Is picking on strangers' appearances a Taiwanese habit?


Question, is it a common habit for Taiwanese people to pick on strangers, telling the strangers your appearance is bad and you need to fix it?

One of my family member is stocky. According to Western standard and in my opinion, he’s being over-weighted at best, but not being fat, and not even close to being obese.

But in Taiwan, he got strangers coming up to him and having some chit chats with him, but the only main purpose of the conversation was to tell him, “You are too fat, it is not healthy, you need to lose weight, bla bla bla.”

And it comes from all types of people, young guys, young women, old guys, old women,etc, so it is a very bizarre social interactive experience for him.
And some of the guys even grabbed his belly, saying "Your belly is too big. You need to lose weight."
These Taiwanese people aren’t fitness coaches or doctors(even if they are, it’s still bizarre for them to do it to a stranger), and what’s more ironic, they aren’t in particularly good shapes themselves.
So, it’s just WTF at its finest.

He then ask me what those people are thinking and whether it is a common culture for Taiwanese to do that to one another.
Seriously, I don’t know how to answer, so hence the question here.
I think it’s global common sense not to do such a thing to people you don’t know well.
But they just did it.

And this is actually a not even obese guy who have to face such annoying thing.
I can’t imagine how it will be like, if it is a real obese man or woman, how are those Taiwanese going to annoy them with their unwanted body assessment and advice.


Certainly not a Western habit, as a fight, whether physical or verbal, would soon erupt, ha ha.

Would be interesting to know if this also happens in Japan, South Korea, or some other East Asian countries.


It’s not necessarily appearances, people here love giving stupid medical and health advice. Old ladies love to chit chat and give each other stupid health tips that don’t do anything. Mom’s over protect their children by making them wear huge jackets on a “chilly” day in the middle of summer… drinking some roots or eating some grass makes you better…playing basketball makes your kids grow…rubbing this or eating this clears up your acne magically in one day. The lists goes on and on.


it totally is. chinese culture thing.

imo its like a combination of blunt personal comments being acceptable, and confrontation being avoided. people say this shit because they are not used to having any retort so they basically can get away with saying all kinds of rude nonsense and not even feel like they have done something wrong.

thats the part that i find the most silly, they think it isn’t rude, but if you do the exact same thing back to them they get offended.
so thats how i would deal with it.


Fwiw, it happens in Korea too (I used to work there). Don’t know about Japan.


I was on the MRT and a old lady wanted to give me her chair. I don’t know why. I’m not cripple. Maybe its because I look like a visiter and she want to be kind to someone???


All too often my school-aged students report how their parents harp on them for being too fat–and they wouldn’t be considered even close to overweight in the west. Those kids, as well as the ones who are emotional beaten down because they’re constantly berated if they receive less than perfect test scores, really sadden me. It seems like folks learn this behavior in childhood.

I’ve been asked my salary amount several times by perfect strangers. The questions that we westerners feel are intrusive just go with the territory here. I try to challenge myself by coming up with creative responses that subtly tell them to mind their own business.


First of all try to look at the positive, your relative must look like a friendly approachable person.
Of course these people shouldn’t be giving unwanted ignorant comments to strangers, but hey they just utter the first shit that comes into their head.

That’s right…lots of people have no filter here and seem to have mild cases of Tourette’s syndrome.
Its not racism just dumbism.

Some of the stuff people say to each other is really hurtful but nobody ever gets called out on it because of the completely retarded face culture.

‘You just called me fat in public but I can’t call you dumb or an arsehole for calling me fat because it would make YOU lose face and feel uncomfortable’

That’s face culture it’s fecking nuts if you think about it. :eek:


It does not happen regularly in Japan–though if people are in a close circle, they will speak “honne,” not “tatemae” (some form of inner truth, not public truth).

No idea about Korea or other places.



I am trying to edit a translation. Somehow, someone saw fit to call foreigners - important members of society - pudgy, rotund, round faced, and, this one is th3 kicker, Budda like. :noway:I do not think they would use those adjectives with a Taiwanese, least of all when this is a person of certain relevance, and some respect should be given. Moreover, what the heck is this obsession with someone else’s weight?!:wall:


Is’t related to Taipei people are not friendly thing?

Ok, so i need to be aware of them as they will pick on me how shorty I was :innocent:


my girls mom/sister will tell her I need to lose weight but also say I am looking good when I do lose weight so I guess it’s just what they like to see. Maybe fat people offend them lol.


Just caught one refenrence to a priest as “the one with really big ears” . Seriously?! What are we, like 5?! :rant:


I’m tempted to post again :relaxed:

My foreigner boss told me that he love to go to swimming pool but several local Taiwan people told him he was too “HAIRY” :smile_cat: so from that moment he stop.

There are other incidents like in elevator, literally these locals will come out from the elevator and will leave him alone feeling like he got this disease. :neutral_face:

By the way my boss…his handsome :smile:


Yeah this is a pain in the arse. I get it sometimes too. I live in Kaohsiung so maybe people are a bit more curious (due to lack of foreigners) or hick here.

My face sometimes gets red (due to heat, spicey food etc). I get strangers come up and say things like ‘why are you so red?’, ‘are you drunk?’ ‘did you drink whisky in the morning’ - this was when I was buying coffee at 7am and I was in business clothing. I just told them, no it is a wednesday morning and I am going to work.

Once on a 30C+ day some lady commented that I was sweating a lot. I just thought, ‘yeah no shit, its hot as hell here and really humid’.

Other questions are just nosey and would be considered rude in the west. These include:

‘How much money do you make?’. Ironically, it is often taxi drivers or other people who I know I earn much more than so I feel really weird about telling them. I’ll sometimes tell people the truth or just say that it is enough for me.

‘Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend?’. I guess this isn’t too rude but the follow ups are sort of funny, like ‘but Taiwanese girls are easy and love foreigners. You should have a girlfriend’ or ‘I heard foreigners like to come here because Taiwanese girls are easy’. I just tell them that I don’t think Taiwanese girls are easy and then change the topic.

Add to this, random comments made in Chinese or people talking about you in Chinese right in front of you.

I once had someone tell my ex that he was surprised she was going out with me because foreigners normally just get ugly girls. That’s probably one of the ruder and dumber things I have had translated to me.

Add to that being stared at all the time.

On the flip side, I think people here are much more likely to say you are handsome or come up and give you a compliment. That happens to me a lot more than in the west.

Swings and roundabouts.


you can say that actually, you just need to do it in a way that isnt a reply to their insult and isn’t said angrily. basically you need to say it in the same oblivious dumbass way they do.


I know how it’s done…but it’s pure bullshit.


She was trying to do her good deed for the day. You were supposed to ask her for some tissue to wipe the sweat away with. (I know, I know…)


Yup, Taiwanese would say anything to your face whether you know them or not. It’s the way to start a conversation strangely enough.v


I’d take this explanation one step further. Seeing the beads of sweat glistening on your moist skin, she started having fantasies about licking the sweat off of you. It got to the point where her feverish imagination inspired her to actually start a sweat-themed conversation with you. “Did I just say that out loud?” she was probably thinking to herself.