Expat rivalry

This post is to serve as a warning to Taiwan newbies and other expats.

The foreign community in Taiwan can be a highly competitive, backstabbing environment, if you’re not careful.

There are a lot of nice people around who may be very helpful and supportive of your endeavors. There are people who will go out their way to give you a hand when things aren’t going well, and people who offer encouraging words of wisdom.

However, there are those who you must be wary of.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to spot these individuals, and unless you’re keenly intuitive, you may find you’ve been taken for a ride. Look at the Glossika thread as an example.

There are yet others, who will pretend to be your friends (afterall, we’re all in this strange place together, right?), but who really just use you to get ahead. These are the ones you must be the most careful of because they can hurt your senses and sensibilities the most.

Be open and warm, compassionate and honest, and the true friends you’re seeking will come to you, no matter what you may have or not have, to offer them.

But always be aware that there are those ignoble few who may covet what you’ve built for yourselves, and who are so selfish, cruel, and calculating, that they will transmogrify into your worst adversaries.

These are the risks of being thrown together with the kinds of individuals you would usually avoid on your home turf. When you do decide someone is your friend here, just examine what that friendship consists of before you offer too much of yourselves.

I would like to hear from others on this subject because the topic of expat rivalry has come to my attention on many occassions, yet this subject has yet to be breached on a discussion forum. Why are expats so competitive here? It really doesn’t matter what you do that gets them going. It could be that you’ve written a good article for a magazine, got a promotion when they were passed over, or got a better job, but this sort of behavior surfaces, again and again, and you may not have paid much attention to it, until it happens to you.

My hope is the canailles will recognize themselves in this post.

The competitiveness of expat communities you refer to is by no means limited to Taiwan. I’m not quite sure what the point of your post is, or perhaps you just had a bad experience tonight?

That’s life. Plenty of backstabbers everywhere - why would Taiwan be any different ?

I had no experiences like that at all- but I was an English teacher and an editor in a gov’t office- not very competitive/dog-eat-dog environments to begin with. The people who gave me trouble were Chinese who were just using me to learn English. How could someone take what you have ‘built’ up? Could you be more specific?

During my time as an English teacher, the only backstabber I came across was a guy who walked into the adults’ bushiban where I was working, and told the manageress “None of your current teachers have a master’s degree, but I do. Give me the best classes.”

Fearing he’d soon be demanding more money, she turned him down.

The previous poster who said backstabbers are everywhere is right, of course.

I don’t think backstabbing is a particular problem among expats in Taiwan. What annoys me much more are those who (a) simply moan and criticize whenever another expat tries to do something positive or constructive and (b) those who talk all the time about their great, impending achievements (often connected to international trade), but when you run into them a couple of years on, they’re still talking the talk but not walking the walk.

But hey, whatever.


i agree with hexuan. why does it have to only be an expat problem?

even while i was a humble student back in the states, i was occasionally approached by people while reading/studying in the library. these folks, who were from one or another of my classes, would be interested in having “note-sharing” or “group-study” sessions.
in reality, half of these were people who rarely went to class and when they did, rarely (if ever) contributed. all they wanted was someone to take notes for them and tutor them on the readings/assignments that they were too lazy to do themselves.

fast forward to taiwan, years later…
so why should professionals (or semi-pros) living the expat life be any different?
i tend to think that most of the people (i.e. other foreigners) i meet will be honest and straightforward. not all, but most.
i noted in the glossika thread that i had met (and re-met) jim/james/michael at the last two happyhours. both times, he seemed nice enough, but at the same time disingenuous enough to keep me from wanting to ever be “friends” with him or his wife.
on the other hand, i’ve met lots of other really cool people who i’ve done stuff with and others who i’d be happy to hang out with.

did the guest have a bad experience?? or just never met any sketchy people before becoming an expat??
what do the rest of you think of this phenom?

I have been an expat for 8 years now and not experienced any backstabbing nor have I heard this from anyone before, expat or not expat. I guess it doesn’t matter but I am not a teacher.

I do what I do best without backstabbing others myself and proof my capabilities with the results I deliver, but you try to fuck with me I fuck you back … :smiling_imp:

The main trouble with expat communities is the self-obsessed whining of people like the original poster.

I mean, for goodness’ sake, grow up.

Yes, it’s a much wider issue and symptomatic of human kind rather than confined to certain communities such as expats.

