The oddest foreigner you've met here -- share your story


Anybody from down Kaohsiung way remember American/Australian Tom? His real name, he died in the China Airlines crash in February 1998, coming back from a surfing trip to Bali. He'd lived in Kaohsiung for about 10 years.
Harmless guy, as hard to get rid of as a piece of gum stuck to your shoe, but one of those people with absolutely no social skills who invariably get punched out every couple of months for just not knowing when to shut up.

Main topics of conversation:
His knee operation(s).
His continuing legal struggles over his hair implants.
(related) How everybody in the world was eventually out to get him.
All the hookers he banged on visa runs to the Philippines.




I shouldn't be laughing but..... :roflmao:


I hate this thread.


How odd.




Well, I don't think it was personal...

But, yeah, it eventually caught him up.

OTOH, he had a great wake at Steve's Box Shop.


And then there was another denizen of a southern city, who had too great an acquaintance with the Magic Herb. When this, plus a tragic road accident resulting in serious head damage caught up to him, he ended up spending one winter camped out under a plastic sheet in a Taidong city park.

Admittedly, it was on the shores of Pipa Lake in the Black Forest which was pretty wild in those days (about ten years ago), but still well within the city limits.

He had a whole camp/firepit/tarpaulin set up; every now and then a local jogger or swimmer would come across him and obtain some of his Cosmic Wisdom- and of course we locals in the know used to visit regularly.

Used to drive the Taidong FAP nuts- "Where is the Hippie (as they called him) living?"

They never did find him; come Spring he went back to the West Coast and opened a cafe.


Come'on, this thread is terrible. The only non-normal foreigners i've met here are the boring ones here on business trips. I think the rest of the people in Taiwan (the ones here by choice) are different in some respect...and thats what I like about the foreigners in this country.


I liked to talk to them very much. Especially when I still lived in Taipei:

Businessman: So you actually LIVE here?
BobH: Yes, I live in beautiful Taipei.
Businessman: hahahahahahahaha hahahahah hahahahaha hahahahaha


Look....I think we're all a bit 'different', if only in that we've chosen not to do the normal thing at home.

But, some of us are more different than others. I have to say, I've met some of the strangest people I've ever met in my life in TWN. Sometimes it was enjoyable. Sometimes I really cringed. Sometimes it felt like you were watching a tragedy and weren't sure what to do. Sometimes it felt like all three at once.

The one teaching gig I had when I was a student back in the early 90's was at a church on Minchuan or Minsheng West. RD. next to the night market and the round-about on Nanking(then literally the Den of Iniquity). It was run by a retired army General whose claim to fame was having gone to school in the US with Eisenhower son or something like that.

I really liked it because even though the pay was crap, he really treated us with respect. On Teacher's Day he would take us all to the now defunct Chung Shan Club for the buffet and he would pay us for holidays where classes were missed.

Before class we would all sit around drinking tea out of tall glass cups. What a collection we were.
There was me, an 18yr old student teaching on the side, riding around TPE on my highly modified Yamaha RZX. There was an oldster Kiwi who decided to stay after BP pulled out; took over the BP residence in Danshui until it burned down in the 80's and moved to Yangmin Shan in the forest. He said he served in WWII in a Kiwi regiment in N. Africa against Rommel. I'm pretty sure he was telling the truth since he described several battled in quite accurate detail (the one where the regiment had to retreat with Rommel on both sides). He was also always forgetting his glasses and complaining about how no one would sit next to him on the bus. :laughing: I'm not sure I would have. He also told stories about how you really have to watch the Norwegians when they get drunk. He was profane and garrulous. He was also very funny. There was a Brit. preacher, Father Griswold or something...(a big tall skinny guy with bush eyebrows and apublic schoolish accent) who had been in Taiwan most of his life living in rural Taiwan, starting at about my age at the time. I remember wondering about how someone could commit to such a thing. :slight_smile: He preached in the same town for 20+ years. I don't remember why he had to leave. When he was leaving someone told him that they felt sick everytime they heard him speak Taiwanese. I remeber thinking that was quite a cruel thing to say. He didn't really get along with the Kiwi. He told me that the Kiwi was the type that would live on his own in the jungle until he couldn't take care of himself and then would just off himself. he said it like he knew from experience. I remember being quit shocked to hear that. Then there was an WSR nun who never spoke a single word, just smiled, and a Taiwanese father with a bum leg (who would eat all of the tea leaves floating around the cup) who played the contrarian know-it-all. We would sit around and talk about this or that sitting on these old style Chinese office chairs.


