Respect for privacy -- to trust, or not to trust

Here’s a question:

I’ve got a Taiwanese girlfriend who I haven’t known too long. It’s not serious, and she knows that. She has admitted to me that she is insatiably curious, and is the type of person that “needs” to discover things that are off limits to her. She will eavesdrop. She asks a lot of probing questions to try to uncover my “secrets” and find out about my past. She wanted to read my personal correspondence. She wanted to look at my photos. I denied her all these things, because she is not in a need-to-know position and I don’t feel like answering her questions about the life I left behind.

Anyway, my question is, can I trust her to be in my place or will she go through my things if I’m not there? I know, I know, everyone is different… But I want to know if anyone has any insight as to whether or not it is “ok” from a cultural standpoint to snoop through a lover’s stuff. I know there is a much different notion of “privacy” operating here than what I have been used to in other countries.

I would say the answer to your question is a resounding NO. Especially if the relationship, is, as you say, not serious. Quite simply, you don’t know how, when or why the information will be passed on to other people or used against you later.

Trust me, I have just had a very similar freaky thing happen to me, whereby someone I don’t even know sought out old and inaccurate information about me and passed it on to my significant other. It was very damaging and has created lots of problems, that basically should not exist.

Taipei is truly a village, and people here seem to have nothing better to do than gossip. Don’t lay yourself open to that sort of thing, particularly for the sake of someone who probably will be nothing more than a memory in a few years’ time.

One other thing; I find it strange that your girlfriend is SO curious about everything and wants to experience “new” things. Are you her social studies project??? I am sure if she wants to learn new stuff she can use the internet or any other of the modern technical devices we currently have at our disposal. This is not the 1960’s after all.

You say she has an insatiable curiosity and that she “needs” to discover things that are off-limits. You have explicitly made your correspondence, photos, etc. off-limits.

I think that answers your questions. I don’t think cultural values comes into the equation in this case.

Costco sells those big rolls of duct tape – I suggest that if you leave her unattended in your apartment, you should truss her up with some of that.

Otherwise, why don’t you go through your photos when she’s not around, take out any that you don’t want her to see and show her the rest. That should help to sate her curiosity.

BTW, I wouldn’t worry about those ones of you with the sheep – they’re already on the Internet

Curiosity killed the cat in my case. I had a girlfriend once who had an unhealthy interest in my past and the parts of my social life that didn’t concern her.
Sometimes when i’d leave my office during work hours to go and get a bite to eat, she’d follow me around to see where I went and who I met. If I met a female friend for dinner, she’d appear from the shadows, accost us and immedately introduce herself.
Then she managed to get a hold of my cellphone and rang every number I had in my SIM phonelist to introduce herself to everyone I know. Even people living overseas who I hadn’t spoken to for a long long time.
She roped her friends into spying on me and reporting my actions when she and I weren’t together.
The final straw for me was catching her after she had broken into my apartment one night. She’d managed to crawl under an outside gate that was locked, onto my balcony and through my patio window (that I had been stupid not to lock.)
I caught her red-handed rummaging through stuff in my home.
Not that it bothered me too much, because by this time I’d pretty much decided to give her the hoof. What bothered me was that having caught her in my apartment when she didn’t have a key or permission to be there she refused to leave even after I got my landlord over to boot her out. My landlord got so exasperated that he had to call the cops before she reluctantly decided to leave.
Then there was the retaliation … tall tales of woe told by her to the president of my company. What a monster I was! How cruel! A barbarian! To be honest, I’m surprised I’ve still got a job …

Anyone else got any psycho shau jie tales?

quote[quote]One other thing; I find it strange that your girlfriend is SO curious about everything and wants to experience "new" things. Are you her social studies project???? I am sure if she wants to learn new stuff she can use the internet or any other of the modern technical devices we currently have at our disposal. This is not the 1960's after all. [/quote]

I don’t get the “new” part. The only “new” things I have introduced her to are foreplay, orgasms, and decent treatment on a regular basis. Social studies project? No. Sexual educator? Yes.(By the way, my sincere thanks go out to all the idiotic/lazy/ignorant/incompetent foreigner guys who have gone before and make my job here in Taiwan so much easier, whether it’s work or dating).

This woman is very cool, and her attitude toward our relationship is very “western”. I know she would like something more, but she’s willing to accept something casual because “foreigners are different”. She’s just curious about my past.

