winston on Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:29 am, edited 7 times in total.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:29 pm

I've just updated the list of surprises to 10 now, adding some new important links.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Falcon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:37 am

Spot on, Winston. Thanks for the links.

- A Colombian girl told me about her trips to a few American cities (Houston, Chicago) while she was visiting relatives. She called the social environment there "mierda" ("shit"), said that people were very cold, unfriendly, and work-obsessed ("puro trabajo"). She said that although it's a great place to study and to avoid nasty civil wars, she likes Colombia better due to its social atmosphere.
- A Salvadoran friend told me that when you converse with the girls there, "you feel like you're in love." I asked him, "How about the US?" He answered, "No. Not really. No way."
- Similar comments from Mexican immigrants about the "gabacho" (white Anglo) mentality
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Postby Falcon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:41 am

I also tried talking to students on public buses in Taiwan. They didn't freak out, but it was definitely unnatural. At other times, people were very friendly. In Taiwan, the people who were most open to cold approaches were the European and (surprisingly) American tourists. Those American tourists were much more open-minded and friendly, and some were with their Taiwanese girlfriends/wives. They might have felt alienated in America too.
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Postby Winston » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:56 pm

Falcon wrote:I also tried talking to students on public buses in Taiwan. They didn't freak out, but it was definitely unnatural. At other times, people were very friendly. In Taiwan, the people who were most open to cold approaches were the European and (surprisingly) American tourists. Those American tourists were much more open-minded and friendly, and some were with their Taiwanese girlfriends/wives. They might have felt alienated in America too.


So true. Taiwanese and Japanese are not very open with strangers, except for the elderly of course. For some reason, elderly people are not uncomfortable chatting up strangers. Plus they are on different wavelengths than westerners. Also, Taiwanese are very picky about looks. You get a lot more attention if you are white. When Rock and I met in Taiwan, I noticed that a lot of people would stare at him, whereas I would get zero stares when I am alone. That really sucked for me, since I'd have no fun when I go out alone in Taiwan.

Also, if you are Asian, you are not exotic in Taiwan. You're just another face in the crowd.

I think that white guys and women who live in Taiwan have an affinity for Taiwan and might have an "Asian soul" too, which is what drew them to Taiwan. In fact, many white guys and girls in Taiwan act more Asian than white. They even mimick Taiwanese expressions better than I do. I hate how cheesy they look when they act way too humble and modest and start bowing and have Taiwanese expressions on their face. That is really weird.

I met a nice white American girl there who was a devout Christian, and said that people say that her soul is Taiwanese. She wrote this to me in an email.

"I guess I don't feel alienated, just challenged to learn quicker than I'm used to! But people say the opposite of me: that I'm not really American, but a Taiwanese in a white body! hehe
I have many people here who teach me the vocab and sentences I need to know in order to do business and travel and all that, and I'm also going to be starting Chinese classes soon, so I'll have more ability :) But I can see your frustration as you look Taiwanese yet don't natively speak that language; another friend of mine who is Canadaian born Taiwanese had the same issue; it was difficult for him also.
Hey check out this movie that recently came out - it's shocking! and moving. I want everyone I know to see it.

http://www.180movie.com/

~ take care ~
Jo"


She also said that God isn't a mystery, because he's given us his word already (The Bible). Apparently, any book that claims to be God's word, must be God's word. lol. What an obvious fallacy. But you gotta be totally brainwashed to think that.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:19 pm

Falcon wrote:Spot on, Winston. Thanks for the links.

- A Colombian girl told me about her trips to a few American cities (Houston, Chicago) while she was visiting relatives. She called the social environment there "mierda" ("shit"), said that people were very cold, unfriendly, and work-obsessed ("puro trabajo"). She said that although it's a great place to study and to avoid nasty civil wars, she likes Colombia better due to its social atmosphere.
- A Salvadoran friend told me that when you converse with the girls there, "you feel like you're in love." I asked him, "How about the US?" He answered, "No. Not really. No way."
- Similar comments from Mexican immigrants about the "gabacho" (white Anglo) mentality


Wow. I think I'll add those quotes to my immigrant quotes page.

http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page32.htm

Thanks,
Winston
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Winston » Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:23 pm

RW_Coins wrote:
Winston wrote:Also, Taiwanese are very picky about looks. You get a lot more attention if you are white. When Rock and I met in Taiwan, I noticed that a lot of people would stare at him, whereas I would get zero stares when I am alone. That really sucked for me, since I'd have no fun when I go out alone in Taiwan.




I don't know, Winston. I mean, when you look like this:


Image


well.. I can kinda understand where they're coming from.


Dude, your image doesn't even show up. Let me ask you this. If it's all about my looks, then how come a fair percentage of women in America will stop if I say "excuse me"? And in Russia/Europe, a high percentage of women stop when I try to talk to them? Obviously, this is culture related, since these examples rule out your stupid theory. You don't know anything. Everyone here in TW knows that women don't talk to strangers. Taiwan and Japan are cultures where women don't engage you if they are not properly introduced to you.

