Tuesday, January 1, 2013

10 Reasons why Taiwan sucks for social life, fun, happiness and romance


Very few have the guts to openly tell you the following since it's not politically correct or cool. But the truth is, Taiwan is not a good place if you are seeking a great social scene, free-flowing fun, personal happiness, love, romance or passion. Taiwan's social culture and social conditioning are simply not conducive to these things. Below I will explain why and provide sensible reasons that are obvious and undeniable (though taboo). Let's begin.

1. It is very hard to meet people, as they are not open with strangers but very closed in nature.

Social interaction is usually restricted within closed exclusive cliques. You can't just "go out and meet people". People don't generally talk to strangers or make eye contact with them. They act cold and distant toward strangers, treating them as if they don't exist. (Unless they are trying to sell you something of course, but that goes without saying) Trying to start conversations with strangers feels awkward and unnatural, not smooth or relaxed like in most of Europe. By default, there is a "cold wall" between strangers (similar to New York City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, etc).

In fact, Taiwanese themselves will even admit that they are "less open" than foreigners, even Americans. You can ask them yourself. They will admit to it, for it is common knowledge. In Taiwan, only elderly and middle age people talk to strangers freely. Foreigners will too of course. (But what's the point of coming to Taiwan if only foreigners will socialize with you?)

2. The only appropriate way to meet people is to be introduced through friends or groups, or have a connecting routine such as school, work or organized activity.

The problem with this is that it's very LIMITING and RESTRICTIVE, for it means that you have to DEPEND on someone to introduce you to others. If no one introduces you, then you are out of luck and have run into a "cold wall" (pardon the pun). What this means is that you are dependent on others for your social life. You can't just "make it happen" on your own.

You also have to depend on GROUPS. You see, in Taiwan, everything is done in groups. People go out in groups. They make friends in groups. They meet people in groups. They travel in groups. They even think in groups (like a hive mind). An individual is worthless and insignificant in Taiwan, and seen as a loser without a group. Hence, Taiwan is not for the individualist. Rather, it is for the empty conformist with no individual identity who seeks to follow and conform.

However, even if you do meet people through introductions or groups, it won't be easy to connect with them (for all the reasons mentioned in this article). Taiwanese and Foreigners are on very different wavelengths and will likely not have much in common, even though they may be polite to each other's face. Broad minded individualist foreigners and insular group-oriented Taiwanese do not vibe naturally.

Furthermore, even if you do break into a clique (a closed exclusive social circle) your social life is still going to be LIMITED to within that clique. The whole clique scene is very rigid an limiting, similar to how it is in the US. Again, you can't just "go out and meet people." Taiwan's social scene is no doubt very closed and cliquish.

3. Young adults in Taiwan are painfully shy, insecure, nonassertive, and lack confidence and social skills (especially females).

It takes confidence, assertiveness and social skills to talk to strangers. Sadly, they've been subjected to extreme amounts of fear and abuse during their childhood growing up. Their behavior is conditioned through "negative reinforcement" in the form of fear, abuse, scolding, guilt trips, overly strict parenting, etc.

The result of this is that they become weak, insecure, subservient, and taught to live in fear by their parents, peers, culture and media. While this is true in America to an extent too, it's taken to a bigger extreme in Taiwan. Only when they reach middle age do Taiwanese people become confident enough to talk to strangers. But before that, they are too insecure, nonassertive and shy to talk to strangers. This is yet another reason why it's so hard to meet people in Taiwan.

So you see, there are multiple obstacles and factors that go against you when it comes to social life in Taiwan. I don't have to tell you that when everything is going against you, then you are in the wrong scene.

(Note: While the above may not apply to Westernized Taiwanese, you will not see many of them in Taiwan because most of them will either be living overseas, or taking extensive trips abroad, where they fit in better. Also, not surprisingly, Taiwanese Americans and Asian Americans (whose personalities are Westernized) will usually not be comfortable living in Taiwan. Not only do they not fit in with the culture, but they will be constantly expected to be something they are not - a local Taiwanese. This will lead to an identity crisis and conflict, because they are accustomed to acting American or Westernized and asserting themselves as proud individuals. But Taiwan will not be conducive to that at all. Asians are not supposed to act like Westerners in Taiwan. If they do, it will look "freakish". Thus, an Americanized Taiwanese will feel like they cannot "be themselves" in Taiwan, which is very awkward indeed. They can't even speak English out loud without drawing shocking stares.)

4. Taiwanese are like empty shells with no soul, personality or passion. 

Even if you make a lot of friends in Taiwan, you eventually realize that these friends are really just casual acquaintances, because there is no real connection with them. Taiwanese are like empty shells with no soul or emotions, like plastic mannequins (similar to America, but even worse). Their faces are passionless and robotic, as if their soul and humanity has been squashed, suppressed or drained out of them.

It's very sad and scary, like an inhuman society from the Twilight Zone. I've seen some of the older generation Taiwanese show some semblance of having a soul or emotions, but the young adult generation definitely seem empty and hollow with plastic exteriors. Thus, the friendships you make in Taiwan will ultimately be unsatisfying.

It's also kind of depressing when you see that people are empty shells here because it leaves you wondering "How can humans descend into such a state of being?" What's scary is that you know deep down that you don't want to become like them, thus being around them could have a toxic negative effect on you.

