I’m stunned.

A couple of weeks ago my school got 3 new directors. They have been working like mad because the government is checking our school on Monday, first time in 10 years, so they need to have soo much paperwork ready etc.

One of the women had many new ideas, she wanted to help us with a better curriculum…but also started getting too friendly for my liking. Coming into my class complaining about the boss…complaining about work… One night my co-worker and I were playing pool and she called my friend and asked where we were. My friend told her and she came over! I left because I don’t want to mix business with pleasure…and I also don’t trust anyones intentions anymore. She also started smoking with the foreign teachers on their little smoking balcony…gossiping and complaining…

She took the Monday and Tuesday off a week ago…and this Monday, she was missing in action again. We got irritated because she scheduled a meeting with us…Tuesday, no word. My boss and the other directors just left messages on her phone. Wednesday…her mom contacts the school because she was worried about her. TODAY we hear that the mom came up from Hsinchu and found her in her home…

What was extremely shocking is that the reason why she didnt’ come last week is that she took 30 sleeping pills to ‘forget everything’. And the Chinese Teachers and boss knew this and did nothing. She came to work on Wednesday and nobody tried to talk to her.

How on earth can you just pretend that nothing is going on? I asked the other directors what they did to help her, and they said they told her that taking 30 pills is not good, and that she shouldn’t do it again. But they still piled hours and hours of extra work on her.

I just feel horrible. I wish I knew a bit more…I stayed 30 minutes after work on Thursday to chat to her because I could see that she wasn’t feeling well…stressed out…but if somoene told me what she did I sure as hell would have tried to help her more.

ughhhh…And they told me this just before I walked into class…

it’s like they just want nobody to be affected as long as there is work to be done.

Very Sad.

It is quite an odd response, or lack of, from your Chinese co-workers. Remember that many Chinese can be very superstitious about all things concerning death. Still, someone who took 30 sleeping pills, and then told someone about it, is asking for help. Likely, they don’t want to have any reaction because then they would have to feel guilty about their own lack of humanity towards her.

And how very Taiwanese of them to have told you this right before your class and expect nothing but normal from you. If you don’t teach to standard they will be dismayed.

I’m very sorry to hear that. It’s hard not to feel something when it that close in proximity.


Very sad, yes. And you might get exactly the same response in the majority of schools. But certainly not all. The boss at my buxiban, Betty, is a wonderful, caring person, and if she even hears that I have a cold, she’ll send over some fruit or other food. I’m sure Betty would have taken time out to help this woman. Hopefully someday you’ll find a boss like that.

I guess that is why this is so odd…usually my boss is amazing. If I feel sick she always allows me to take time off…even when I’ve had enough, because a kid is driving me nuts, she would understand if I left an hour early.

It’s just this government checking the school that has made everyone psycho…and the new directors just came 2 weeks ago and they were swamped with 5 yrs worth of paperwork…all the Chinese teachers have been coming in even on Sundays to write lesson plans for the last 4 yrs…

maybe my boss was looking at her as a new director and how her being unstable was affecting her job, rather than her as a human being.

Well the other given is that the woman had problems. You described how you wanted to avoid her, or felt there was something odd you didn’t want to get invloved in. I assume your boss and co-workers felt the same, Most times when you meet someone with problems, particularly personality disorders, it manifests as annoying. You want them to piss off and let you get on with your life, but they do tend to be particularly cloying and demanding. In a sressfull environment like you are currently endurung it’s all hands to the pumps and no one has time for a flake. Even if they did, there is no way of knowing that could have prevented anything.

I’m sure everyone in the office is going through the what could or should I have done that invariably follows a suicide, and of course being Taiwanese they are going to express that differently to you. I really don’t think leveling the finger is going to help anyone get over it. There’s no point. Suicide almost always comes out of the blue. That woman saying she took 30 pills would no doubt be weighed up with her other odd behaviour and dismissed, because people don’t usually have much experience at this and most people, as odd as they may be, don’t tend to kill themselves.

Suicide sucks. Take care of yourself, and do show some extra sensitivity to others around you. Even if they don’t appear to feel much about it, I’m damned sure it’s all playing out in their heads. Take the initiative in creating a healing environment. Be strong.


very very sad story. :frowning:

so sad that those around her couldnt spot the signs of intense depression. Often people who commit suicide arent even in a very bad situation, but rather feel the hopelessness of living . Having and sensing no purpose.

Suicide as they say is a permanent solution to a likely temporary problem. Many of us have thought about it through our lives and have been lucky not to have fallen into that pit of doom.

Considering we will all end up dead one day, I say no need to hasten the process. Enjoy life to the fullest !!

