Hi guys, the struggle is real on a day to day basis, girls telling me they want to go to America in plain English, being handed an English menu after clearly saying in Chinese, “san wei” as you walk in to a Chinese restaurant, being told “Your Chinese is really good.” being given forks and knives as opposed to chopsticks, etc. etc.
But above all else I remember about 4 years ago or so I happened to run across a guy, what I assumed was a foreigner, who was wearing a shirt with a Zerg logo on it for SC2. I said, “Yo Starcraft Fan!” and he said, “Oh hey, what’s up?” various small-talk ensues and then he gives me his business card. I read the first name. Perfectly normal. Then I read the last name. “Xu”.
Guy was pretty young. Looked like he was 24 or 25. So I asked him, “Bro, are you married?” and he just tilted his head, looked at me dumbfounded said, “What?” then he followed up with, “Oh, no, I was adopted…” and then I said, “Oh, my mistake.”
I added him from Facebook and once I threw a question at him like “It’s none of my business, really, but are you a citzen of Taiwan?” At a later time, piecing it all together, he more or less ended up giving up his citizenship of Taiwan to continue working without the need to take up mandatory military service required of all citizens not in school (university or otherwise).
Same guy I mentioned above basically told me, well, I’ll just copy and paste it…
“As long as you are white you will never be a 你 in Asia, you will always be a 你門. Ever. You are not and never will be an individual with unique attributes, because 你們都_____ is a natural law as true as gravity in a Confucian society. Everything about you will be put in context of your whiteness. You will discover that 90% of your relationships are either people hoping to learn English (because genetically white people speak English right out of the womb) or get face from having a white friend. Not trying to be a downer, just you should know what you are getting into moving to Asia.
If you are fine with being the token “foreigner” (doesn’t matter if you’ve been her for 5 years 10 years, or if you were born here and Chinese/Korean is your native language, that is what you will be to people if you are white) for the rest of your life, and acting like people think 你們都 should act, you’ll have a great time. If you want to be seen as an individual who is just the same as anyone else, you might want to reconsider. I made this mistake, and now even though Taiwan is my home I don’t plan on staying here. America gets a lot of shit, and deservedly so, but in this area it is light years ahead of East Asia.
If I could talk to my teenage self again I would tell him not to give a fuck. Be that guy. They think you are like that, fine, then just take advantage of it. Don’t bother speaking in Chinese, they want to use you for your English anyway. Just go out and drink and get girls. You can try your best to prove you don’t fit that stereotype but it is still entirely futile to try to convince everyone one by one that you are different. Its not worth it.”