Westner to Eastner?

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Westner to Eastner?

Postby R.T » 22 Feb 2002, 14:44

I wonder whether westners and eastners can be good friend?
Because generally it's more easy to get to know westners and start a conversation in social public place.However talking about get really good friends or body seems harder.Why??
On contrast to eastners,it's hard to get fimilair at the first time,but as you keep trying and once you start a conversation.It's easier to keep in touch or become very close.
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby Rascal » 23 Feb 2002, 03:27

I must say that I have a lot of Asian friends (lived 7 years in Malaysia), for one reason I don't usually hang around with "foreigners" (most of those in my company could only have fun if they are really drunk and then they still won't want to stop) nor was I trying to be close to them, even avoiding some places like typical expat hang-outs. Don't know why actually!?

But I made some local friends (not associated with my company), mostly Malaysian-Chinese, and we became great (best) friends. Now I moved to Taiwan and I know they miss me a lot as I do but we keep in touch. Some intend to visit me here and I went to Malaysia when I had to renew my Visa, meeting up with them and attending a wedding of a close friend (well, both of them are actually close friends - and if anyone is interested it is a mixed couple, i.e. Western + Eastern). The only close Western friend I actually had down there whom I met through his local girlfriend.

It's a good way to learn about the country, culture and people, no travel guide (book or human) can teach you any better, you have to experience this first hand, in a non-forced environment.
I have regulary attended open-house parties, sometimes gambling sessions (got kicked out after I won [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img] ) and even be invited to a re-union dinner on CNY eve, not to mention all the other festivals and activities I attended or even planned and carried out together with them.
I had a great time and I am honored to have such nice and lovely friends.

I also do have still some friends im my home country and see one or the other when I go back for a holiday but other contact is rare (even with email and the like) and nobody bothers to come and visit me here (or there last time).
To some I have no more contact at all - out of sight, out of mind!?
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby dl7und » 23 Feb 2002, 07:23

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, Geneva">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by R.T:
<strong>I wonder whether westners and eastners can be good friend?
Because generally it's more easy to get to know westners and start a conversation in social public place.However talking about get really good friends or body seems harder.Why??
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Is that a serious question? Actually, like Rascal I don't spend much (any?) time with other foreigners and I come along with locals just fine.
Could it be that it seems "more easy to get to know westerners" because you can use English then instead of Chinese? I wouldn't really want to talk to locals in English (only in special cases), because the "English" taught here is "American", which includes the "American way of life" - learning a language can't be done without learning the society. Nothing against the Americans, but I'm from Europe and sometimes the US looks just as strange to us as an Asian country. That's also another reason why I don't actively seek foreign contacts here: Most foreigners are Americans and I understand them (not linguistic but socially) less than the Taiwanese. In addition, there is quite a number of westerners in Taiwan coming here to make some quick big money without caring the least for the place they make the money at. And with them, communication based on something like a mutual understanding would be even harder.
So: Where's the problem?

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Westner to Eastner?

Postby H20 » 23 Feb 2002, 08:01

I believe friendships are forged not really on the basis of race but of common interests and likes and compatibility with others based on personality and character. As the cliche goes, "birds of the same feather(not birds of the same-colored feather! [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img] ..."

I have a bunch of very good multi-cultural friends here in Taipei from both the Western and Eastern worlds (Taiwanese included). And in our discussions, we realized that indeed strong friendships are anchored on sharing the same interests and respecting each other's racial backgrounds and having that openness to learn more about our cultural differences.

Through these open discussions we have, we break down the general "perceptions" and "stereotypes." And realize that afterall, we're all human. It just so happens that fate gave us the birth right to diverse geographical locations and cultural milieus.
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby serendipity » 24 Feb 2002, 04:34

Please excuse me while I puke.
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby R.T » 24 Feb 2002, 05:54

Hi,all
So you guys mean that there is no races problem and it's all the matter of something in common.
OK!But,there are few questions coming up with -since we are from different cultures,how can we really have much things in commmon?
For instance,generally Europeans like football,but Taiwanses,influenced by American I guess, mostly like baseball or basketball!
Or I briefly ask you "will you change or even be more careful about your talking or chatting objects just because of the person's different nationality???
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby Frizz » 25 Feb 2002, 03:34

It depends on personality, character and beliefs. I have to agree with H20. I also have many friends who are of different nationalities. When two people think alike many times they become friends. And it is interesting to learn new prospectives and views.
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby Rascal » 26 Feb 2002, 05:40

There is a race problem, that's the main reason why I had more Chinese friends in Malaysia than Malay or Indian. Not that I have anything against them, but getting along with Malay is very difficult, mainly due to their religion. Well, you would probably argue now it's the religion and not the race, but basically all Malay are Muslim so you can "transfer" this.
Didn't know many Indians there, only a handful - they are also a different kind of folks and usually from the lower income bracket (plantation workers etc.), so I hadn't much contact with them.
Go out in KL and you will notice most (local) people there are Chinese, they party like Westerners, perhaps have more cash to spend and live more freely than e.g. the Malays, something which is more compatible to Westerners. As well their way of thinking is closer to ours, not the same of course, but close.
Close personal friendship depends of course on the sharing of interests, not all but at least some.
Interests like football or baseball for that matter are a generalization, though true they don't necessarily apply to the individual - and as mentioned above there can be other common interests (he/she may like baseball, I may not like any sports but we both like to go to the movies, disco, etc. etc. or both like to listen to classical music - whatever).

But I do agree you have to be carefull what you talk about, perhaps only with a person you know for some time and well enough you can chat about "sensitive" subjects.
Back to the Malay example you bascially cannot talk about the religion (especially if you are a kind of against Islam), they will feel very upset.
If it's a business partner that's it, you just disqualified yourself.
But if they are like a good friend you may touch on the subject, still being a bit carefull however and not stretching it too far.

I haven't been in Taiwan that long but from my former experience I think getting along with locals here shouldn't be a problem and I haven't noticed any issues you can't really talk about.
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby wix » 27 Feb 2002, 07:16

The human mind is often conditioned to notice differences rather than similarities. The reality is people share far more in common than any superficial differences that might exist (e.g. ethnicity, language). Friends don't need to share everything in common or agree about everything otherwise the world would be boring.
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Westner to Eastner?

Postby Jennifer » 08 Mar 2002, 00:18

I wonder if what R.T. meant in his first message by "Because generally it's more easy to get to know westners and start a conversation in social public place" is that it's easy to talk to westerners (who seem to be mostly American here) because we Americans are so chatty and open. And we all know that just because we're outgoing and friendly, it doesn't mean we're very sincere.

I've noticed that I'm a bit of a chameleon myself. When I'm around my chinese inlaws, I'm the meek and humble wife/daughter-in-law. But get me around the mothers and tots, Chinese or foreign, and I'm very outgoing and friendly. And again within this group, I'm different around the Europeans if I'm the odd one out. Since I've learned that some Westerners (Europeans, Canadians I guess) are turned off by us "loud Americans", I find myself toning it down a little bit. I'm no less sincere, but I do find it necessary.

I think that's the mistake some westerners make here, not knowing when to just keep quiet or just tone it down just a tiny little bit.

As for making close friends with local people, I've been very fortunate, and have become quite close to several Chinese families who share the same parenting style.

Sorry that was so wordy--sometimes I need to learn when to keep quiet too.


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