Taking pictures of strangers is considerably weird

My wife and i recently had a baby girl, and we decided to go out to dinner at a place i frequent often enough to know the setting well. Its a low low trafficked restaurant and the staff are cool with my daughter being there since she sleeps through it all and hasnt cried yet. Ill be straightforward, im african american and my wife is taiwanese, so im used to staring( which i also think is pretty weird culturally, and the excuses dont excuse it in 2022) but having a random stranger try to sneak taking a picture of us while having dinner…is quite fucking weird. My wife tries to reason it out by questioning “what are we doing for some to take a picture of us?”…but she is to nice of a person and still holds onto the asian community ideology of the thumb that sticks out mentality…which i dont fault her for…why are people weird? this is the second time this has happened.

the other time was when i visited the AIT and a lady in the elevator tried to take a sneaky picture while i was holding my daughter, why? why?

i feel like i can’t freak out on them and publicly embarrass these people because i will be seen has the aggressive foreigner and cause a bigger scene than intended…but fuck…im starting to get annoyed. To add on, these are upper 20s individuals who should understand the world beyond the boundaries of taiwan that interracial couples…exist.


Ugly side of living in Asia.

A friend of mine (Scottish, white, female) used to have this problem all the time in China with her boyfriend (Ghanaian, black). He was always pretty laid back, but it irritated her no end, and she used to go and confront people and tell them it cost 10 kuai per photo. (She also once told an elderly female shopkeeper that she was paying him to be her boyfriend, in response to her asking why she was with a black man rather than a nice Chinese guy.)

I used to get people taking photos of me (white) from time to time as well. I was quite often carrying a DSLR camera around at the time, so I used to whip that out of my bag and take a photo of them back, or just use my phone. This unfailingly had them looking completely shocked and confused or trying to hide, but I don’t think any of them got the point I was trying to make, even when we were right next to each other and I attempted to point out the similarity between what they’d done and what I was doing.

I still worry sometimes that there’s a framed photo of me sitting on someone’s mantelpiece somewhere in Anhui province, or if I’m in a photo album that they occasionally bring out to reminisce and show off to the neighbors about the time they saw a laowai.


You don’t need to freak out or be aggressive, but I think publicly embarrassing them is exactly what they need. If you can speak Chinese, just asking them in Chinese what they’re doing or gently telling them that they’re being rude would be enough to embarrass them. They shouldn’t get away with it without some embarrassment.


The Taiwanese obsession with 混血兒 is retarded. Friend of mine has two daughters and people will actually ask to have their photo taken with them. As in can you take my phone and take a photo of me with my arms around your daughters.

Yeah, happens quite a lot.
I’ve confronted locals in Chinese about what they’re doing (or look to be doing) before they can even snap a picture, mainly because when the kids were little, I was quite attentive about surroundings as a somewhat overly-protective father (in regards to safety, like crossing streets, etc.). If you do not like it, do not let them do it, period. That’s your right as a parent in any country.

This is normal in Taiwan. Every meal and other mildly interesting event needs to be photographed and shared for not being irrelevant in their online social circle. Instagram and TikTok need to be fed with content.
I appreciate when people ask for permission first and usually let them take pictures of my kids.

You are lucky there are no more Chinese tourists in Taiwan around anymore. Those are the worst when they see a foreign looking kid. They act like they are in a petting zoo. Imagine a whole travel group surrounding your kids. Some even want to touch, grab and hold them.


How’d that lady even get her phone into AIT?

I’m American, white. So I can’t speak to the extra attention you must getting being black in Taiwan. But yeah, this happens pretty regularly. When I lived here 10 years ago, my buddy and I, a Brit, used to constantly notice people straining to take a selfie with us in the background. We’d often joke about how we were framed on random mantle places from Taiwan to China to Japan. We laughed and didn’t worry about it much. But it was weird.

When my wife (Taiwanese) and I came to visit with our first kid, a baby at the time, we’d notice people taking pictures. And random elderly people tried to pick him up on the street and hold him. Even my father-in-law was like fuck that noise. After the first one, which we didn’t really notice until it was happening, we were like nuh-uh. No.

