Are Americans the most difficult Westerners in Taiwan?

Two friends of mine – one from South Africa and one from England – told me that Americans have a bad reputation among other Westerners in Taiwan because they are so arrogant and like to start fights at bars. And one of my foreign colleagues – an Aussie – said that I, an easygoing lad, seemed more to her like a Kiwi or Australian, not a typically aggressive American.

I respect these friends’ opinions and figure there must be something to them. Personally, I think that Kiwis are the most friendly bunch, and maybe Aussies are the most humorous…my impressions from mingling with Westerners in both Japan and Taiwan. I think American youth culture is too rough and in-your-face in recent times, but I didn’t know there was a general perception in Taiwan (or elsewhere) that Americans like to fight all the time or are more arrogant than, say, arrogant-by-tradition Western Europeans.

Would any Westerners or Taiwanese like to comment? Are Americans generally considered the most ‘difficult’ Westerners in Taiwan, by either Taiwanese or other Westerners?

I am a curious American.

Have you met Raymond in Hsinchu? He will change your mind about Americans being the only ignorant ones pretty quickly.


At first I thought you were a troll, then I read some of your other postings.

My recommendation to you is to jettison your “enlightened” friends. You being told that you “seemed more to her like a Kiwi or Australian, not a typically aggressive American” is pretty insulting. This means that she is using your nationality as a means of judging you.

Just imagine if a Mexican person, Jewish person, Black person, Catholic person were told by his/her non-Mexican, non-Jewish, non-Black, non-Catholic friend that they are liked because they do not adhere to the stereotypes associated with their nationality, religion or race. Does this seem like the mouthings of an upstanding human being?

This is plain ignorance at work here and after reading your other posts on a similar subject am amazed that you are perpetuating such fallacious logic.

quote[quote] Personally, I think that Kiwis are the most friendly bunch, and maybe Aussies are the most humorous..... [/quote]

Alright! Do you wan the blowjob now or later?


Scooby and Ima Goin…are you two referring to my post? It seems that the words I wrote changed on some others’ computer screens.

Nope, I am not insulted at all. Why should I feel insulted if some have bad impressions of Americans? You know the saying about throwing a rock into a pack of dogs. There is a lot of truth to that.

All I did was ask if anyone has any thoughts about the accuracy of these perceptions or whetehr such perceptions exists, regardless of their veracity. I am a bit perplexed at the reactions.

Still curious about this. Does the lack of posts mean that this perception is not widely held?

I think you’re more or less right actually. Many Americans might not want to admit it, but there is a perception amongst a lot of people that Americans are arrogant, or the loudmouth tourist type or something. Not saying it’s true or anything, just seems to be what a lot fo people think. We could specualte forever abotu why, but my guess is that part of the reason is something to do with the ‘political arrogance’ that stems from the fact that America is the most powrful country in the world. In my opinion Americans are no worse than, say, Canadians


Thanks for your comments Bri. Actually, that is my tentative theory – that Europeans’ perception that the U.S. is ‘arrogant’ on the international stage makes them see individual Americans as arrogant, whether they are relatively arrogant or not (which they may be; I don’t know).

What about Americans liking to fight? Are bar fights started more by Americans than by others? I would venture that this probably has at least a kernel of truth to it.

I am curious about this because I want to know what perceptions others – Europeans or Taiwanese – may bring with them when they meet individual Americans.

I think the perception of the “ugly american”, can be correct when we travel or visit another country. But lets not generalize here. Some people might say that the French are snobby. I have found that the “Brits” tend to like to have a go at it in bars. I think it is the person you meet and how they treat you makes you form an opinion about them. I try not to say that this person from a certain country is this or that but, it is hard when you see them act a jerk. I think that us Americans can be arrogant but could it be seen as being too confident?

I have no trouble with people generalizing. A generality is just something that is believed to be true more than 50% of the time. We generalize all the time and must do so because we are all not all-knowing. What we need to do is examine the VERACITY of each particular generalization to see if the proposition is, in fact, true 50% or more of the time.

I am interested to know:

  1. What are the general perceptions about Americans in Taiwan
  2. What is the veracity of each of these perceptions? Some will be accurate, and others will not be.

Please note that I want to be aware of even the inaccurate generalizations, not to just dismiss them as ‘stupid.’ It is helpful to know what people believe and perceive, regardless of how much logic or truth is in the beliefs or perceptions. Shutting down people for making generalizations (positive or negative) just results in us not being able to get to the truth of a matter and also prevents us from knowing what people around us think – both of which are extremely valuable for communicating well and living well together.