I don’t like the word use as in using somebody as it has such negative connotations, yet I can’t imagine many people could hold their head up high and swear they have never done so.

We all use each other somewhat in our personal, professional, and emotional relationships, and that is probably tolerated providing there is equity. Perhaps it is only when that equity becomes unbalanced that we cry foul with accusations of being used. This is particularly painful when the relationship is a long term and deeply personal one.

Backstabbing is probably often preceded by feelings of being used but I don’t think that using someone is a pre condition for backstabbing.

Soddom, it looks like your avitar’s doing a bit of ‘backstabbing’ as we speak.


Chuckle. :smiley: But what about the little smiles on their faces?

The ‘stone’ is definitely smiling but the smile on the ‘sponge’s’ face looks a little forced!

Well we’ve all been there!

The original poster is not a whiner.
Jumping on the label “whiner” is a cheap trick used by counter-whiners with too much time on their hands.
If you haven’t experienced back-stabbing in Taiwan, does that mean that back-stabbing is not a big problem in Taiwan?
Then let me try another question.
If you haven’t been the victim of a drive-by shooting in LA, does that mean LA is SAFE?
I am not attacking or backstabbing, but I do feel that you must be speaking from your limited experience when you imply that back-stabbing is not a special problem in Taiwan.
It is.
More to come.

Perhaps it would help if the original poster backs up his claims of expat rivaltry with some expamples or proof.
I wouldn’t deny that backstabbing exists but why this should be an expat thing is beyond my understanding. :?
In fact in my former company with hundreds of expats it seems it was never an issue (between expats) but rather some of the locals were raising such complains.

Perhaps today I am lucky to be the only expat and foreigner in my current company, so the risk of being backstabbed seems to be rather small then … :mrgreen:

Sour grapes do make a whine, eh?

I’m with those who wrote that this sort of shite exists everywhere. I don’t think that attempts to undermine other people are limited to Taiwan, or to expatriate communities.

Nobody has mentioned that the original post sounds very much like it was written by the representative of a company oft discussed in various forums of late. Is it just me who suspects this then?


“Monty, please, no !”

[quote=“steve crook”][
During my time as an English teacher, the only backstabber I came across was a guy who walked into the adults’ bushiban where I was working, and told the manageress “None of your current teachers have a master’s degree, but I do. Give me the best classes.”

Fearing he’d soon be demanding more money, she turned him down.


Is this backstabbing, exactly? Did this guy know you before? Anybody has a perfect right to compete on the market. The school can give classes to the person it feels is the most suitable for the job, whether on the strength of an MA or performance or whatever. Maybe it feels like disloyalty toward another foreigner, or just sheer ego, or whatever, but I don’t see it as somebody really kicking you in the nuts, or trying to.

I think backstabbing is when people resort to lowdown, illegal or unethical means to get jobs or to knock others out of competition, such as, (just for example) reporting them to the tax authorities on false charges, sending the police round on false charges, attempting to send unwanted merchandise to their homes which are not offices (well, maybe that’s not backstabbing, it depends on whether the merchandise is a) paid for and b) good stuff :wink: ) and in my eight years here as an expat, I have thankfully only come across one example of this kind of behavior: the well-known recent Glossika case and related antics (if you haven’t heard about it, search “Glossika” and you’ll see the thread).

There is a certain professional respect that should apply between people in the same business. Actually, maybe your example does fit the “backstabbing” mold as it shows a remarkable lack of respect for those teaching – but to a certain degree, you could say that a person coming in with superior qualifications has a right to try to get what he can using them. Hard to say, I guess. :?: :?

Now, if that teacher got together with you and asked for help with his lesson plans, THEN took your classes, that would definitely fit. Or if he called the cops to get you deported and then showed up to take your job the next day, that would fit. Reading your quote again, it seems like he DID already work there for the same salary as others – looks like he was more trying to make up for his initial stupidity in accepting the same salary as mere mortals without an MA…??

Taiwan…the boundless laboratory for the amateur social psychologist! :laughing:

Don’t bother to flame me because a) I’ve had lots of “abuse” this week from Glossika already, and b) I’m not even sure about what I just said. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions on it. :sunglasses:

Backstabbing is as common in the UK workplace as it is in Taiwan. That has been my experience. By this I mean lying about people to their bosses in order to gain advantage. But it gives solicitors something to do I suppose.