P.S. I plan to duct tape her to a sheep tonight and make her watch me while I go through my photo albums, all for my own perverse pleasure.


Your girlfriend is probably eavesdropping and wanting to go through your stuff to make sure that you are not acquainted with her two other boyfriends!


On a serious note for a moment, I believe that what this thread raises is the entire issue of “jealousy”. In my experience, an abundance of this element on the part of either party in the relationship is definitely indicative of future problems.

My Taiwanese wife was a former Hotel Manager. Obviously, she had many male acquaintances, of varying degrees of closeness, and hundreds of business associates. When we met I was doing TV and movie work, as well as English teaching and editing. I knew a wide variety of local women, from authors, media people, TV stars, teachers, government officers, barbershop ladies, neighbors, friends of friends, etc.

One thing we agreed upon very early was: I don’t check up on you, and you don’t check up on me.

You have to develop some mutual trust there, and obviously that takes time and effort. As a result, early on when someone would come to my wife (my girlfriend at that point) and say “Oh, I heard that Richard was in a coffeeshop yesterday afternoon having drinks with a lady wearing such-and-such kind of clothes, etc.”, she would reply: “What of it?”

We lived together for many years before we got hitched. I even remember one time she called me up at 11:00 pm saying that she was in a hotel room with a friend Mr. Wu and since he had drunk too much and was rather ill, so she was going to stay with him that night.

I said: “OK, as long as I know where you are and you are safe.”

That was the kind of relationship we built up, with mutual confidence about our feelings for each other, and a long term desire to be together, and the active elimination of jealousy.

I don’t know if these comments are of reference to others. The stories I am reading in this thread about a Taiwanese girl who wants to go through all your things and check up on you all the time sound like very bad news to me. In my single days I recall a few girls like that, but we just met at coffee shops or pubs, I never even let them know where I lived. In my impression, this aspect of their emotional makeup was a very deep neurosis, and since they didn’t recognize it as such, they were unwilling to seek competent medical help.

Richard, I never thought you would go in for this personal kind of topic- it’s somewhat dear abby-like. Anyway, I have been a psycho xiao jie before with certain types of guys. I was never the kind to just want something casual, but I was with guys who were not all bad guys, they were just not ready to settle down. I could sense that and it drove my crazy. On the other hand I’ve been with guys who did want something serious and who I never went psycho on. I guess they just made me feel safe while I should have had the sense to cut it off with the other guys. So if I were you I would cut it off with the psycho xiao jie and learn to say ‘duo xiao qian?’ for a while.

quote[quote] I have been a psycho xiao jie before with certain types of guys [/quote] What the hell is that supposed to mean? You invaded someone's privacy because you thought it was justified by your own inadequacies? Come on, tell all, coz i'm dying to hear this and "get in touch with my feminine side" ... to be a 21st-century male and all that. Or maybe you're just pulling our tails?

I get a little concerned when someone describes themself using words like “crazy” and “psycho” and then goes on to use the words “cut it off” not once, but twice in one short paragraph. I worry about people like this. They should seek help. Seriously. It’s all fun and games until someone loses a ***** .

quote[quote] So if I were you I would cut it off with the psycho xiao jie and learn to say 'duo xiao qian?' for a while.[/quote]

A few points:

  1. I never said the girl I am seeing is psycho. She is just nosy. (Actually I think she is a bit psycho, but for other reasons.)
  2. This is the second time on this board that v has recommended me to a prostitute. Do you have relatives in the trade or something, v? Do you get commission? Not that it’s your business, but I have never paid for sex. Fortunately, I have never needed to, but I do appreciate that maybe one day I will have to pay for it when I get old. Did it ever occur to you, v, that there are people who can have sex with beautiful people of their choice without paying? Don’t project your sexual frustrations/inadequacies on to me or to others who don’t have a problem getting laid. Work on getting some yourself. I could be wrong, but you come across as single (and maybe a little lonely and bitter).
  3. I know this is incorrect usage, but in my experience, the term “xiao jei” is most often used here by foreign guys to describe sexy young local women. Young women who do not qualify as “xiao jies” in this sense are just referred to as “Taiwanese girls” or “local girls”. To describe yourself as a “xiao jie” you should be hot. Make sure you qualify. And don’t ask your friends - they won’t be objective.

As for “psycho xiao jei” stories,I have some beauties. But these will have to wait until I am ready to leave this tropical paradise, lest I burn any bridges prematurely.

