Advantages of being an ABC in taiwan

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

[quote=“ztephen”]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[/quote]

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.

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.

Far away hills are greener :whistle:

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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 dont 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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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.

There are jobs however that are exclusively for ABC’s. They want to hire an ABC before they would look for a white person.[/quote]

Interesting. Can you tell us more? I’m on the lookout for a new job.

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?

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! :slight_smile:

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.

For me though, I thought of working for a trade company but I realized that I am hardly business material. I hope to gain additional education in order to work in research and development. Seems to me those opportunities are limited in Taiwan.


-Everything else

[quote=“Tony the Tiger”]Advantages:

-Everything else

As far as girls goes, if you grew up as an American, you will have trouble relating to girls here, and you might not even like the way your inlaws or other family member expects of you.

In short, don’t come to Taiwan unless you feel called to come here.

[quote=“Taiwan Luthiers”][quote=“Tony the Tiger”]Advantages:

-Everything else

As far as girls goes, if you grew up as an American, you will have trouble relating to girls here, and you might not even like the way your inlaws or other family member expects of you.

In short, don’t come to Taiwan unless you feel called to come here.[/quote]

Haven’t looked at the forums in a long while, but I’m finally omw to Taiwan. Seems Taiwan Luthiers like highlighting the negative aspects of being an ABC there, I really appreciate it. Thank you to everyone that posted and if any one else has anything else to add I would really appreciate it.


I misread -Conscription.

Silly me.

Also, people get called ABCs for being in Australia for a year or two.

Maybe a we’ll see a trend of ABC men going out with foreign women. Who would ABC women date though?

most companies here requires employee that could recite the whole alphabet. so if you’re only ABC, I guess you’re in a lot of trouble…


I misread -Conscription.

Silly me.

Also, people get called ABCs for being in Australia for a year or two.[/quote]

They are called fake ABCs in Chinese. But it is really annoying when those people insist on speaking English to locals.

I grew up in the USA. There is no trouble relating to women here. Many people here also assume that returning Taiwanese come from wealthy families, many who immigrated as business migrants overseas. I returned to work in the family business rather than looking for a career here. We employ over 2000 people both here and in China and manufacture for US and European clients. We also employ people like muself who have grown up abroad and returned to Taiwan to live. They generally make very good employees.

Women are women and it doesn’t matter where they come from. If you can relate with them you can have relationships with them. My brother is married to a white armerican and they have nice mixed kids back in the USA. Yes they get looked at sometimes as its unusual for white women to have an Asian husband. Not really a big deal. Some men have trouble relating to women no matter where the women come from.

I’m not an ABC, I am a Taiwanese who left Taiwan as a child and returned as an adult.

Before you become fluent in the language and culture, it’s a disadvantage to be an ABC in Taiwan. People will cut you some slack for not knowing the ins and outs, but not to the extent that they do for non-Asians (referred to as foreigners from now on).

However, once you’re sufficiently skilled with the language and culture, you’ll have a significant advantage as an ABC. Sure, you can argue the same for foreigners, and yes, foreigners who’ve assimilated do fare better than those who still can’t order in Chinese at McDonald’s, but at the end of the day, society in general will still prefer a fellow Taiwanese to a foreigner for the simple fact that we blend in better.

What a lot of ABCs don’t understand is that in the eyes of Taiwanese people, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived abroad or how little time you’ve spent in Taiwan. The fact of the matter is, you have Taiwanese blood coursing through your veins, and ancestry is everything in Asian culture, so you will always be Taiwanese and Taiwan will always be your motherland, and it’s a serious offense to not make the effort to understand where you come from. Now they’ll give you some leeway because they understand that you’re handicapped from not growing up here, but they’ll still expect you to understand a decent amount. And the only thing worse than not knowing is not making an effort to learn. We’ve all seen the ABCs who think they’re better than everyone else here and look down on everything. Granted, you have plenty of foreigners who do that too, and Taiwanese people cuss them out behind their backs, but in the end, they’re just foreigners. For someone with Taiwanese blood to diss their own country like that is simply inexcusable.

It’s not to say that you can’t complain about Taiwan. Lots of Taiwanese people complain left and right about this island because there’s just so much wrong with it. But before you can complain about Taiwan to Taiwanese people, you must first acknowledge it as your home, and yourself as one of them. Ever tried going to France and btching in English about why it’s so hard to find a Starbucks in this damn country? They’d promptly tell you to get the fck out if you don’t like it. In French, of course.

The trick to being successful as an ABC in Taiwan is to stop competing as a foreigner, because Taiwanese people will never fully accept you as a foreigner and will just see you as a fake. Instead, market yourself as a Taiwanese person with Western abilities just as good as a foreigner’s. That’s how you become the “best of both worlds”.

I’m not saying I agree with this; I’m just explaining how it is.