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(Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

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(Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby shawn_c » 11 Jul 2012, 16:30

You've all met that "foreigner" who came to Taiwan long ago and has been here ever since. No family connections, no real future besides English teaching (doesn't mean that English is his first language), no plans for anything, really... not even a real girlfriend (i.e. possible wife).

He (yes, "he", not "she") could be white, black, yellow, etc... doesn't matter. What matters is that back in his home country, he had nothing going for him; not much of a social life, not many plans for the future, no real economic future, no feeling of accomplishment or being looked up to. But, he comes to Taiwan, and all-of-a-sudden he has value... he's a superstar! People look up to him, people want to chat with him, girls want him... because he is now special, has a special skill, and is exotic. (He's also a teacher in a culture where teachers are given great respect.)

That feeling is so great! He can't get enough. He's hooked and he's never leaving.

This theory, of course, is posited on the fact that all men need to feel; important, valuable, powerful, great, etc. Men want to be looked up to... and some men get it from working hard and busting their asses, and some men get it from... moving to where they can be exotic.

In Taiwan, the "exotic foreigner" gets all these feelings and more. No way they're returning home! Taiwan is home, now.

Do you agree?

(That said, this is actually the case for men all over the world, including Taiwanese men. Why do you think Taiwanese men can't bear it if their wife makes more than them (breakups and divorce are not out of the question)? Why do you think there's 大男人主義/Big Man Syndrome, where many men must be the one to turn to for their family and friends, must make more money, must know everything, etc.?)
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby sandman » 11 Jul 2012, 16:38

Ooh! A new, never-before-broached topic! WOW! :roll:
Use the search function. This hoary old chestnut has been done to death MANY times on the flob over the years. And it ALWAYS ends the same way -- sniping, back-biting, MANY temped posts, finally locked.
In answer to your question, I know all KINDS of foreigners here. None of them match your description.
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby bigduke6 » 11 Jul 2012, 16:39

Hmmm, maybe 15 or 20 years ago a foreigner was exotic. Now I don't know. We have become pretty common.

I think a good deal of people stay because life is relatively easy here.
You go work a few hours a day, in a relatively stress free environment, and you can live a good life.

Even with all the bitching and moaning, teaching can offer a decent standard of living will minimal effort.
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby Mucha Man » 11 Jul 2012, 16:44

I don't know any that match that description either. All the long termers I know are in relationships/marriages/kids/mortages/etc. I know a few gay men who keep that quiet and so may appear to you as the single guy with no connections.

The main reason most people stay is that they have built a life here that is satisfying or find that at middle age it is simply too disruptive to move.

And you know by the time you have been here 10-15 years you probably aren't looking fresh enough that any locals give you much attention.
“Everywhere else in the world is also really old” said Prof. Liu, a renowned historian at Beijing University. “We always learn that China has 5000 years of cultural heritage, and that therefore we are very special. It appears that other places also have some of this heritage stuff. And are also old. Like, really old.”

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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby Dragonbones » 11 Jul 2012, 17:12

shawn_c wrote:You've all met that "foreigner" who came to Taiwan long ago and has been here ever since. No family connections, no real future besides English teaching (doesn't mean that English is his first language), no plans for anything, really... not even a real girlfriend (i.e. possible wife).


I may have met one or two like that, out of the many scores of foreigners I've met. But rather than moving here to be exotic, they moved here for language study or job opportunities, very reasonable, practical goals, and they liked it here, and stayed. There are all kinds of reasons for people to stay here, so simplistic and overly generalized pet theories are rather pointless.
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby adguy » 11 Jul 2012, 17:32

Everyone I've met has a fascinating and storied past. As, I like to think, do I. My accomplishments are quite a lot, and I am also happily married before I even arrived. I made plenty of money in the states and lived a much more extravagant lifestyle than I have here. In other words, a lot of sacrifices have been made to be here.

And I wouldn't say I'm terribly handsome, but I am definitely not hard on the eyes... and did quite well in Los Angeles. And yet, I am totally invisible here. I get no second looks from anyone, no eye contact on the bus, and no special treatment anywhere, at any time. If I were intent on feeling like a rock star, this would be perhaps the worst place in the world I could have moved to. I thank god that I am not single in this town, or I would be making preparations for dying alone.

So, retread this tired ground all you want, but I fervently disagree.
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby superking » 11 Jul 2012, 17:37

"Come for the adventure, stay for the choudoufu."

All those poor choudoufu addicted ex-pats who just can't bear to leave the smell behind.
There are millions of people in the world. And none of those people is an extra. They're all leads in their own stories.

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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby steelersman » 11 Jul 2012, 18:45

shawn_c wrote:You've all met that "foreigner" who came to Taiwan long ago and has been here ever since. No family connections, no real future besides English teaching (doesn't mean that English is his first language), no plans for anything, really... not even a real girlfriend (i.e. possible wife).

He (yes, "he", not "she") could be white, black, yellow, etc... doesn't matter. What matters is that back in his home country, he had nothing going for him; not much of a social life, not many plans for the future, no real economic future, no feeling of accomplishment or being looked up to. But, he comes to Taiwan, and all-of-a-sudden he has value... he's a superstar! People look up to him, people want to chat with him, girls want him... because he is now special, has a special skill, and is exotic. (He's also a teacher in a culture where teachers are given great respect.)

That feeling is so great! He can't get enough. He's hooked and he's never leaving.

This theory, of course, is posited on the fact that all men need to feel; important, valuable, powerful, great, etc. Men want to be looked up to... and some men get it from working hard and busting their asses, and some men get it from... moving to where they can be exotic.

In Taiwan, the "exotic foreigner" gets all these feelings and more. No way they're returning home! Taiwan is home, now.

Do you agree?

(That said, this is actually the case for men all over the world, including Taiwanese men. Why do you think Taiwanese men can't bear it if their wife makes more than them (breakups and divorce are not out of the question)? Why do you think there's 大男人主義/Big Man Syndrome, where many men must be the one to turn to for their family and friends, must make more money, must know everything, etc.?)


Shawn,
Shouldn't you be doing something useful with your time? Maybe studying Mandarin or finding yourself a girlfriend!
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby steelersman » 11 Jul 2012, 18:50

I think that many people in Taiwan feel that working back home is just not worth it. Whether they are just scrapping buy or have a job paying over $100,000 US, sometimes the grind of life in western countries is not worth it. Some posters on here gave up $100,000 U.S. jobs so they could work 4-5 hours a day.

They want to enjoy their life with their girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, or husband. Some want to have time to surf or cycle 40km a day. I would much rather pursue my hobbies than sell my soul for $50,000 US a year a in a western country.
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Re: (Theory) Why Some Foreigners Never Leave Taiwan...

Postby Super Hans » 11 Jul 2012, 18:56

Shawn,
Shouldn't you be doing something useful with your time? Maybe studying Mandarin or finding yourself a girlfriend!


Ooooh...well, that, as I understand it, would be a big waste of time for him.
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