How to Ruin Your Life as a Foreigner in Taiwan in 15 Simple Steps 外國人在臺灣破壞自己生活的15個簡單方法
Foreword: Never do any of the following. This list is simply ironic and satirical, and should in no way be taken literally. Any resemblance to real-life people or situations in the satire described below (except number two) is purely coincidental.
1. Never Leave Taipei 永遠不要離開臺北
Every expat knows there is no electricity outside of New Taipei, so don’t even try to go anywhere else. Also, with no MRT, how are you supposed to get around? You might be ambushed by hostile natives on an un-kept jungle path. Besides, all those nature sites don’t have a 7-11 on the trail, so you’ll probably starve to death if the natives don’t kill you first. Just stay in the Taipei expat bubble and never leave. The south is full of dirt, crime, pollution, and everything you hate. All the teaching jobs and higher salaries are in Taipei, so just stay there. Also, it’s too hard to leave during the holidays because of traffic, so just stay in Taipei on your days off. After all, Taiwan only means Taipei. You don’t need to take part in the good weather, open spaces, sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, and local delicacies down south. There’s probably something similar around Taipei anyway.
2. Get a Taiwan Independence Tattoo on Your Head 在頭上刺青“臺獨”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2017/10/23/2003680896
3. Never Learn Chinese 永遠不要學中文
You can’t expect to get your life ruined if you go around learning Chinese. You need to keep your mother tongue locked in a box so that it is not corrupted by the strange Chinese language. You don’t need to talk to your neighbors, make friends, or talk to your Taiwanese in-laws. Street signs are overrated anyway. Anything that is not translated into your mother tongue should be reported to the government and translated immediately, and it is your right as a privileged foreigner to point out those bad translations. The only job you hope to get involves teaching English, so learning anything else is just a waste of time. Chinese is a giant wall that you will never climb up, so just let it fall on top of your feeble body.
4. Pretend You Know Chinese, Even Though You Don’t 雖然你不會中文，假裝你會
Nothing will make you seem smarter than other expats and Taiwanese people if they think you know Chinese. If they ever speak to you in Chinese, smile, nod, and reply in English. If they ask why you don’t reply in Chinese, answer by stating that you don’t want to brag about your Chinese skills. If you are in a restaurant and the waiter/waitress gives you an English menu, throw it back in their face while praising your own Chinese ability. Then correct all the bad English grammar on the menu, which should give you an idea of what to order. If you see an expat conversing in Chinese, don’t hesitate to say that they are using incorrect Chinese grammar. No explanation is needed because criticizing others will automatically make you look better than them. This leads to the next point…
5. Put Others Down to Make Yourself Look Good 批評別人來讓你自己看起老更好
Nothing will make you look more like an expert than making fun of amateurs. Go ahead and buy a few thousand fake follower bots on your social media so that you can make fun of those amateurs and their lack of followers. Even if the amateurs have accomplished more than you, and happen to be more talented, motivated, and passionate, it’s important to shove them down. Once you do this, their achievements suddenly become yours, and you can gloat about all your fake accomplishments.
6. Drink All Night…And All Day 整夜喝酒…整天也喝酒
Drinking helps you forget about those childhood memories, past marriages, girlfriends/boyfriends, or former jobs that are haunting you. The more you drink the closer you will be to forgetting about your ruined life, until you wake up in the morning and remember it again. To solve this problem, keep drinking all day.
7. Take Personal Responsibility for the Grammar Mistakes of Everyone in the Entire World 承擔全世界的文法錯誤
People have been correcting your grammar all your life; now it's time to return the favor to the world. If you’ve been teaching English for your entire adult life, this is an easy task. It’s all the more fun to alienate yourself from other expats by correcting their English. It doesn’t matter if you are right or not, because only the English from your home country is the correct form of English. It is your personal duty to purge the earth of all English that does not conform to your standards, no expat can be spared.
8. Don’t Make a Crappy Blog/Vlog 不要做一個很爛的部落格或主播
Making a crappy blog is easy, but it is too constructive of an activity. Just don’t make it, to begin with. If you absolutely have to make a blog/vlog, make sure it only has one or two posts or videos that are a few years old, and never get into a routine of making regular posts. This will give you too much sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. You need to procrastinate every creative thought you have until your deathbed.
9. Complain About How Taiwan is Worse Than Your Country 抱怨臺灣比你國家爛
Nothing will help you slip into the pits of despair faster than comparing every flaw and strange thing to your home country and complaining about how things are so gross, weird, unsafe, and stupid. Never try to put yourself in the shoes of a Taiwanese person. Chopsticks, Chinese characters, and stinky tofu are all just an excuse to alienate foreigners, and so is everything else. You need to complain about everything and make sure everyone knows how things are run in your glorious mother country.
10. Take Offense to Everything 被所有的事情得罪
This goes without saying. The moment you accept you are wrong the same moment you might learn something, and that’s exactly what you’re trying to avoid. If someone tries to start a constructive conversation, respond with an attack on their worldview and stereotype them as your enemy. Also, attack their grammar whenever possible. You want to keep your whiny expat bubble as fresh and clean as possible. You can’t let any of those people affiliated with the opposite political bubble invade your news feed without a fight. It is your duty to assume everyone is out to get you and you must assume guilt before innocence. This way you can spend most of your time angrily spatting on your social media instead of engaging in constructive conversation that you might be enlightened from.
11. Troll Other Expats Online for Fun 當別的外國人的酸民
Never lose any online arguments with other expats. You are the ultimate expert on this country, and no one can tell you otherwise no matter how long they've lived here. Fight those happy, go lucky expats to the death, because Taiwan is full of unsolvable problems. After you are blocked, make fake accounts and keep the attack going behind their back. After this, make fake parody accounts of your enemy. This will not only make you more miserable but also make everyone watching roll their eyes and eventually unfollow you. That’s okay because the ultimate goal is isolation and misery. You want to try to create an expat bubble in your social media where your only friends are other whiny expats.