What's worse, most young Taiwanese are duds with no personality and can't even hold a normal conversation. There is nothing really there to connect with. They are the least engaging youngsters I've ever met - usually quiet with nothing to say and no expression (except for very superficial ones). When you talk to them, after a few minutes or few sentences, the conversation runs dry, like you've run into a brick wall with nothing more to say. Asking them open ended questions about themselves, like interviewers do, will not change any of this. (if it did, I wouldn't have a problem engaging them) They are like empty shells.

5. Taiwanese are extremely cold and uptight in their body language and expression.

I don't know about you, but I find it very hard to relax, be happy or even be myself around people who look so uptight and anal-retentive. It kind of "rubs me the wrong way" is how I would put it. I guess if you are cold and uptight yourself, you may not see anything wrong with it, since they are the same as you. But if you are not, then it can be very awkward to be around people who are, especially if you come from a culture where people are not like that at all. The point here is that being constantly surrounded by very cold uptight people is obviously not conducive to happiness, fun or relaxation at all.

6. If you like meeting girls, or are seeking a date or girlfriend, there are a multitude of major obstacles against you.

a) First, Taiwanese females simply do not like being introduced to male strangers (unless they are desperate, but if that's the case, then they are likely older and/or unattractive). Instead, they prefer to meet guys through the clique of friends that they grew up with, or the clique at their school or work. So if you didn't grow up in their "circle", then you are pretty much "out". And if you are "out", the bad news, as you might have guessed, is that their "cliques" are NOT inclusive at all.

b) Second, Taiwanese people are reluctant to introduce females for some reason, probably because their females are not comfortable with it (or they are too picky). Although Taiwanese often like to joke about introducing a single female to a single male, they rarely follow through with it. In this regard, they are "all talk and no action". However, even if you are introduced to a female, suffice to say, females who need to be "introduced" tend to not be attractive or even fun to hang out with.

c) Third, Taiwanese young females are not very open or approachable. They are generally uptight, stiff, closed, and have a cold wall around them. Even worse, most are also insecure, fearful, fragile and lack confidence and social skills. Thus they are not even comfortable with meeting guys. Such traits are huge obstacles to single heterosexual males no doubt, but unfortunately are the usual traits of Taiwanese females. There is even a social rule in Taiwan that "girls don't talk to strangers, especially male strangers".

d) Fourth, most Taiwanese girls have no personality and no social skills. They are duds who can't hold a normal conversation and are not engaging at all. When they do talk, the things they say will be very superficial and meaningless. Thus, there is nothing really there to connect with. Asking them open ended questions about themselves, like interviewers do, will not change any of this. (if it did, I wouldn't have a problem engaging them) When they talk amongst their friends, they squeak to each other like little mice, acting very fragile and insecure. Very weird. In contrast, girls in most other countries (Europe, Russia, Philippines, Mainland China, etc.) are far easier to engage in a natural normal conversation. So you gotta wonder, what's the problem with Taiwan?

e) Fifth, to make matters worse, modern Taiwanese females have difficult personalities and many hang ups. They will drop a guy for the smallest things at the drop of a hat. They are very judgmental, cold, unromantic, and act like flaky divas. Materialism has corrupted and spoiled them, making them more and more like American girls now. Deep down, they are childish and have terrible communication skills. Older generation Taiwanese often complain that young girls mumble and speak too fast, and are hard to understand.

f) Sixth, to make things worse, in the few nightclubs and discos that exist in Taiwan, guys always outnumber girls. Every girl is with a closed group of friends, male date, or "Jimmy" which is a male friend in her clique that shields her from outside strangers. This of course, pits the numerical odds against you. As in the US, there are many guys competing for a few girls. But these girls are not even open to talking strangers, as already mentioned.

So you see, when it comes to meeting females and getting dates in Taiwan, there is a LOT going against you, a whole multitude of obstacles in fact. It's like everything is against you. If that doesn't totally suck, then I don't know what does. None of this, of course, is conducive to dating or romance.

Moreover, even if you do find a partner in Taiwan, still, your options are limited in that you are essentially "taking what you can get" (aka "settling") rather than having a wide array of choices. Unless of course, you have low standards.

Now, this might sound bad, but it's true: Taiwanese females don't become open and friendly with strangers until they reach middle age - at which time they are no longer desirable and are most likely taken as well. This is a classic case of Murphy's Law: When they are young and desirable, they are not open or friendly with strangers and not easy to meet at all. But when they are no longer young or desirable (and either taken or desperate if not) then they start to become friendly and more sociable with strangers. I know that might sound bad, but it's true. (If that offends anyone, then I apologize. No offense was intended. But please remember, I didn't make things the way they are. So please don't blame the messenger.)

7. The Taiwanese psyche is completely dominated by fear and guilt. 

As a result of abusive psychological conditioning, Taiwanese emotions are suppressed and internalized. They are taught not to express themselves, but to be humble, submissive and obedient.

Deep down, they live in perpetual fear and worry about every little thing. While caution is a good thing, they overdo it and take it to the extreme, imagining the worst in every scenario even when it's unwarranted. As a result, they never truly live. You can feel the "fear vibe" of the Taiwanese masses when you are in their proximity. They also harbor constant guilt about not measuring up or not being "good enough". None of this is conducive to a "friendly and open" social atmosphere of course.

