More than once I’ve caught Taiwanese grumbling resentfully about how they bust their asses up down and sideways to make NT$20 an hour, while we laowai whine about only making 2 grand. (Yes, the numbers are exaggerations. I hope, still.)
I think we’ve all heard grumblings like this before. How do you react? I usually respond by saying something to the effect of:
“Is it our fault for meeting certain requirements and accepting an offer? Or is it the fault of those who set the requirements (too leniently) and put forth the offers (too generously), to meet the demand of a misguided public? If we hypothetically assume that the latter is true, has it occurred to you that the people guilty of this injustice are Taiwanese?” Besides, even in the highly unlikely event that native English speakers began boycotting Taiwan teaching stints on principle, what would the Taiwanese worker have to gain?"
OK, to take out all the pretentious rhetorical question shite, we’re getting payed as we are because YOU PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO PAY US WHAT WE GET, TO DO WHAT WE DO. So, if you feel it’s not fair, it’s up to YOU to raise the bar and/or lower the paycheck. It’s up to YOU to wake up and realize that the chump your kid sees after school is a burnout clown back in his own country.*
If anyone can offer a good argument against my standpoint, I’d be curious to hear it.
- P.S. From what I hear, that’s what’s happened to the TEFL scene in Japan – resentment from locals about a wage gap in the 80s resulted in English teaching gigs there becoming hard to score and low-paying. “Come with a masters degree in your back pocket,” as the old unfunny saying goes.