"I DON't HAVE ANY AMERICAN TIME".. is that an insult?

Sitting in an office being a fly on the wall in a school, I heard a teacher say He doesn’t have any American Time. Roughly translated… it means free time.

There is a Chinese only discussion related to the phrase but I don’t have “American Time” to paste it. Is that backdoor way of saying that they think that Americans are lazy? This idiom has been around a while now. I’m really interested in learning its origins…

Never heard of it. What’s the Chinese? 美國時間? How is it used? 我沒有美國時間? Or something like that?

EDIT: here’s a website that seems to explain it: here.

Apparently, it’s because Westerners (the ones Taiwanese have most contact with being Americans) value free time for recreation, whereas the Taiwanese work all the time. Hence: “American time” means “spare time”. It’s not saying that Americans are lazy; it’s more that we’re not overly obsessed with work.

Not an insult. But it is more of someone answered with an irritation. Much like when someone asked the wife to cook something for few friends coming, if she doesn’t feel like it, she would say

我没有这个美国时间

My wife said this to me all the time when we were younger.

Actually now that iv worked for over a decade in the USA I can safely say that iv never worked so doggone hard in my life. Compared to my working life in Taiwan. So really it should be

I dont have Taiwan Time - to denote free time.

I honestly do not think the average Taiwanese works harder then the average American. Quite the contrary.

A lot of “work” time in Taiwanese offices are pretty relaxed compared to an American office.

Outside of perhaps at an internet company.

My experience was the same as Tommy’s. There are giant misconceptions about how much free time (and how many government subsidies) Americans have. If you want to make a good living, you generally work long hours in the USA.

There is a difference between carving out time to enjoy life a little in the midst of a busy schedule, and simply giving up on having any kind of a life because you can’t manage your time, because everyone else stays in the office late doing nothing useful, and because you have no idea of how to actually enjoy life.

It should be fat and lazy…

It should be fat and lazy…[/quote]

well we sure as heck aint lazy (those that work) and we are not fat, a bit rotund maybe but not fat k ? :smiley:

Some gal in Jakarta (not my present gf) was interested in me and saw my pic, and then a pic of my cat. Her comment to me “oh you are fat and your cat is fat, hehe” Well THAT didnt put her on tommy’s potential mate list, thats for sure.

So many questions, so little American Time…

Jesus H. Christ! What the hell is this? A jelly doughnut? Commie scribble!?!?!?

Ironic given how little free time Americans have compared to much of the rest of the developed world.

Do most Taiwanese really think Americans live a relaxing life?!


From andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com … ion-1.html

I don’t think that table’s accurate. According to this UK workers are entitled to 28 days a year, which may or may not include public holidays, the highest in Europe. Maybe the saying should be ‘I don’t have any British time.’

I’m not sure I follow the above sentence for the following reasons.

Most people consider themselves normal. To be “overly” anything would be considered abnormal. I don’t think a Taiwanese is thinking in his or her mind. “Oh, I’m overly obsessed by spending long hours at this office” They would think they are doing the right thing.
Then they read an American travel guide stating all the fun things American families are doing on the weekends or hear the foreign teacher refuse to come in on the weekend for unpaid work because he just spent a lot of money on a ticket to go to Taidong.

I believe he will think that we don’t have a good work ethic. Not that he is overly obsessed.

I’m not sure I follow the above sentence for the following reasons.

Most people consider themselves normal. To be “overly” anything would be considered abnormal. I don’t think a Taiwanese is thinking in his or her mind. “Oh, I’m overly obsessed by spending long hours at this office” They would think they are doing the right thing.[/quote]
Many Taiwanese I’ve met don’t think they themselves are overly obsessed with work, but they do think that Taiwanese society is.

I like thinking it as I don’t have American time because it’s 16 hours(?) behind Taiwan. How nice would it be if I have the “American Time”, it’d only be 4am in the west coast…

20 days is the average/minimum starting in UK isn’t it? They try to limit it to 23 days at a lot of places but people on older contracts can have 30 days.Then some companies close for 10 days over Xmas break. Then add in public holidays through the year. Not too shabby.
Still to be French and Italian and take off the whole of August… Well they used to anyway!

Having worked in many a Taiwan office, I can say that if people here were more efficient, they too would have ‘American time.’

Why be efficient when you still get no holidays, no kudos and no increase in salary? That’s what happens here.
In America if you work hard and efficiently you can make big dollars.

20 days is the average/minimum starting in UK isn’t it? They try to limit it to 23 days at a lot of places but people on older contracts can have 30 days.Then some companies close for 10 days over Xmas break. Then add in public holidays through the year. Not too shabby.
Still to be French and Italian and take off the whole of August… Well they used to anyway![/quote]

According to what I looked at 28 days or 5.6 weeks is the legal minimum for full time workers, not including bank holidays. It sounded like a lot to me too, but it’s quite recent I think.

[quote=“headhonchoII”]Why be efficient when you still get no holidays, no kudos and no increase in salary? That’s what happens here.
In America if you work hard and efficiently you can make big dollars.[/quote]

I know an analyst who works 7am to 9pm or later Monday to Saturday and she makes 20,000 usd/month or more. But you could work those same hours in a supermarket as a check out clerk and make ten bucks an hour and double after 9 hours in a day. But thats not “real” money is it? So its not just the hours, its what the heck you do and who for.

[quote=“tommy525”]
I know an analyst who works 7am to 9pm or later Monday to Saturday and she makes 20,000 usd/month or more.[/quote]
That is horrible. When are people gonna realize that time > money? I hope she doesn’t plan to do that for long.