What you should know is that if you are in Taiwan long term, eventually the "fear energy" of the people will rub off on you and affect you negatively as well. Even if you are a person who does not believe in living in fear, like a hippie or New Ager, it will still eventually affect you, especially since you are eating their food, which is produced from "fear consciousness". (Remember that the thoughts, emotions and energy of the person preparing your food goes into the food as well.)

This is a downside of Taiwan that is rarely mentioned, if ever, because people are in denial about it and are not conditioned to look deeper. Instead, they are conditioned to only care about working and raising a family, and other practical matters on the surface.

8. Taiwan is a strict business-oriented and workaholic society which teaches that the only things that matter are making money and food.

Personal happiness and feelings are seen as irrelevant and worthless. All that matters is work, productivity and conformity. People are conditioned to be stiff, repressed, and act like cold zombies without soul, heart or emotion. It's very sad and makes them almost inhuman and robotic-like. There is no free expression or creativity or thinking for yourself. It's all about conformity. The individual is nothing. The only "passion" one is allowed to have is passion for work and productivity (no surprise there).

That's why it goes without saying that Taiwan is not a very fun place, since none of this is conducive to "fun" at all. Though the concept of "fun" is relative, the kind of fun I'm talking about is the highly festive free-spirited free-flowing heartfelt type of fun that exists in much of Europe, Mexico, Latin America, Russia, Philippines and Thailand. (If you've been there, you'll know what I mean) The fact is, Taiwanese are extremely uptight. They do not radiate warmth or emotion. Even when they are trying to have fun, you will never see them truly "let loose".

Also, Taiwan is not a place for one who values personal happiness either, since that doesn't even matter in Taiwanese culture. Besides, how can you be happy around people who are extremely cold and uptight and dominated by fear? I find it hard to relax or be myself around such people. Eventually, their vibes will affect you as well.

Further, such a repressed workaholic culture will also not provide venues for you to pursue your "happiness", unless of course your happiness is derived from living a monotonous workaholic lifestyle with little interest in much else.

In Taiwan, practically everyone is a conformist. Thus, they will conform to the workaholic culture with very little else to live for. How can that possibly be conducive to happiness? It can't. Trying to find an nonconformist in Taiwan is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Even if they exist, they will be silent and alienated, or they will leave the country. Finding an "outspoken nonconformist and freethinker" is a near impossibility. (Not to brag, but I seem to be the only one)

9. Taiwan is a very prudish and conservative culture in the extreme.

No public display of affection is allowed, such as kissing between couples. And TV soap operas and dramas that are produced in Taiwan almost never show people kissing or showing any physical affection.

Flirting is a big taboo in Taiwan. It is considered dirty creepy behavior. Taiwanese females do not flirt back with males. They do not allow gentlemen to kiss their hand, like women in Europe do. And they do not greet people with kisses on both cheeks, like European females do. On the flip side, a Taiwanese American girl in Taipei wrote me once and told me that when she tries to flirt with Taiwanese guys, they do not reciprocate but instead get weirded out.

Obviously, none of this is conducive to romance, love or passion. I don't even need to tell you that. In fact, if you observe Taiwanese couples, you will notice that they even act cold and uptight around each other. They do not appear "in love" or romantic, and they often eat together in silence with very little to say to each other. What this means is that even if you are in a relationship with a Taiwanese, it is likely to be dull and cold, devoid of warmth, romance or passion.

In truth, Taiwan is best suited for the conservative prim and proper type, not for those who are wild, open and passionate. To fit into the social environment, you have to act innocent and goody-two-shoes to the point of cheesiness. If that's not you, then you will constantly have to act like something you are not, just to fit in. I don't have to tell you that suppression of your true self is not good for you mentally or emotionally in the long run.

I find that the type of people that seem to fit best in Taiwan are those who are conservative, goody-two-shoes, passive, reserved, simple, group-oriented, conformist, narrow, and not very intellectual or deep. (But of course, I am the opposite of those things) The two traits I find most common in foreigners living in Taiwan long term are "reserved and passive".

10. The reckless, dangerous and rude driving on Taiwan's streets and roads is stressful and annoying to deal with.

Taiwanese cities, even the small ones, are way too cramped and packed with too many scooters and vehicles. Driving is not an enjoyable experience in Taiwan, but a stressful one that can cause tempers to flare. It is also hard to park if you are driving a car. And if you are driving a scooter, then you are taking chances with your life because scooter accidents can be fatal. None of this is conducive to happiness, peace or relaxation.

On top of all this, there is not much beautiful scenery or nature in Taiwan, and the architecture and buildings are ugly and drab. The climate is often unpleasant and the air is humid and not very clean or crisp. (by American standards that is) It's also hard to find open fields, prairies or pastures.

Also, the culture is boring and flat, and does not even feel inclusive. There is nothing to grow your soul. Time just passes by and is wasted with no meaning or special memories. Eventually, you regret the time you waste in Taiwan, which could be better spent elsewhere.

