Why are foreigners habitually late in Taiwan?

Of course not all foreigners. The Germans tend to be more or less punctual.

And I don’t mind if a guy is 5 or 10 minutes late.

Take today for instance. I was meeting up with some guy to sell him some of my old stuff. We agree to meet at 7. I waited 30 minutes, texted him, waited another 10 minutes, tried calling, and then went home.

He calls me at 9:05 saying that he’s 5 minutes away. Only the place he’s 5 minutes away from is half an hour away from the MRT we agreed to meet at, and 45 minuted away from where I live.

I don’t have a problem when meeting with other Taiwanese, but it frequently seems that my fellow expats have no shame in being 2 or even 3 hours late.

Ugh. I’ve always had to deal with people telling me they’d be there “in 10 minutes”… For an hour.

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I try my best to be punctual . It’s polite.


Because you’re dealing with a fucking moron deadbeat???

Just spitballin here…


Because that shui bien (or however it’s spelled) mentality is already there before they came to the island and now it’s full blown.

Just disrespectful of other folks. If they do this with your time they’ll do it with other stuff.

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I’m old enough to remember the days before cellphones. People rarely did this. Now that everyone has a phone with them, people feel more free to make their own schedule and send “updates” when they are ready to meet.

I’ve often asked younger people “what time are we meeting?” And the response is “I’ll just text you!”


there is not answer to your question

I count it as a result if the fecker turns up.

Unreliability is an expat thing, for sure. To be fair there is a lifestyle issue - we often don’t have fixed schedules. However, there’s no reason other than rudeness not to let the other person know if there is a delay/cancellation. Ricky Gervais nails it at around 7 minutes:

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I have had the same issue with taiwanese people as well. Being late i find more of an age or maturity problem. Though i find taiwanese are often reliably 5 to 30 mins late, whereas certain nationality foreigners if they are late they are LATE.

Just make them match your time at your desired location from now on. The couple lost sales or whatever are worth the lack of hassle. Its why old businessmen here tend to look like they just dont give a shit if you show up…cause they dont. Used to hate that, now i get it.

When i was a teen working the bosses would always say job starts at 7. That means you are here at 6:45 and already starting to work at 6:59. If not, fired pretty quick. What happened to those days?


He just trying to say he not give a shit about you. Next time tell him to meet somewhere and don’t show up. Then keep him waiting around. And never show up. Karma solved.


That’s revenge, not karma. Karma involves waiting for some invisible force to even things out. In a weird way it almost always happens because the majority of people end up dying unpleasantly. If you can outlast them you can claim karma.


I’m not. Thanks for asking.


in that case you are the invisible force yourself

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Usually people who buy old stuff are not people with money. They are not people with money for a reason. One of them is not being punctual and showing common curtesy respecting other people’s time and the opportunity costs of wasted time. It’s my experience selling used stuff to meet none punctual people.

It’s always surprising some people don’t understand these basic things. And wonder why they’re not doing great in life.


Are Taiwanese ever on time? I haven’t been here long, but it seems that the culture is much more relaxed about being on time and telling the truth about being on time. I’ve also had people lie to me about when something would happen rather than disappoint me for it not happening yet. On a related note, I am 3 weeks late for moving into my house, and the landlord pushed the date back again today for the 3rd time. Don’t get me wrong, the place looks great, but manage expectations and be honest.

yay, my fanclub is back.

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Um…that’s a lot of generalization there. IJS. Would this apply to folks who are of the thrift store variety or does it include your estate sale/antiquers?

Do you think I’m talking about antiques?