Haven’t noticed it much since we moved back here in February. But it definitely takes a turn once you have kids. What was once an annoyance becomes what the fuck are you doing taking a picture of my kid. People still stare though. Since being back here, I now nod at everyone and smile. I think it shocks them that I acknowledge their staring that they nod back and often look confused. Some smile.

Anyway, I think you have every right to be annoyed. If you can say that in Chinese, even better. If you can’t, like me, just ignore it. Good luck man.


If you notice someone taking a picture, wave them over and let them take a selfie with you.

They’re going to take a photo so might as well make it a happy interaction.


Taking pictures of strangers is perfectly legal in Taiwan, unless you’re monetizing them, or taking pervy photos of females. I’d just shrug it off. Strangers touching your kids is definitely crossing the line though.

1 Like

Taiwan is mostly mono ethnic and anyone who is different is an object of attention

Luckily in Taiwan mostly the interest is friendly

When I was growing up in Taiwan Eurasian kids were not as common as it may be today and even today may not be super common

I used to hate all the attention I got and all of the same questions I am asked so many times a day wherever I go. I walk into a store and people will ask me about me take a cab the driver will ask . Even stopped at a red light on a scooter taxi drivers will roll down their windows to ask me questions about me

My mom said be nice because although you encounter this everyday and it bores you the people who encounter you feel you are special and you have a chance to make their day even if only in a very small way

I thought this made sense although my wish was to one day be completely anonymous and common

I did get my wish :smiley_cat:

I would say instead of being mad enjoy your stardom

They are taking pics of you and yours because they like you for the most part I believe


the AIT in kaohsiung is a floor by itself, so you can bring your phone into the building(elevator) but store it before going in for your meeting. i assume she had business on a different floor.

i see it completely different, and sorta disagree with a lot of your sentiment because we live in 2022 where globalization, internet, and tv has expanded the idea of whats outside of taiwan.

  1. I dont care to be nice to strangers who initiate weird encounters, like taking pictures of my family unwarrantedly.

  2. They arent taking pictures because they like us, they are taking pictures because we fascinate them like objects.


You can see it that way the world
Is sometimes
The way we see

Someone said if you can’t change
What happens to you
Change then how it affects you
By changing your thinking

What we perceive as a reality is in fact a reality to us in many ways

Change our thinking
Change our reality

You can continue to think that these people who are looking at you staring at you and your family are Neanderthals who should know better in our should be better informed society

That they are just peasants who see you as freaks where they should be much better informed

And contjnue to be angered by their actions

Or take the other approach and be stars to those who are perhaps less well travelled and less educated and less lucky as yourselves in your unique life

And just see them as human beings too who are different from you and have lived
And are living sheltered lives not having been exposed to all that you have

And be more at peace perhaps ?

I believe ethnocentric is the preferred nomenclature dude :rofl:

Yes we do tend to judge others
By our own yardsticks

We judge their actions by our actions

We judge their thinking against our thinking

We judge their experience by our own

In that vein if we are
Comfortable with ourselves
We can be comfortable
With others

If we are
Largely hateful
We will see hate in others

If we see love in ourselves
We will see love in others

People can see the contempt
We have of them if we have contempt

Or if we have friendliness they can see that

I had a dressing down twice by Taiwanese at least twice

I am arrogant by nature and perhaps a little
Evil at times

Once at a crowded Starbucks cafe a guy sat next to me I thought was a bit not to my liking so my body language showed as such and I turned the back of my chair to him

The guy was offended and gave me a gentle scolding for which I still remember

The gist of it was not to be intolerant of my fellow man

Which I was

Because I have not walked in his shoes does not mean that I can be antisocial and intolerant

And on a plane ride from HK to TPE i again was sat next to this dude i didn’t think much of

And again I was pretty transparent I guess and during the 70 minute flight I got a lecture on acceptance and civility

The guy stated exactly what was on my mind even though I said not one word