Foreigners avoiding each other

I have read topic on westerners avoiding other ones in public places.
Can’t find it tho.

Something that has always amused me and I don’t understand why.
Today sitting on Metro train Nanshijiao, end station so lots of seats available.
Western guy enters goes to sit opposite me, sees me abruptly stops seating and try casually to walk 3 carriage away to find one of many spare seats.

So if your reading this 6 ft tall light brown hair and beard 20.20 nanshijiao WHY?

Never happens to me.


I just came from that train like now. I usually walk towards the front so when I make my transfer at Dongmen to the redline north, I’m already positioned to be at the end of the train at my destination. This evening, the train was waiting when I got to the platform so I rushed into the back car - but then proceeded to make my way to a forward car for my transfer several stops away


I don’t know. I find this troubling too. Perhaps Westerners are too individualistic to care for one another?

In America foreigners all stick together, never mingling outside of their ethnic group. This is part of the reason why so many foreigners in America don’t speak English. As long as they stay within their circle, they don’t have to. And for anything else (like visiting the DMV, Social Security office, etc.) they have friends who will help. When I was in the states many Chinese people I run into (I unfortunately do not see many Taiwanese, lots of Chinese though) seems friendlier to me over there too.

Maybe it’s just individualism. Most people outside of the Western sphere of influence are not very individualistic at all.

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That hasn’t been my experience. I grew up in Manhattan and went to college in New York City. I’m Filipino, and my dad (who was also Filipino) used to complain about the “crab mentality” he always saw in Filipino migrant communities in the US (and especially in the Philippines). I also heard the term crab mentality used to describe African-American and at least one other ethnic community.

Looking at that definition of Crab Mentality on Wikipedia reminds me of “Kiasu”, which is a negative Singaporean stereotype. Come to think of it, I never did notice much of a Singaporean community when I lived in the US, so maybe there’s that, too

I studied in Singapore for graduate school, and the context kiasu was used always seemed to me that if I can’t have something, then no one should have it


What I often observe is a sudden silence when passing another foreigner on the streets.


I don’t know…

Chinese are completely different, seems to look out for one another when in a Western country. But New York is a completely different experience, as I’ve heard New Yorkers tend to be really indifferent to one another.

I mean I had some Chinese guys get real friendly with me (not in a gay way or anything), and the fact that I’m Taiwanese seemed to not matter. All they cared is that I spoke Chinese. The Chinese restaurants in the states hires only Chinese speakers (they’re really picky in this way), but pays fairly well. Work hour is really long but pay is like about 3500 a month, and they provide you with a place to live and food. They will hire you regardless of your immigration status by the way. For some Chinese, that’s the only place they could work.

You just both nod heads in acknowledgement and then go your separate ways.

I wouldn’t bother in Taipei as there are too many foreign looking people. Outside of Taipei it’s SOP though, isn’t it?


It’s a combination. You’re ruining their charisma man/woman fantasy and you symbolize everything they don’t like about the place they left to come to Taiwan.


Didn’t mean to make you feel awkward, but I could smell your breath all the way across the aisle. :sunglasses:


I think it depends on the context. If I happen to run into another foreigner in an out-of-the-way place I think the situation might warrant a subtle greeting or head nod or something, assuming we both have the mood for that. Maybe even a conversation, if we’re trapped together on a train or whatever. But if I spot another foreigner in the street in Taipei, which happens often, meh, who cares?

I always find it a bit odd when someone goes out of their way to introduce me to another British person on the assumption we’d just love to talk to one another. We both voluntarily left the place containing sixty-odd million of us.

China was different though, given the lack of foreigners where I lived. The local attitude of everyone in the world being either “Chinese” or “not Chinese” seemed to rub off on us foreigners too, with the consequence that any time I passed a white, black, or anyway not Chinese looking person we’d say hello, maybe even chat for a bit. I have a vivid memory of a Middle Eastern guy driving by me on a scooter wearing a thawb or whatever it’s called, smiling, waving, and shouting “ni hao, salaam alaikum”, with the only thing we have in common being that we’re both not Chinese. I always found it a bit bizarre.


Chinese act as if they have 1 choice as to who they interact with, other Chinese. In a place, where there are few Chinese then a Chinese will be starving for interaction. Japanese, Koreans, Colgate graduates the same

Most Westerners (except French maybe) will interact with anyone and are not starved for interaction. They are starved for food, to pay rent, get the money for the next Visa run

On top of all the stress of being in a strange place and a place where the xenophobic society doesn’t want you, There are few opportunities for foreigners here. So foreigners see each other as the enemy or competition. If a particular foreigner is outgoing, lively, fun, good sense of humor and likes kids then other foreigners know very well such an outgoing person is serious competition. A good thing become a bad thing. Asians too attack each other in times of scarcity. And Look at how girls interact when attractive guys around; they demonstrate all sorts of competitive behaviors.

Someone said a bucket of crabs :crab: is a good analogy.

Was I not you :wink:

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I prefer ant mentality.

Ants will sacrifice themselves for the colony, or to protect the queen…

Meaning if someone floods an anthill, the ants will literally drown themselves to form a protective bubble so the queen doesn’t die. That’s also what makes them so hard to get rid of…

America is a melting pot.

15.1 % of American marriages are mixed race. That doesn’t even account for mixed ethnicity

The shows blacks whites both had a huge jump In more interracial marriage from 1980 to 2015. The group that had a big drop was Asians.

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That is funny , I had never thought of it like that.
“Get away you are a symbol of all I hate”


I would prefer to be an Asian giant hornet taking on a 1000 bees with a few buddies.

In big cities foreigners tend to ignore each other, as there’s so many. I always nodded to foreigners here in Taitung, but last few years there has been an influx, so maybe not.
I think there’s a kind of hesitancy too- some of it is"What if I acknowledge the other person and don’t get recognition back?", but there’s also a sense of “only noobs nod to other foreigners; I’m too cool and into Chinese culture for that”.

All of that. Also, I don’t nod to foreign dudes with backpacks, beards and sometimes flip-flops. I’m terrified they may want to strike up a conversation with me.
The laowai women are even worse. They glare at you like you’re a serial rapist.
Of course I’m generalizing and stereotyping, but 90% of waiguoren blokes I see have beards, for some odd reason, and 90% of woman look at me like I’m a rapist, which is odd, because I’m little and puny, and couldn’t even rape a McDonalds burger.


Sounds like a load of shite. If anything I’m drawn to seeing a (genetically) familiar face, and it’s great to eavesdrop again. Hell, if I’m in a really good mood I might even strike up a conversation!

There are less foreigners in Kaohsiung than Taipei though (we still have a fair number), so maybe people are more blasé about it up north.