Simple test to verify my claims

If you doubt what I say above, or have never been to Taiwan, then here is a simple way to test what I mean. Try getting as many Taiwanese as possible to shake your hand, especially women, because women tend to conform to the culture (which in this case is a prudish culture) more strictly than men do. More so than men, women are more prone to caring about trends, what others think of them, their social standing, and about following traditions. And as any guy can attest to, women are also more easily influenced/swayed by media advertising (which is why advertisers overwhelmingly tend to target women rather than men of course).

Therefore, women will generally reflect their culture more strongly than men, which means that they will be an accurate barometer of their culture. To most women, truth is relative - it's whatever their culture tells them, whatever is popular, and whatever their friends say, not something you derive at through logic, reason, evidence and critical thinking. (Again, no offense intended. That's just how women generally are.)

Anyway, I ask you to do this experiment because a person's handshake reveals their inner level of confidence and comfort level. And a handshake, unlike a hug or a kiss, is a noncontroversial social gesture that can be done with people you don't know well. After shaking many Taiwanese hands, you will notice the following:

a) Most handshakes will be polite, but weak and soft, like cold fish. This will especially be the case with female hands. What this means is that the person is insecure, fearful, shy and not confident or assertive.

b) The only firm grips you might get will be from older Taiwanese (mostly male) who are accustomed to shaking hands with clients in business or sales occupations.

c) Even if you get a firm handshake, you will not feel any true warmth, nor any intensity or passion at all. You will notice that their skin and vibe feel more cold, robotic and reptilian-like. This is reflective of their emotions and state of being, which is repressed and prudish to a high degree. It's almost like shaking hands with a robot or android.

Go ahead and try this experiment. Eventually, you will see what I mean.

The taboo and hypocrisy of talking about all this

In spite of all this, wherever you are in the world, including Taiwan, there is like this unspoken social rule that you always have to say "People are very friendly here" even if it's not true. All major travel websites and travel TV programs abide by this rule, and will say "people are so friendly" everywhere they go. To say otherwise in any particular place, even if it's true, is a big no no. Isn't it stupid that you have to say something that you know isn't true (lie) to avoid offending others?

It is simply not considered polite or cool to say that people around you are unfriendly or closed and stuck up. Instead, one is only allowed to say, "I am shy and not outgoing, so I don't meet people often" or "I work a lot and am very busy so I don't have time to get out and meet people."

But if you say, "I am outgoing and open, but people around me are very closed, stuck up, don't talk to strangers, and have a cold wall around them" it will draw shocks and disturbed looks from people, no matter how true, because no one would dare to say that openly. It is simply uncool and politically incorrect to say such a thing. Doesn't it SUCK when you can't say the truth?

The problem with the acceptable statements above is that they falsely presuppose that general people around you are very friendly, outgoing and easy to meet, and that all you have to do is be outgoing yourself and you will meet people and make friends. But this is NOT TRUE if you are in a culture or place where people are not open or friendly. In my experience, as long as you are friendly and sociable, then it mostly depends on location.

Also, have you noticed that it is ok for people to BE unfriendly, but if you SAY that "people here are unfriendly" then it's a taboo and social violation? In other words, you can be unfriendly, but you can't say that people are unfriendly. Is that weird and hypocritical or what?

Forum discussion about this article.

See Also:
The Four Biggest Problems With Taiwan
The Dark Side of Taiwan
The Pros and Cons of Taiwan
Taboo Observations and Truths About Taiwan

54 comments:

  1. Well, thanks for your honest opinion, Winston.

    I've been living in Taiwan on-and-off since 2004 (for a total of over six years so far), and I do agree that all your points apply to many Taiwanese people out there.

    However, I've met a plethora of Taiwanese that do not fit your description whatsoever!

    Perhaps it's because I stay away from clubs and bars that I do not meet the type of people you describe? Not to look down on the night life social scene, but one of my friends who was looking for love in this way also felt similarly disappointed...

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  2. Seriously Winston, stop whinning~! Just because you get rejected so many times, doesnt mean all Taiwanese girls are the way you describe them.

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  3. Cautionary yet without handson experience you still feel the itching to test it yourself.

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  4. I'm a foreigner here as well, and I can't really blend in with the local no matter how hard I try. It's not that I want to be like them. But the truth is I can never be like them.

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  5. .....Exactly Winston, you got it all correct, you are good at evaluating through psychiatry, put all in a nutshell, the Taiwanese have NO SOUL, they care nothing around them, all they want to do is, 'watch T.V, eat, and sleep, watch T.V, eat, and sleep, and now it's using iphones or whatever too. They show total disinterest in what you say. Taiwanese dress drab ably too, their clothes are boring, their food is boring, I’ve been saying this to other foreigners and Indonesian friends, they all fully agree! It's a drably country, with living for the sake of living, now it's rubbing off me, I feel it! Aaaaah.

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    1. What are you doing in Taiwan of it is so bad?

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    2. What are you doing in Taiwan of it is so bad?

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  6. I have to say I agree. People are extremely unfriendly and seem to only be out for themselves...to the point they feel uncomfortable if you're nice to them because they think "what do you want from me?" Men don't pay attention to me (a female), don't make eye contact, and get upset if I try to even say hello. And I'm Taiwanese myself...

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  7. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I take offense to this article. My fiancé is Taiwanese, and she's nothing like you describe. If you don't like Taiwan, you don't have to ever go there again you know.