Other takers? Do others support Bri’s perception (noted as a perception, not a personal belief)?

Forsythe, I agree that some generalizations can be useful. “Snakes bite, so stay away from them.” Useful if you can’t tell the difference between a coral snake and a king snake. But how valuable is the genralization that Americans like to fight or that Chinese people pick their noses? Are you going to sit down next to a friedly person at a bar, find out he’s American, and then flee in terror?

Can we get down off our high horse about generalisations for a while? It’s getting a bit old.

And one more thing. People who make generalisations really suck. ( )

Here here serendipity,

Right on. Some generalizations are not useful at all. They can be funny or make a humorous point…but should not be taken as gospel.
Obviously that Taiwanese gal had some bad run ins with some americans. Good. Fine. NEXT.
I mean lol…
Its funny also to remember that the Taiwanese for the most part also LOVE Americans. They emulate our culture, watch our movies, copy our fashion. Is it no coincidence that American English teachers are prefered more than any other in Taiwan?
Lifes an adventure…we will meet many people along our journey. Keep your eyes open, you might just be suprised.

I agree with you on the generalization but, is does not make it right. I hard to juge people at first take so whey not ask why that person might have done action. Maybe the other person caused it and you only saw the reaction? Let’s look a little deeper before we start casting those stones!

A generalization is not a judgment. It a statement of what one believes to be as near to truth as she/he can determine at the moment. If I followed you anti-generalizers around for a day, I would hear a handful of them from all of you. We CANNOT think without forming generalizations.

The reason I harp on this is because some people try to shut down debate by just saying “That is a generalization; you can’t say that; that is stupid.” The arrogance and the closed minds belong to these. The elitist attitude blinds them from seeing that they themselves generalize (even in some of their unhappy responses, funny enough) and that they are the ones who do not openly examine all sides of things. Fake liberals these are.

By the way, what posts are you guys reading? Some of you really read a lot of strange, unsaid things into others’ posts. To be honest, 50% or more of some of these posts seem to be replying to some mysterious comments I have never seen. The more I read, the more unhelpful I think these forums are in general. To bad, because there is a lot of potential.

“We CANNOT think without forming generalizations.”

i think that last line says a lot about you. i would be interested to hear your generalizations on blacks, jews, mexicans, indians(south asian), and perhaps homosexuals.

I have gotten mixed stereotypes about “Americans” while traveling around. The more western view about Americans seems to be that they are a bit uptight and stuffy but on the more non-werstern side they are veiwed to the opposite extreme i.e. over-sexed. I think the stereotypes all depend on who is speaking and you just have to try to view each person induvidually.

Enough generalizing!! Enough talking about generalizing!!! I don’t know about you all, but I’m ALL generalized out. Pro generalizing or Anti generalizing…this thread has veered off topic into the Twilight zone.
What were we talking about?

As to the idea of Americans being more violent: Bull****.

My theory is that the Americans in Taiwan get this reputation because so many of the ones that are here are young. There are a lot of American guys here just out of college, which means they’re a lot more full of themselves than they will be in about ten years.

Young guys get angry more often. They get insulted more easily. They are much bigger jerks than they will be when they mature a little.

Yes, this is a generalization, but as someone who worked in bars for over fifteen years, I can tell you that the biggest Ah*es are the younger men. Yes, I am prejudiced. Yes, that’s a generalization. And yes, I am an unapologetic “Age-ist”.

From my own experience, the other Westerners in Taiwan are usually a bit older. Ergo, a bit more mature.

Every nationality has it’s “label” but I wouldn’t call the Americans as ‘most agressive’, at least I have made no such experience. Some do have a big mouth (that’s a generalization, isn’t it? ) but I have also met and worked with very nice American individuals.
Reminds me of a Chinese I met once who grew up in America, he fitted the bill: big (huge) statue and a mouth to go with it, proud on his wrong-doings and barfights when he was younger.
Ups, that seems to confirm the generalization you mentioned, just leaves me thinking if it’s not the environment at fault here!?

You say Aussies are most humerous, maybe true, but I also met one who’s every second word started with “f” … and he was a really unpleasant (and nowhere funny) guy. There are such and such, in every race or nationality.
Perhaps I also depends which country you are from, I have been “taught” certain stereotypes but found them only partially true.

I would agree that generalizations do apply but you shouldn’t judge based on that (like you already mentioned), it depends very much on the individual(s) and how you approach the person.
Keep and open mind and give him/her a chance, no matter what color, race or religion.

The biggest problem I have noticed Americans having in the past week has been how to beat a Canadian hockey team in a gold medal game. It seems they just can’t find a way.