I know…I’m not pointing fingers…
I did call all of the teachers together and asked them to tell me if anyone ever does something like that, or if anyone feels really bad after a crappy day they can come talk to me.

I just feel its so strange that nobody did anything even after she was gone for 3 days…

I dont know but maybe you were treated better because they see foreigners (like Americans and stuff) as “better” therefore they want you to stay, Taiwanese on the other hand are “expendable” so they really don’t care too much unless they were a friend (most likely family however) or something.

My boss doesn’t fire her teachers. It’s weird…we had one girl who did NOTHING…and after three years of her English teacher cleaning up puke because she was on MSN chatting, she finally was asked to leave. And she threatened to go to the police with photos, schedules, info about the school…us foreigners being there etc.

So usually my boss just keeps them…and many of them call in sick very often. Right now I’m with no co-worker for a month because my teacher is stressed out and needs a break. Maybe if the director worked there longer…it doesn’t really matter…I don’t know if anything would have changed what happened.

Do you guys also have the bitchiness and gossiping at your schools? My teacher who has leave for a month came by and has lost 10kgs because she’s pretty sick (IBS) and they were all telling her how much better she looks. So skinny…even though they know shes so sick she needs an IV every day. And they photoshop another teacher to make her look skinnier on DMs…

I know they like to rip each other apart…but hell, sometimes it can be really harsh. I would hate to be openly judged by them. Luckily they do it behind my back.grrrr

Asia has this fixation for being real skinny for some reason, anyone, particularly girls who weights over 50 kg (for any reason) will have trouble finding mates/jobs/whatever. Any guys who weights too much will see similar trouble as well. I seen girls who looks so skinny I swear that she just got out of a Nazi concentration camp but everyone else thinks she’s so pretty and stuff. There are several magazine articles about people who goes to extreme to lose weight and it usually almost kills them but they said they rather die than be fat.

The suicide rate in this country is terrifying.

It’s a combination of stupid superstitions, tradition, as well as the fact Taiwan society just drives people nuts. Not everyone wants to or is able to immigrate to another country… I try to ignore the stupid traditions (living away from parents helps, a LOT) but at work and in the street its impossible to avoid the traditions/superstitions.

There are help available but it is not widely known and most Taiwanese avoids seeing mental health professionals because they think if they see one they will be painted as a psycho and branded forever.

Suicide rates in Taiwan Article … i_18688300

And comparing Taiwan (2004) to Ireland/UK(1996) by crunching some numbers in excel, the suicide rate in Taiwan is 20 times higher
UK + Ireland Rates 1996

It’s a combination of stupid superstitions, tradition


Taiwan can be hard on mental health. All those people crammed into such a small space ironically makes some people feel terribly alone .

The story in the first post is sad, but I don’t find it very odd or surprising.

I find it very hard to speak to someone who has cancer or had a family member die or something terrible and tragic like that. “So sorry to hear about X. I hope you’re ok. Let me know if there’s anything I can do?” Whatever, those are all a bunch of useless words. Who gives a shit if you’re sorry? That won’t change the terrible truth. And I think most people probably have great difficulty dealing with such situations, feel very uncomfortable around the person, know they should try to act appropriately, may wish they could act better towards that person somehow, but overall just feel like crap being around the person and wish it was back to how it used to be, when everyone could just joke around and laugh and be happy and didn’t have to act all solemn and sorry and all that. It’s not easy.

And I would expect it to be even harder for Taiwanese to act “appropriately” in such a situation. It’s commonly said that Chinese people have greater difficulty expressing emotions than Westerners do, that they may have good at analytical skills or whatever, but their people skills are less developed (perhaps due to confucian society, a culture of listen and follow instructions, rote memorization, don’t talk back/question/discuss, etc.) So, in one of the toughest social situations of all – interacting in an ordinary social situation with a colleague dealing with catastrophe (especially depression/suicide) – I don’t find it the least bit surprising the colleagues would prefer to simply avoid the situation completely, pretending it never happened, rather than being strong enough to face it head on.

Taiwan has a huge suicide rate. And I understand why. When I got my heartbroken no one wanted to talk about it. They just told me “the next one will be better” and “don’t cry” but if I actually tried to talk about it, I was scolded. When my foster mother died, it was much the same. No one was willing to let me air my feelings. It just seems to not be the common thing there. It is very difficult to go through something difficult alone. Luckily, I also have foreign friends and friends a long distance phone call away. But many locals don’t.
Then there is the whole “face” thing where it is embarrassing to the person to admit they need help. Then there is the whole “ignore the problem till it goes away” attitude they have towards mental health.