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  8. I think firstly in order to understand their culture is to learn the Chinese language first. I found most of the non-Chinese speaking people are not interested in or not capable of learning it.

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  9. I'm from Guam and I just met these girls from Taiwan today and they asked me to hang out and eat dinner with them. They were VERY friendly. Just wanted to research about their country before i went out with them, but im going to see for myself.

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  10. Oh btw!!! All you fools saying learn the Chinese language are idiots. Taiwanese speak mostly Cantonese not Mandarin which is the "Chinese" language. I learned Mandarin for the sake of my future wife, which speaks Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien. And to the guy that takes offense because his wife is "Taiwanese"...BS! She is either a western conversion or has been westernized already.

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    1. Your comment is totally wrong. Taiwanese don't speak Cantonese at all. Taiwanese speak Mandarin, please go to Taiwan before you comment.

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  11. No, Taiwanese speak Mandarin. Hong Kongers still choose to speak Cantonese over Mandarin.

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  12. I lived in Taiwan before, and don't remember any of these problems with women. As to making long term friends, that can be difficult in most of Asia, not just Taiwan.

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  13. I've lived for extended periods in America, China, Taiwan, and now Korea, and I would say that out of those four countries, Taiwan is least like what you've described. I loved my life in Taiwan and made many friends, both local and foreign. Taiwan is widely considered one of the most liberal societies in Asia! In mainland China I was told that Taiwanese girls have a reputation for being flirtatious and "easy". If you want to experience a rigid conservative culture of stress and fear, come to Korea. I can't help but wonder if some of the problems you discussed are limited to Asian-Americans. Or perhaps your intense negativity and expectations of finding a girlfriend by approaching strangers on the street is what makes Taiwanese people cold to you, not a problem with their culture.

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  14. Just happen to watch a few parts of the Taiwanese Hokkien drama series aired on Astro Malaysia at a coffee shop.
    I was wondering what a stupid direction of this stupid show. Seems that the the whole episodes is just to prolong and without any real meaning and substance. Is the director trying to suggest that all police departments in Taiwan are corrupted and even elected assembley people are so corrupt and not a watchdog organization to oversee their wrongs. Even there are any episodes of others titles there appeared to have lawyers. And Tar Fong acted as if Taiwan belongs to his father and he can do what he likes.
    I would recommend that Malaysian view S.Korean. Singapore and Hong Kong series which are not so stupid as the Taiwanese tv series. Compare them with those series from S. Korea, Singapore and H.Kong one can realize the difference and not so time consuming with long winded episodes. As a Malaysian of Hokkien community I feel ashamed when others comments on their stupidity and meaning less story line.
    Hope Astro will screen less of these stupid dramas and air more shows from S,Korea, H.Kong and Singapore.

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    1. Taiwanese Hokkien drama series are that you see. The directors try to prolong the episodes as long as possible to keep audiences and top the TV drama rating/rank. Unfortunately, which the directors may or may not realize, is, they are just throwing trashy scenes into the dramas that gets boring and senseless.

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  15. I spent my first afternoon in Taiwan walking around the airport adjacent city of Taoyuan and found it to be a cold and isolating experience. I really didn't enjoy my visit until I met up with business associates. I am in a relationship so I wasn't looking to meet women, but I could see how it may be difficult for a non-Asian outsider to mingle unless they were extremely charismatic and spoke fluent Mandarin. The older associates mentioned that the younger generation of men was weak and unassertive, putting up with all sorts of terrible behavior from young women. He even mentioned they resented the women for hooking up easily with Western men, but were unwilling to socially isolate them for this transgression because they were so desperate for female companionship. The majority of young urban males on scooters dressed like they were in boy bands and looked feminized.

    The older women fit your description to a tee, and I did meet one who was quite attractive and was friendly and flirtatious. To be fair, mature women in the West often come into their own socially (not acting stuck-up) in their mid-thirties, when there is no longer a line of horndogs beating a path to their door and they've eaten some humble pie.

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  16. ''(Remember that the thoughts, emotions and energy of the person preparing your food goes into the food as well.)''
    That's bullshit.

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    1. No. That happens. Research Japanese experiments done with rice and water crystals. Your mood and attitude affects everything around you.

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  17. Though many young Taiwanese are socially inept, I couldn't disagree with you more on many points. Perhaps you live in Taipei and your comments are colored by the fact that you live in a cold Northern city. Try the South if you haven't already, and you will find that you will retract a lot of what you have said.

    As for your "handshake" test...well, considering that the handshake isn't really practiced like it is in the West, that seems like a test doomed to fail. Pick something else, like strangers coming up to you to offer help or guidance, and you will get an entirely different answer.

    But, If you are writing this to keep the wonderful secret of Taiwan from hitting too many ears and flooding the streets with foreigners, then good job.

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  18. It surprises me how different your opinion about Taiwan compare to other websites I find on the internet. You give all negative and no positive. I hope you can become more positive about life and people around you. You are way to negative.

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  19. This blog presents Taiwanese well. I can attest 90% writing here is true. I'm westernized-Taiwanese and have lived in Taiwan from ages 6~12. At age 13, I left 28 years for U.S. and back to Taiwan 4 years ago. I'm here spending time with my parents as they are aging. They returned to Taiwan (8 years now) after retiring U.S. career.