When I was 19 and working in Taipei, I was very skinny then. But the results were the same. Your stupid theory doesn't take the above into account. What a stupid post.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Repatriate » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:10 pm

Winston wrote:Dude, your image doesn't even show up. Let me ask you this. If it's all about my looks, then how come a fair percentage of women in America will stop if I say "excuse me"? And in Russia/Europe, a high percentage of women stop when I try to talk to them? Obviously, this is culture related, since these examples rule out your stupid theory. You don't know anything. Everyone here in TW knows that women don't talk to strangers. Taiwan and Japan are cultures where women don't engage you if they are not properly introduced to you.

Culture is just the initial barrier in which you have to understand the rules, mores, or approach in social situations. However, I think some things are universal. A tall, fit, guy with a handsome face will most likely be universally preferred by women everywhere over a short fat man with a plain featureless face. A man with a full head of hair is preferable to a man with a bald spot. Other stuff like race, wealth, and occupation can increase the "exotic" factor but that may only pique initial curiosity but the rest is still up to the person and their other internal attributes like personality.

Even though TW culture is more reserved if you have that person's interest then culture is a surmountable barrier. If that person is not interested at all then they will conveniently use that cultural shield to ignore your attempts. Unfortunately, you don't have the attractiveness or exotic factor so you have to pique their interest through your personality which doesn't seem to mesh well with TW people either.

Winston you should be trying to build more social circles in TW to break down that initial barrier and find some takers for your personality. That initial cold approach style attraction in places like nightclubs etc.. obviously won't work with you and you will end up frustrated and annoyed.
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Postby Winston » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:37 pm

Yeah but in the Philippines, I'm not considered short by their standards. Plus they like my eyes a lot and often compliment them. Also, my kind looking face also gets me points and is well liked too.

Friends in TW never introduce me to women. So most of my hang outs there tend to be a waste of time and money. I also never meet people there who like deep meaningful conversations too.

In Russia, I wasn't considered good looking either (even though some girls told me that I was handsome) but my personality was very amusing and charismatic to girls there, and I had natural chemistry/energy with them too.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Falcon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:59 pm

For me, many girls in Taiwan weren't unapproachable. It's just that if you stop them randomly on the streets or in buses, it would be against the flow. Maybe about half of them would be cool people to talk to, and many were friendly and talkative. Some of the "nerdier"-looking ones who didn't care much about appearance and often wore glasses were the most open girls. The other half might give a blank stare and then go on doing their thing if I started talking to them.

Taiwanese girls are simply far too diverse in personality to generalize.

And when I walk around Ximending or any other shopping district frequented by Taiwanese youths (or night markets), the young vendor girls and salesgirls would bug me non-stop with stuff like "jian jia! gan kuai mai!" (Discount! Hurry up and buy!) For whatever reason, a lot of them would assume I had a girlfriend by saying, "Buy this for your girlfriend, it's super cute!" Once I when I bought two little trinkets, the salesgirl froze for a bit, and dryly said, "Oh, so now you have two girlfriends." Haha, fun times.

The old women seemed to have a thing for me, haha. :oops: They often called me "shuai ge" (literally 'handsome bro').

Taiwanese range from being the most stuck-up and unfriendly to the most energetic and friendly folks.
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Postby Falcon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:30 pm

And I am an American-born Taiwanese myself. :) I don't try to emulate the cliché Asian hipster look (rimmed glasses, anime-style hair), so my own simple but unique style makes me stand out somewhat.

The girls' approachabilities are as varied as the colors on a rainbow, so to speak.
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Postby Falcon » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:59 pm

Winston wrote:
Falcon wrote:Spot on, Winston. Thanks for the links.

- A Colombian girl told me about her trips to a few American cities (Houston, Chicago) while she was visiting relatives. She called the social environment there "mierda" ("shit"), said that people were very cold, unfriendly, and work-obsessed ("puro trabajo"). She said that although it's a great place to study and to avoid nasty civil wars, she likes Colombia better due to its social atmosphere.
- A Salvadoran friend told me that when you converse with the girls there, "you feel like you're in love." I asked him, "How about the US?" He answered, "No. Not really. No way."
- Similar comments from Mexican immigrants about the "gabacho" (white Anglo) mentality


Wow. I think I'll add those quotes to my immigrant quotes page.

http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page32.htm

Thanks,
Winston


It's also a well-known fact among Mexican immigrants in the US that Mexican immigrant men all want to go back to Mexico to find good wives. Every winter, there would be hordes of these returning "norteños" ("northerners") who would flock to town fiestas to court the local girls. When interviewed about why they prefer Mexican-raised women over American-raised women of Mexican descent, their answers were clear cut: they don't like the Americanized women. They're seen as too liberal, aggressive, and don't make good wives and mothers. The statement "I'm going back to Mexico to find a vieja [wife]" is one that's often heard by many Mexicans.

In "Four generations of norteños: new research from the cradle of Mexican migration" by Wayne A. Cornelius, et. al., you'll find chapters describing this phenomenon in detail. When I have time, I'll post some excerpts in a separate thread.
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