I don't find most of the expats I run into here all that weird or interesting at all. (weird = interesting......usually) In fact I find most the expat crowd here insufferable dullards. Not the long-termers but mostly the newbies. The kind of fratboy FOBs only interested in beer and beaver. I don't understand the Little Canada mindset of flying halfway across the world to hang out with people you went to highschool with.


This is very good stuff, Elegua.


Agree, and sorry I didn't have time to comment earlier.

This really rings home for me. The friends I have from Taiwan in particular have done a harder road than say the people I meet here in HK. The from Taiwan mates I know I can rely on holding their own in a mixed Chinese or foreign crowd, knowing the rules, knowing the right thing to say when and why, be it amidst gangster fuckwits or the heads of the semicons. These are not easy tricks to pull, and are indicative of some very nuanced sensitivity and awareness. Things that can only be learnt by going, as a friend once said, just that little bit further up river.

For me the real nutjobs I have met in Taiwan were the relative newbies that couldn't see the rules but revelled in the apparent anarchy. Over time you realise how ordered things really are and its about then you seem weird to new folks, but an old hand is just as likely to pass a knowing smile and buy you a beer for opting to smooth out whatever social wrinkle rather than ploughing on straight through.

There are an awful lot of said folks here on Forumosa, many of whom I've never really met, and some too that I have. Which is why I guess I come back to post here.



I believe it was 1996, based on where I was living at the time. I was walking home one night along an alley behind Tong Hua St., and out of the corner of my eye, I see a foreigner doing a mime-masturbation movement (clothing in place). Immediately, I thought, OK, it's one of my bonehead friends (the kind of friends I have!) and I turned to say hi. But it was a complete stranger, a foreigner with a wild look in his eyes. I kept walking...

Perhaps a couple weeks later, same alley, daytime this time, here comes the same foreigner. This time he looks at me angrily and starts Nazi goose-stepping and making the Nazi salute. I walk by kind of quickly and after a bit I turn around to see him giving me the finger. Hmm... I knew then I was dealing with a total wacko who very likely lived in the neighborhood. Great...

Around the same time, a friend of mine was at a McDonald's on Da An Rd., and as he's waiting in line, he sees out of the corner of his eye someone's middle finger raised almost to his face. Like me he thought, Oh, it's one of my buddies. Wrong. Most likely it was the same guy. (We compared descriptions later.) The guy says, "F*ck you" to my friend. My friend says, "Just don't touch me." When the freak got his take-away order to go, he walked past my friend and on his way out screamed at the top of his lungs, "F*CK YOUR MOTHER!!"

Both of us were talking about this guy one day at the school where we worked, and a couple other teachers had similar stories about an individual who fit the same description. In each case there was profanity, jerking-off motions, or Nazi moves...sometimes a combination of acts. We then put up a map of Taipei in our teachers' break room and plotted the locations of such sightings. We had ten or twelve, sort of Da An Area mostly, but he seems to have visited Tai Da on at least one occasion. What became of our shadowy figure, no one really knows. The sightings disappeared after a few months...


OK... and another. A guy came to interview at the language school where I worked in about 1995. He was an American, about late 40s or so. What was odd about him was that he was wearing broken, off-kilter glasses and a horribly obvious wig. To be honest, I do remember that he spoke rather normally and didn't say anything too entirely strange. Anyway, he wasn't hired.

A few weeks later, I saw him at Sizzler with a young Taiwanese girl. I noticed he was talking incessantly to her AND besides the glasses and wig I described above, he was wearing those old Walkman-style headphones. The confused look on the girl's face was priceless...


Wow! This post leaves me wanting more of Elegua's anecdotes. Excellent read, but too short! :notworthy:


I knew that guy... We were both living at the Amigo Hostel up on Chilin Rd at the time. There was something about the Amigo that used to attract really fucked-up individuals. Some of them interesting and kind, but fucked-up nonetheless.

I kind of miss the desparation of living in a fire trap with rats running around the floor. Met some really good people at the Amigo. Kind of sad that I've lost contact with just about all of them now.


That's perfect in my book. Very dead on for living in any situation, but even more so when one is overseas. :bravo:


Would that town be ShrDing, by any chance? I think I know this guy.