    In addition to the blog's description of the Taiwanese, here are my own observation and impression on the islanders: Taiwanese walk on streets like zombies (no expression on their faces) and would not even look at you face to face, eye to eye; as if you don't exist. They generally do not greet people regardless if they are your neighbors. I have many times in the elevator with people living on the same floor or the same apartment building - - all they do while in the elevator is keeping a stiff-face with eyes looking elsewhere, and their body gesture so tight. Man, cold and mean. I can never understand the way they act.

    One thing irritates me the most is they do not held the door open for you. When a Taiwanese enters/leaves a building, he or she would just let the door shut close even you are behind, also entering/exiting the building. I always hold the door open for the person behind me after I pass the entrance, but rarely receive a "thank you". They just walk pass the doorway and think that it's your "duty" to keep the door open for them. I have had people rush in or out the door before me while I open the door for myself. So, you can imagine... very careless and impolite.

    The traffic on this island, ugh, it's like hell. Drivers don't respect pedestrians - - as if - - walk at your own risk as you deserve getting hit by a car. Drivers' mentality is: because roads are for vehicles to drive on, not for people to walk on.

    The only things I love about this island are: food, low living costs, close to everything (especially daily essentials; you can walk any direction, and within 10 minutes you can find all you need. This is in the city, of course.), and, easy to find side-jobs (part-time work).

    Yeah, so above are my two-cents on the Taiwanese.

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  20. Dear goodness,

    I'm moving to Taiwan soon (from Korea). Honestly, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But honestly your "10 reasons why Taiwan is not for social life, etc..." are coming from a very narrow-minded perspective.
    I've heard the same thing from Korean and Taiwanese friends that moved to the US: "In the US, people don't care about my opinion, they are selfish and individualistic" they said.
    It's a matter of perspective and difference in culture. When I moved to Korea I didn't know a word of Korean but after learning it, I was able to make even more Korean friends than I possibly could think of (even in clubs and bars). I've visited Taiwan a couple of times, and I have met a lot of taiwanese people. True, maybe I met them through friends (but I mean that's pretty much in all of asia).
    If you really want to experience a culture, get rid of whatever expectations you may have had of it. Then start learning about their ways (not your way, that's just selfish), their language, their interests, and as soon as you do this, you can start appreciating the culture more.

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  21. Taiwan is a nice place to live and the people are friendly. The only thing I agree with you about is the traffic. When Taiwanese get on their scooters they become murderous psychopaths.

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  22. Whoever created this website surely an eloquent writer, with a very persuasive voice and strong tone. But I'd like to ask: What is the purpose of this blog? Simply to bash a celebrity? To point out and spread the negativity of Taiwan? If you truly hate Taiwan, it'd probably be smarter to fly away to some other country that doesn't happen to be the very country that you were born and raised at. Also, please stop acting like you are the only Asian who has experienced Western culture, you aren't.

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  23. I went to Taiwan for 2 months and haf the best time of my life. I personally think the writer is too desperate to find a girlfriend and expects people in Asia to behave like they are from Europe or something.. And I have been to many countries and most people will not talk to strangers because sometimes you never know who they are. It is quite dangerous to talk to a stranger that you barely know.

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  24. As a Taiwanese,I agree with some points that you mentioned,but omg your writing is really repetitive.You just keep complaining about the same thing lol

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  25. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAAA

    Winston Wu you are a resentful, bitter faggot!

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  26. Taiwan is a great place to be, as long as you're not Black. If you're Black, you shouldn't be going to Asia, but if you're not Black, you'll have a blast in Taiwan.

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  27. I hear nothing about Arab women on this website, unless I have not run into it yet. Lebanese are very feminine (which is not a surprise because the most feminine form of dance, belly dancing, comes from the Middle East), strong, but also like to please their husbands. They are the most devoted to their family. They are the perfect balance between femininity and strength, innocence and intelligence.

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  28. looks, you just look for the women, and you did not find anything in Taiwan.
    i think, you just got bad luck.
    so, Poor man, life is not only Women, so, better to get married, and go with her for traveling.
    So, you dont need to look for the women...

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  29. At least you didn't generalize an entire country's population. Also glad you weren't a complete male chauvinistic prick at the same time! Qudos¡

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  30. Don't blame Taiwan for your lack of social skills.

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    1. Totally agreed with you. The most important social skill in Taiwan is to be polite. Asking information kindly, getting close to girls like a gentlemen, talking to elder/not English-native people with slower speed.

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  31. Learn some game, I suggest Arash Dibazar, the Asian Playboy JT Tran if Arash's not Asian enough for ya. I am Taiwanese.

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  32. I think the rigor of your commentary is indicated by this:

    What you should know is that if you are in Taiwan long term, eventually the "fear energy" of the people will rub off on you and affect you negatively as well. Even if you are a person who does not believe in living in fear, like a hippie or New Ager, it will still eventually affect you, especially since you are eating their food, which is produced from "fear consciousness". (Remember that the thoughts, emotions and energy of the person preparing your food goes into the food as well.)

    What a load of total BS!! For one thing, how could a culture supposedly imbibed with a "fear consciousness" be driving their scooters through crowded streets with reckless abandon which you freely admit that they do? (One of the downsides of Taiwanese life, for sure, but it sure doesn't fit with your glib 'fear consciousness" hypothesis).