Uncle Bootsy

Big boot, I’m not single- I’m married, 35 with 2 kids. I’m not lonely- right now my girlie keeps shouting for me to get her a popsickle. I would love to have some alone time. I’m not hot- I have a prolapsed uterus and I am starting to look like my mom- which is to say an egg standing on toothpicks. But exercise is helping somewhat. I keep recommending a prostitute to you because you seem like the ideal “John”- which is to say that you just want sex and not much else. I never went thru someone’s letters, but I was very jealous. Actually, if your girl wants what you want- just a fling, then enjoy- it’s great when you can find a soulmate(s). But from the behavior you are describing, I bet she won’t be happy in a fling. Would you care as long as she puts out?

V looks like an egg standing on toothpicks?
VA-VA-VOOM! Let me at 'er! Oh Jesus I love fat chicks…

But all seriousness aside, this guy has introduced his girl-pal to sex? That is his big contribution? (No pun intended)
Wow, what a philanthropist. Go to Taiwan, impregnate the locals, drink more beer, teach English…I am a conquistador!
What are you hiding that this pump-monkey wants to find out about? And are you pulling my leg about wanting to know if she will look through your crap? OF COURSE SHE WILL, knucklebutt. You had to ask the public that question?
And let me guess, you met her in a disco or pub, right?

“That wasn’t chicken you just ate.”

I wonder if the personal problems people have are different now, compared to when first went to air?

After all, we’ve had a major war and an assassination attempt in the meantime. A lot can change in half a decade…

Some good one liners in this thread.

Ya well, one think I’d have to agree with is that Taipei is a village and the inhabitants do like to play broken telephone (gossip). All too often does the story get skewed somehow.

The GF issues mentioned in this thread are another one of these bi-products of gossip. My ex would love to ‘figure’ shit out. It made her feel triumphant or something to that effect. Even if the info wasn’t accurate, there seemed to be a twinkle in her eye of satisfaction.

Strangely enough, it came to my attention down the grapevine that she might be up to no good. Reverse physcology? I haven’t the foggiest but I will say that what I was accused of was far from the truth.

She’d check my phone, my email (if she could), messengers, my flippin mail!!! You name it. Anything she could to drive me bonkers. Which also lead me to distrust her. In the end, I was left with little satisfaction knowing that I wasn’t such a bad guy after all, yet she was runnin around.

I have never, in my nearly 10 year stint workin weekends in bars, given much weight to females I’ve met while on the job or otherwise. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised at all.

err… going through someone’s stuff, following them around, breaking into their apartment, calling all the people from his phone… let me see… checking latest sociology research data… and the results are in… YUP! that’s still crazy, even after 4 years!

I don’t think it is OK for her to go through your personal stuff. I would not leave her alone in your apartment.

Yeah, it does sound as if the OP’s girlfriend is a bit… extreme. Frankly speaking, that kind of behavior might just be the tip-of-the-iceberg. Be mindful.

Having said that, and at the risk of making a bit of a generalization, a certain dimension of Taiwanese culture is not particularly respectful of privacy. Many Taiwanese friends, related stories about how incredibly intrusive, and nosy their parents were. Even adults I knew, who had the dubious fortune of continuing to live with their parents would have their things routinely snooped through by Mom.

When your girlfriend has a mother like this… watch out.

So, in answer to your question, yes, I think there is a cultural dimension at play here, but still - this girl sounds like she has issues.

If you want to be with her you have to come down on this shit like a ton of bricks and let her know, in no uncertain terms, that you do not appreciate her behavior. If she keeps it up - move on. There really are plenty of great fish in the sea.

Good luck with her.

People! People! This thread is FOUR YEARS OLD!

As in: The OP is probably not around anymore. Not to mention that he probably doesn’t still have this problem after FOUR YEARS!

Guangtou, see what you’ve done?!

[quote=“tash”]People! People! This thread is FOUR YEARS OLD!

As in: The OP is probably not around anymore. Not to mention that he probably doesn’t still have this problem after FOUR YEARS!

Guangtou, see what you’ve done?![/quote]

The interesting thing must be the reason Guangtou is so bored he is going back over old threads and bringing them to life. I just noticed on in the Visa section as well.

Holidays or slack worktime Guangtou?

[quote=“tash”]People! People! This thread is FOUR YEARS OLD!

As in: The OP is probably not around anymore. Not to mention that he probably doesn’t still have this problem after FOUR YEARS!

Guangtou, see what you’ve done?![/quote]