12. Make enemies wherever you go 到處變成大家的敵人
You’re never going to be truly miserable unless you make enemies and burn bridges, not just a few bridges, but every bridge you can find. In order to complete this goal, you must deny any criticism and fight back with more criticism and even some lawsuits. It doesn’t matter if the lawsuits have any merit, you just need to make the other side scared and paranoid. Never compliment anyone, and never admit a mistake. Make sure you throw the words please, thank you, sorry, and I forgive you out the window. Those will not help you achieve the goal of becoming miserable. Oh, and go ahead and lie, cheat, steal, get in fights, and otherwise break the law. You do not want the Taiwanese authorities to have a good impression of foreigners. If you do enough bad stuff you might just get yourself sent away to another foreign country, and you can start the cycle all over again!
13. Complain About Air Quality 抱怨空氣污染
If you see smoke coming out of a bus or scooter, don’t just stand there, complain about it! It is your foreign privilege to breathe clean air. The entire island of Taiwan is an air quality nightmare, and you are the only savior. Through your constant efforts of complaining about the air quality, the government will listen to your non-voting voice and do something about it eventually. In the meantime, you need to complain as hard and as loud as you can. Do not try to comfort yourself by saying that the air quality is much better here than in China or the western United States. You need to make a case that the air quality in Taiwan is the worst in the entire world.
14. Complain About…Everything 抱怨…一切
You’re not going to get far as a miserable expat without complaining. Don’t let other expats’ “love of Taiwan” cloud your mind from the ultimate goal of complete misery. There’s nothing to be grateful for as an expat. Taiwan sucks, it all sucks, and you’re stuck here. Complaining will help you continue on your downward spiral of isolation and sadness. Keeping shoveling fresh heaps of angry fuel to keep the complain train chugging at full speed!
15. Watch the World Burn 看著世界燃燒
Now that you’ve mastered the above list, just sit back and watch the world burn. You’ve created a giant crap hole that you live on and feast on daily. You must spend your days drinking, yelling, complaining, fighting, and getting offended all day every day in real life and on social media. Don’t even think about doing something constructive like planting trees or helping out at an orphanage or something. Needy people out there don’t actually exist and your community doesn’t deserve any help that you could give. And don’t even think about trying to understand Taiwanese culture or languages. The country you grew up in is the only proper culture in this universe, so there is no need to learn anything about anywhere else. You don’t need to connect with other people anyway, and it’s your privilege to sulk in your own self-pity and lonesomeness.
On a serious note, now that you know what not to do as an expat, go out there and do the opposite. Stop trying to tear everyone down, and go make Taiwan and the world a better place!
For some background on why Expats act this way, you can check out this blog at Nihaositgoing.
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Question for any expat in Taiwan:
8/30/2021 10:40:45 pm
If you're genuine, my friend, do yourself a favour and get out of there. My experiences of Taiwan and Taiwanese people were largely the complete opposite. It seems you're in a funk, and you might wanna look inward before blaming Taiwan. Try somewhere else and see how your experience differs!
12/12/2022 05:00:37 pm
Good sir, that response was obvious satire.
8/31/2021 10:19:00 am
Don’t let others tell you what you feel is right or wrong. I can agree with you on many things that you say. I personally try to balance it with the things I actually like about being here. And I constantly check my pros and cons to really make sure I want to be here.
12/13/2022 01:18:18 am
Welcome if you want to integrate
1/19/2023 12:06:10 pm
You’re right. It took me a while but I’ve met some Taiwanese friends who don’t want to use me to practice English and genuinely just treat me as one of their own. It has made me feel a lot better about everything. One day while hanging out with them, one of their friends from Japan happened to be here visiting. He lived in Taiwan for eight years. His mandarin is extremely local and very fluent. None of them dumb down their vocabulary for him. They don’t constantly talk to him about Japan, just like they don’t constantly ask me about English, America or language in general. We just BS about work, life, family, etc. Just normal friendships.
About years ago, I would agree with everything this article says. But, after many years living in Taiwan. I have a different conclusion. Some of my personal negative views about some expats didn't come from Taiwanese, but other expats. I used to believe the bad guys were the ones who drink all day because they might have some unsolved emotional issues. But, it is not true. I have seen many people who play the good roles of moms or fathers. People who never party or drink. Expats with a better career, but they are so ugly inside. Believe me or not, some of these good roles are the worst people. Of course, some of them are nice. But, I saw many back stabbers. Some of them would do terrible things to their other expat friends.
9/2/2021 02:30:14 am
Here's an idea. Don't complain about people complaining. We all have our perspectives. Just because something about my adoptive country annoys me, doesn't make my observation any less valid because I don't hail from this country. One might argue that my observation as an outsider deserves consideration precisely because it is an outsider's observation which has been made after close contact with the culture in question. We can all learn from each other. It's a two-way street.
6/25/2022 07:16:57 am
How about you don't complain about people complaining about people complaining.
5/26/2022 12:20:42 pm
I kind of only did 6 for a long time. Isolated myself and just disappeared. All I did was work, gym , eat sleep, take care of the dog and repeat 6. Hellish life and definitely needed help getting myself straight. Taiwan's been great just had some things I needed to take care of.
1/19/2023 11:55:08 am
A lot of these are pretty funny considering you’re doing exactly those things. You’re criticizing and complaining about people who get offended, criticize others, or complain. So meta. You don’t know what they’re going through or what their experience has been.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.