Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

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Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby ztephen » 06 Aug 2010, 05:05

I know not a lot of ABCs on the forum, but what have you seen as social, economical, ect. advantages of being an ABC in Taiwan?

Disadvantages of ABC vs being white or real taiwanese
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby Taiwan Luthiers » 06 Aug 2010, 10:23

ztephen wrote:I know not a lot of ABCs on the forum, but what have you seen as social, economical, ect. advantages of being an ABC in Taiwan?

Disadvantages of ABC vs being white or real taiwanese


I can't think of any... perhaps better chance of being employed in a foreign company?

I feel the disadvantage outweighs any possible advantages. For one you will be treated like a Taiwanese and be expected to act Taiwanese. Also you have a real advantage at job interviews because you're expected to know the Taiwanese way of doing things, but because you were born/raised in the US you won't know these things and employers will not go easy on you because you're an ABC. Therefore you do not get the grace of being white here and you are often forced to compete against normal Taiwanese who have a clear advantage. Also getting jobs at cram schools is a problem unless you have been certified in the US for ESL because it seems the right skin color is a qualification in itself, and if you don't have that you must have enough qualifications to convince them otherwise.

University admission is a problem too because the fact is, a real Taiwanese university entrance exams are impossible for anyone not raised in a Chinese society. The government knows this which is why foreign/overseas Chinese are under a different set of admission standards.

If you have a passport from a third country, then get overseas Chinese status as soon as possible, since this will even the playing field for you! Otherwise Taiwan is a real hellhole for those of us who grew up overseas!

As far as military conscription, if you do not have citizenship in another country, do not come back or else you will have to do military service like everyone else. Being ABC will not give you ANY advantage there (in fact you will be singled out and ridiculed). If you have overseas Chinese status you may simply leave Taiwan every 4 months to avoid military service, or serve as a "national guard" that only lasts 2 weeks.

In short, being ABC's without a foreign passport in Taiwan means that you will be marginalized. Don't come back if you don't have to.
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby claimui » 06 Aug 2010, 14:08

I've been working in Taiwan for a little over a year now, and basically agree with everything that Taiwan Luthiers said. It's not that being an ABC in Taiwan makes for a horrible life, it's just that I'm pretty sure everything would be better if I were white.
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby Taiwan Luthiers » 06 Aug 2010, 14:26

claimui wrote:I've been working in Taiwan for a little over a year now, and basically agree with everything that Taiwan Luthiers said. It's not that being an ABC in Taiwan makes for a horrible life, it's just that I'm pretty sure everything would be better if I were white.


If anything, being Chinese gives you a slight advantage back home (as in the West) compared to being in Taiwan because of multicultural experiences.
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby headhonchoII » 06 Aug 2010, 14:57

claimui wrote:I've been working in Taiwan for a little over a year now, and basically agree with everything that Taiwan Luthiers said. It's not that being an ABC in Taiwan makes for a horrible life, it's just that I'm pretty sure everything would be better if I were white.


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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby thyrdrail » 06 Aug 2010, 15:56

all my taiwanese friends say ABCs are very popular in taiwan and that they have the benefits of both worlds. it's especially beneficial if ABCs do know the language and are familiar with the culture. many taiwanese men and women find it a big plus to date an ABC as they are westerners and dating/marrying outside the race - a non-asian westerner - is considered too extreme for most taiwanese people. I don't think being caucasian or non-asian in taiwan is all positive as it's thought to be as I've talked to many who've encountered incidents of racism on the job or in social environments.
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby Joeman_0 » 06 Aug 2010, 18:55

Based on my observation, I think the most popular and most sought after people in Taiwan are those who are bi-racial. There are a lot of myths and legends about those creatures. One of them is that they are extremely beautiful on average, and they are also extremely intelligent. You have all the advantages that locals enjory, and you also have all the leniency when situations arise. If you are bi-racial, then there is a very strong advantage of being an ABC.

I have some friends who are ABC. I was told that the work environment and corporate culture are very different from the West. It is more strict. And relationships with bosses are also quite different. Some have trouble adapting. There are jobs however that are exclusively for ABC's. They want to hire an ABC before they would look for a white person.
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby Bolo » 09 Aug 2010, 16:29

Joeman_0 wrote: There are jobs however that are exclusively for ABC's. They want to hire an ABC before they would look for a white person.


Interesting. Can you tell us more? I'm on the lookout for a new job.
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby thyrdrail » 09 Aug 2010, 16:38

Joeman_0 wrote:There are jobs however that are exclusively for ABC's. They want to hire an ABC before they would look for a white person.



exactly what do you mean by "white"?? northern europeans? how about southern europeans who are olive or dark skinned like italians and greeks or spaniards and portuguese? eastern europeans like albanians or turks? what about middle eastern people who are light skinned and caucasian enough to maybe pass as europeans? what, are there only two races in the world - asians and caucasians/anglos in the world and no other races exist? or do you mean those are the only two races found in taiwan and therefore considered available for hire?
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Re: Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

Postby elburro » 09 Aug 2010, 17:30

I think an ABC's career prospects in Taiwan mainly comes down to language skills and culture know-how. Not so much where you were born and what passport you hold.

But I also believe that if employed for a job where English is a major factor (i.e. teaching English) and you're an ABC that is not fluent in Chinese, I think you'd be disadvantaged when compared to a Caucasian who also does not speak Chinese. It has to do with credibility. If you're having Japanese food, you'd prefer that the chef was Japanese. And for a Swedish massage...well, you get the idea.

If I was an ABC who was fluent in both Chinese and English, I'd head for one of the large exporting electronics companies. I got a couple of ABCs in my company working in sales and product management jobs, and they all have a major advantage over locals simply because they can communicate things clearer with regional offices and customers.

Taiwanese often use email instead of the phone as they can easier read and write than speak and listen. If they were to use the phone, they'd often have to ask the person on the other end to repeat themselves several times to make sure they understood, but being Taiwanese, they are afraid to lose face, and won't ask. Especially if a more senior manager is present. I got a friend of mine with crap English who used to record his weekly conference calls with the US office. On the way home he would listen over and over again to these conference calls to figure out what he had actually been listening to, and in some cases, what he actually had agreed to! :)

But what all this over-reliance on email communication leads to is that things take a lot of time. I see some locals that spend almost a whole day just to put together an email to explain an issue, but when they get a response back the next day, the regional office or customer still don't understand what they meant. I've often seen issues where it took 4~5 emails back and forward (and 3~4 days because of time zone delays), before the issue was resolved. An ABC can pick up the phone and clear up a similarly complex issue in 10 minutes or less. :wink:

For the culture part... it just takes time. I do believe the electronics companies have a less conservative culture than the other and more traditional industries though.
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