I had similar experiences in Korea. I was the White Monkey. Well, until I became the boss. Some guys thought it was still OK to disrespect me. And then somehow they were magically ‘transferred’ to the worst possible place (desert, 48C) for six months. I made sure to ask upon their return if they just had a beach vacation in Thailand as their tan was so dark (in a meeting for everyone else to hear). Big smile.
The only place in Asia that I wasn’t treated as an ‘alien’ was Malaysia and Singapore. Both are multicultural and multiracial countries. Mono cultures like Korea, Japan and Taiwan will take generations to change.
** I am still shocked at the low salaries here - for both foreigners and locals. And the COL is higher. **
Although the COL seems lower, I don’t think it is. You pay less but get less. I am new - moved here a week ago - but prices for anything decent are much higher than Malaysia, Singapore or the USA. Most apartments I have seen in Kaohsiung were either shit or expensive. Even the ones for 50,000 were just so so. Decent restaurants are not cheap. Prices at Costco - for the exact same item - are 30 to 50% higher than USA prices. Yes, hole-in-the-wall restaurants are cheap. But not any cheaper than hawker stalls in Singapore - and nowhere as cheap as Malaysia.
From my perspective, I would need a salary at least 50% higher than Malaysia.
Yes, you can live cheaply. Two of the people I know here that have been here a long time live in place that would be condemned in other parts of the world - hence the low rent. You have to compromise to make this place work.
But I have no worries as I am here to hire - not be hired.