    And what's this dehumanizing crap about "these people have no souls" which smacks of racism? Taiwanese people do have souls, they do have feelings, they do have passions, they do have dreams and yearnings, the same as anyone's. They feel emotions just as intensely as you. Their culture channels it into different expressions, expressions you don't appreciate nor apparently took any time to understand, but they are real nonetheless.

    In fact, I submit to you that:

    "Though the concept of "fun" is relative, the kind of fun I'm talking about is the highly festive free-spirited free-flowing heartfelt type of fun that exists in much of Europe, Mexico, Latin America, Russia, Philippines and Thailand."

    So if the booze ain't flowing, it's not fun? That there's nothing more superficial than what you speak, and I submit to you that is that kind of "fun" is a more concealing mask behind which to hide one's soul than anything you accuse the Taiwanese of doing.

    This is not to say that I find the Taiwanese perfect. To me there's a few small annoyances; but their biggest flaw I see is the desire to ape everything European or American. (They're ridiculously overdressed for a warm climate because they're wearing clothes better designed for a Scotland or a Denmark). Their stereotypically "Asian" and brutally-executed educational system (which Western elites praise and want to impose in their own countries) teaches the rote acceptance and recital of "facts" rather than questioning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and deep understanding (which is probably *why* Western elites praise it; they always have wanted an educated workforce that isn't likely to figure out they're being screwed by their social betters). And yes, the Taiwanese are workaholics, but did you ever stop to consider that this was a consequence of trade and economic policies imposed by their elites (like there's been so debate here, as in the US, over the low minimum wage and wage theft issues such as unpaid overtime) rather than some national character defect? The Taiwanese work long hours because of economic insecurity and low pay, not because they intrinsically *want* to work long hours.

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  33. I have watched the way we foreigners behave and the way Taiwanese behave.Taiwan is an extremely supportive and hard working country,in the event that you behave in a respectable manner they will respect you,in the event that you behave as though you are at home despite the fact that you are not,what do individuals anticipate.Is unfair to contrast Taiwanese girls and European girls or western girls,in light of the fact that believe it or not,they are Asian girls.Taiwan is a great country and perfect for individuals who respect law and order and are readied to work hard.
    ----------------------------------
    Holistic Dating

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  34. Sounds like someone is having trouble getting laid.

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  35. This blog post seems to come from a very biased way of thinking, however i do agree with some points.
    especially with the "it's a taboo to say people are unfriendly". every single taiwanese person i meet tells me how taiwanese people are the nicest people in asia (usually followed by "not as rude as mainland chinese" because people here seem to hate mainland china a lot) which, at least judging from my own experiences is by far not true. I had much better experiences in china or korea, and it was certainly a lot easier to meet people and make friends there than it was here in Taiwan.

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  36. I am Taiwanese and I agree with you lol

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  37. Hi! I just read your debit novel about why Taiwan sucks. A very stimulating read about a guy who just wants people to see him for what he his. Have you thought about possible topics for a sequel? How about "Why white people shouldn't travel"?

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  38. Man Asians have weaker handshakes in general. Get used to it and stop projecting your own ethnocentric biases, theyre not used to handshakes when they bow.

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  39. I grew up in Taiwan and lived in Taiwan for more than 30 years. So, I think my comment to this article can be objective. This article is god damn right. I think the real situation in Taiwan may be worse. Taiwan is like a huge factory. It treats human being as product, so the most important thing is to standardize every human being. If you are not standardized well, you will be treated as a defected product. Eventually, for these defected product, either they leave Taiwan or take antidepressants whole live living in Taiwan. I am not exaggerating. The real situation is worse.

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  40. I'm American born and raised but parents are from Taiwan. I agree that some Taiwanese can definitely be a bit socially awkward but I found it incredibly easy to make new friends in Taipei or have just random conversations with strangers almost any bar I went to.

    I'm actually going back next week (which is what brought me to your blog, searching for Taiwan on google) for a month long vacation and can't wait.

    While I agree mildly with some of your points, the fact that you even took the time to write (vent) a pretty lengthy negative article generalizing a whole country's culture based off your personal experience suggests that at least some of the issue might be you.

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  41. I'm middle-aged, and have visited or lived in Taiwan off and on since 1990 when I was a young adult. I am married into a Taiwanese family, and have in-law nieces and nephews and cousins in the younger generation I've known since they were small children, as well as in-law siblings and close friends of both genders who are Taiwanese or Americans married to Taiwanese.

    This blog is a striking and wonderful example of cultural differences and culture shock as experienced by an American in Taiwan. The Taiwanese score as one of the most collective societies in the world, while Americans score as the most individualistic in the world, so that difference is a frequent source of... difficulty for Americans in Taiwan. There is also a big spread between the "fun-loving" and "personal expression" dimensions of culture, where Americans are pretty high in world comparisons and Taiwanese are among the lowest; and the Taiwanese have one of the highest scores in delayed gratification or long-term planning compared to the rest of the world (American culture tends to be a bit below the world average). These cultural differences can be experienced just as the blogger describes.

