Is picking on strangers' appearances a Taiwanese habit?


What’s the weirdest thing anyone came up to say to you guys and ladies?

I used to hate the acne advice when I was young and came visit for the summer. People would say dumb ass things like wash your face. It’s like no shit I fucking wash my face. Don’t you think I try that?


The culture shock books describe them coming up to you in the elevator and asking you where you live and what your job is which seems personal to most people.

The culture shock books don’t cover the part about them asking why you’re so fat.


It’s usually someone who isn’t in great shape themselves that ask that in my experience


Boy, some people have really thin skin in this thread. I get comments from students whether I put on 5kg (“teacher, you’re getting fat”) or lose 5kg (“teacher, you’re getting skinny again”), and I don’t really pay much attention to either because it’s meaningless bullsh!t and I’m not that vain. The only thing that bothers me is when I’m the subject of a conversation in Chinese (or Taiwanese) and I can’t follow what anyone is saying. Yeah, that’s annoying. I also hate it when people don’t react to social cues. I have a doorman who drives me crazy. Every time he sees me he wants to practice his English. I could be rushing my baby to the doctor, or struggling with loads of groceries and the dude will pester me with repeated broken English phrases.


An old guy once came up to me on the street here and said I have poor blood circulation. I guess I looked tired?


is it really about having thick or thin skin when the person doing the insulting wouldn’t take the same insults back at them.

its just weird anti social behaviour.


It is a power relationship. Some people think they have the right to point fingers at other people and make them little. You are not allowed to do the same to them.


If you are the boss people must be quite and listen to you. If you have power you are naturally superior. Maybe its a chinese logic thing.


Among all the people I know, the ones who have the habit of criticizing / picking on others’ appearances are the ones who look plain and unattractive themselves.


hahaha this is true.

my gf has told me a lot of weird things about her boss. sometimes he likes to point out how smart he is. obviously the staff can’t say jack about it.


I would say it’s a universal thing. Taiwan just happens to have lots of people like that.
“Having a habit of picking on others, but get mad as long as someone else picks on you” is the way to be a miserable asshole who have no more friends.


Something I wondered about. I know many girls that came here from the US or Europe that had some sort of body dismorphic disorder or eating disorders. I’m no therapist. But I knew many girls that suffered from that before and many of them really struggled being in taiwan because of this. Many had relapses after many years being better and others just could not find proper care. Do Taiwanese girls and guys not suffer under this because people are ignorant to these problems or is it just people here are used to it that it doesn’t bother them.


They have the same issues Andrew, no different whatsoever. Source: Taiwanese friends.


On the contrary, I find Western women a lot more healthier and cheerful than Taiwanese women.

As I have mentioned above, Taiwanese people have a very weird standard of beauty.
Most Western people with ordinary body type are considered “fat” by Taiwanese standard. So, it is the Taiwanese standard which is sick and annoying. What’s worse, some nosy Taiwanese even want to impose their thoughts on Westerners in Taiwan.

I’m glad Western ladies in Taiwan are not affected by those Taiwanese people.


They might not seem affected my friend. Most that suffer BDD or ED won’t look it. Looking cheerful has nothing to do with it. They won’t seek help or share even with the closes of friends or family.


i think there is good and bad to it. obviously telling people they are fat has no good to it, but being aware of whats fat and what isn’t is a good thing. that whole fat is beautiful body positive movement is a just a gross denial of reality.


I don’t disagree with your statement, but obviously the Taiwanese standard is way off the mark. “Western fat” is truly fat without doubt, but “Taiwanese fat” is just a joke. As many members have pointed out here, lots of Taiwanese people who are not even over-weighted are constantly whining about their being too fat.

The only similar standard like this in Western countries is probably the Ukrainian standard, for I notice that Ukrainian women are outstandingly thinner than any other European women. I’m not going to judge, but I just remembered that one thin Ukrainian woman just couldn’t even put her carry-on luggage onto the rack, and it turned out that an oriental hero came to her rescue. Hehe.


In my experience, locals like these (especially in the workplace) are insecure folks. Have nothing better to talk about but other people. I have local friends who don’t care to talk much about appearances.

A few years back, I had a colleague whose day would begin by checking whatever the heck’s my breakfast and pointing out that a cup of cappuccino has too much sugar and that I should stick to brewed coffee. In most cases, I just make light of the situation, or just completely ignore her hehe. It works since most locals are non-confrontational.

Sometimes they wouldn’t really pick on your appearance but on what you’re doing as a subtle hint that they disapprove or they think you’re fat or just not healthy enough. Usually, I get back at them by pointing out how awful the smell of their herbal stuff were or how blah their beauty tea really is.


Not that it happens that often, but I do have a standard response for both the weight and salary queries.

“More than you”


I think I’ve already posted most of the funny encounters a week ago, there have been a few more since then:

One guard in my building always says stupid/funny stuff. In fact my friends always get a kick out of how ridiculous and unprofessional my guards are.

“Hey, Numba 1 (he doesn’t know my name and this is like one phrase in English he knows). Do you believe in Jesus?”

“No I don’t.” I say.

“I’m Buddhist” he says and walks off.

I then have another guard tell me in English how he is a born again Christian after having a faith healing ceremony designed for children.

I was left thinking ‘what the fuck?’ about this whole situation.

The rest of the week has just been the usual, some random Taiwanese man commenting that it is very enjoyable to smoke cigarettes in the sun (cool dude), Old ladies looking in my shopping cart (oh thats what foreigners eat), getting asked if I am married and then telling me to find a Taiwanese girl and people commenting on why I am sweating (again, it’s fucking hot!). Just the usual comments that make Taiwan weird/funny.