From a site aimed at foreigners in Taiwan - Stupid Advice!
[quote]It took me a year and a half here to learn this lesson.
When you get here things will be very very different. Everyone knows it and everyone complains about it, the real question is what to do about it?
Do as the taiwanese do. If you see them treat each other in a certain way then you treat them that way too. Thier culture is over 5000 yrs old, they do things for a reason. You as a newcomer (meaning not chinese) may not understand why they do things the way they do. This may frustrate you. You may say to yourself why the hell do they treat each other that way? Drive that way? Talk that way? Do business that way? Because they do and the only way to deal with it and live here happily is do the exact same thing they do. That is what bieng in another country is all about, this is your chance to try out something new. Do the things your parents back in hicksville canada or whatever sleepy little town you grew up in told you not to do.
If they cut each other off in traffic, you do it too!!! You may just find its fun!!! So start with the easy stuff, like driving manners, copy them. Or budding in line, you do it too. This should make your daily life alot more pleasant.
I realize big things like lying are a little harder to accept, i personally have not accepted that part of thier society. Anyone have any thoughts on that issue?
Have fun!!!remember they have been doing things this way for a long long time.
You like the west better? I know i like european standards much better, so im going there, im just saying if you are going to live here then…[/quote]
I think Hartzell has the best advice
[quote=“Hartzell”]Below I suggest some basic tips for newcomers arriving in Taiwan. I suppose that some of these are not strictly safety tips, but are important for making a successful transition into the society. Many of them are mentioned with the intent of avoiding arguments which might lead to fights, and in that sense they are important.
(1) Watch your wallet/billfold/purse in crowded markets or on public transportation.
(2) For the first six months you are here, don’t criticize and don’t complain about things you think are not right. Don’t argue with anyone. Observe and take notes only.
(3) In any sort of person-to-person conflict, don’t get uppity about “your rights”. Play dumb. Act as if you are confused and unable to understand the parameters of the situation. Since as a newcomer you will not know how Taiwanese deal with these sitatutions, don’t try to deal with them. Act innocent and naive.
(4) Remember that “dui bu chi” in Chinese is not an admission of guilt. Hence, the Chinese people will normally say “dui bu chi” in many situations where westerners would not feel comfortable saying “I am sorry.” If you follow the habit of the Chinese in this regard, you will have smoother sailing.
(5) If you are not sure of the proper level of politeness in any situation, be “overly polite and submissive”. In my experience, this usually comes across the best.
(6) Don’t insist on your way or your interpretation. For example, foreigners often feel that “going Dutch” is fair. The Chinese usually don’t engage in this practice. Go with the flow.
(7) Don’t look for an exact accounting in money matters. This is especially important in dealing with co-workers and significant others. for example if you ask someone to buy you something, and give them a few NT$ bills, they may come back with the item and forget to give you the change. Don’t worry about it. It will all get sorted out eventually.
(8) The key point of acting unpreturbed (in the Oriental fashion) is not to get mad at the moment. Foreigners tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves. Anger should be subdued until you really know the ropes around here. Then you will be able to express anger in a calm fashion.
(9) Expect inefficiency, incompetence, and lack of organization. The right hand will often not know what the left hand is doing. Contradictory regulations abound. Don’t get upset until you are in a position to make a positive contribution.
(10) The Chinese concept of the honesty of spoken remarks is something similar to “It is not dishonest if there was no deliberate intention to do harm.” In a wide variety of situations, this can be very different from the western notions of honesty. The Chinese will also say “Yes” to all kinds of requests for cooperation when in fact in their mind it is not yet even a “maybe.” Again, since there was no deliberate intention to harm (in fact their brain may not have even begun to analyze the entire issue of their own “intention” in regard to the matter at hand), they don’t consider that to be inappropriate. Go with the flow. Try to understand the meaning or intent of what is being said. Also, if you want to make a smooth adjustment, try to change your own habits of speech to fit the Chinese norm.
Richard W. Hartzell [/quote][/url]