    As to the idea that middle-aged Taiwanese are more open and friendly compared to the young: I am not sure this is a matter of aging, and I suspect it may be a cohort thing. Taiwanese born in the 1960s and 1970s have had very different life experiences than those born in the 1980s and 1990s have had.

    As to the lack of psychological depth or conversational ability in Taiwanese: Yes, this is a problem, and I think many Taiwanese social critics notice it in their culture and identify it as a substantial problem in the lives of Taiwanese. We Americans have our own serious problems that may be quite different, but just as horrible, as this "emptiness" of Taiwanese personal experience.

    If you do want to meet people in Taiwan, I do think you ought to try the Taiwanese way and join up with some group or try to find some like-minded people. Hiking clubs? Soccer fans? People who love dancing or art? Maybe Tzu-Chi volunteers? Taiwanese are among the most collective-oriented people on the planet, and for Americans with our individualistic extremism, learning through experience more about what it's like in these "cliquish" groups can broaden our perspectives and expand our comfort zones.

    Someone, perhaps this blogger, ought to write a sort of 21st century "Domestic Manners of the Taiwanese" (like Frances Trollope's wonderful comic/caustic book about her disastrous experiences as an Englishwoman in America of the 1820s). Translated into Mandarin, it could be a big success in the Taiwanese book market!

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  42. I agree with Eric, a book criticizing Taiwanese people it will be a scandal=success .
    Best if mentioned mainlanders might be impolite but more friendly than them

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  43. First of all, thanks to the writer for expressing your thoughts here. Every time someone says something that criticizes a culture, people either 1. agree overall 2. disagree and fiercely defend 'their' perfect culture 3. attack the writer, make fun of him and call him names.

    I think the problem is the idea of cultural relativism. This idea is mind control to make you accept that there is no absolute good or bad when it comes to culture. It says that anything and everything that exists in culture is acceptable, but nothing could be further from the truth. Culture is the diet for your mind. Objectively speaking, there ARE ideas and behaviors in a diet that contribute to the full development of critical thinking, morality, and human consciousness and there are ideas and behaviors which retard these things. Just like there are things you can put inside your body that nourish it or cause it cancer. In this context, the things that nourish the body are GOOD. The shit that poisons you is BAD. And no matter how many thousands or millions of people continue to consume it, it will always be BAD and those people will always be WRONG to consume it.

    The underlying cultural diet of Taiwan is collectivism. It manifests itself throughout the fabric of Taiwan's national outfit like a strong dye. Collectivism does NOT contribute to individual critical thinking. It does NOT contribute to independent behavior. It does NOT contribute to an objective sense of justice, therefore the people can always be easily swayed to go in whatever direction the boss/the parents/the teacher/the political party/the advertisers wish. It DOES contribute to the phenomena the writer mentioned in the article. This doesn't mean that freethinkers don't exist, it just means they are not encouraged to express themselves in the society.

    Lastly, I just wanna note that when a foreigner or local brings up anything negative about the culture to a Taiwanese person, the automatic, standardized, robotic response, word for word, is: "Ah, that's just our culture". This is what people here say all the time. This is an overt dismissal of the topic. It means that he doesn't really wanna examine the contents of his diet to see what could be thrown out and what should be kept. This is the real tragedy.


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  44. Taiwan does suck!!!and all of the above r true,100% true,shitty place everywhere

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  45. I personally am not so keen about Taiwan, it has plenty of undesirable features and strange, or I should say, very different mentality compared to other cultures.
    It also has some really nice people, and I have to say that Taiwanese people are absolutely NOT as you described. The way you described them makes me doubt if you have actually been to Taiwan.

    But, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and, like you, suggest the following experiment:

    1) Try visiting other countries and see if you get the same results.
    2) In fact, check if you get the same treatment from your own people.
    3) If you do, then you probably need to take a good look at yourself.

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  46. Have met numerous women in public places in Taipei who seem to fit the concept of "passive," which is the word that is often locally used by Taiwan people to describe many women. This word "passive" which is used in many local conversations to describe women here means, expecting the other person to make all the moves and also, in some cases, throwing out roadblocks from a direction that is ambiguous and without a clear obvious goal. This seems to be almost like a repeating loop, where you really cannot seem to get to the point where she is expressing something "actively" to you, until such point that she suddenly decides it is really necessary to do so. I have been told by several older women that this is because of a deeply entrenched concept that this is "what men really want them to do." Not sure. How could so many people have such a concept? For many western men who are themselves not exactly the swashbuckling extrovert, it can seem as though this "passivity" creates an impassible moral barrier. You cannot think of any way to approach this person without fear of being eyed with suspicion since at no point does she let on the slightest willingness to let you approach her (unless you are really just all out, without any reservations, in which case she is suddenly "open" to you.) This dynamic keeps a loop going in which conservative, old school stereotypes of "manly" and "womanly" behavior, seemingly taken from an older aristocratic world of standard gender roles, keep getting replayed. Many "real men and women" may like to argue that "tough that's how society always is." For us who do not fit the model that is laid out according to standard gender concepts, we feel forced to act like a mainstream normal conservative or else just give up. In sum, there is something deeply conservative and mainstreaming among these women publics in, at least, northern Taiwan. Something like a southern belle. Like 1950s America, in a time and place where, if you not a real man, you are expected to step aside.

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