Does Living in Asia Turn You Into a Jerk?
I can already notice myself changing since living in the Philippines (and Cambodia and Thailand before that).
Overall I am a very polite person that tries to always be respectful to others, even strangers. I can be a selfish bastard in some ways, but there are certain standard things I always try to do that are just general courtesies that everyone should do.
But living in Asia is changing me. So many of the people here are so rude in various ways that you can’t help but get jaded and start to act like them in some way. If you don’t then you will just get taken advantage of, or waste many opportunities.
It is not fair to the good and kind people here so I really do not like doing it……. but it is a dog eat dog world here in many ways and if you don’t stand up for yourself no one else will.
Cutting in Lines
This is one of the things that drives me craziest about living here. There are so many assholes around that will just walk up to someone working at a store and blurt out what they want not caring that 5 other people are waiting in line.
The workers almost never tell them to get in line because of the whole losing face thing in Asia that is so silly. Guess what…. sometimes people need to lose face because they are jerks and need to be shamed.
Recently I was at a sari sari store (a small store that sells random cheap things like bottles of coke or cigarettes) waiting in line.
There was 1 guy in front of me and he had just got done paying. Before he moved out of the way some 45 year old lady comes up next to him and starts yelling out what she wanted.
I just shake my head and stare at her as the guy moves out of the way. She looks back and smiles and says hello. I really don’t think she even realized she had cut in front of me.
Which is odd because there really is no other reason I would have been standing directly in front of the window for the store.
The same thing happened at the same store a few weeks ago when a construction worker cut in front of a few of us. This time I was like hey the lines back here.
Then I asked for a Coke and he muttered a few words I didn’t know with ‘Coke’ in the middle throughout the whole time that I paid.
I was recently writing a ‘dumb laws in the Philippines‘ article and came across a website laughing about a politician here suggesting there should be a fine for cutting in line. I think anyone who has been here would know that is actually not a bad idea at all.
So how has this affected me? Well I am still not the type of person that will walk in front of 7 people waiting in line at a sari sari store and blurt out my order.
But when I walk up to a jeepney stop and there are 20 people waiting if a jeep pulls up I won’t hesitate to try and be one of the first people to crowd my way on.
If they had a line there that people followed I would gladly get in the line, but when it is just out and out chaos at the stops and whoever is most aggressive gets the seat then I will be most aggressive.
Otherwise you try and be respectful to those who were there before you and some other asshole will walk up and get on before both you and them. In this case I have now become the asshole.
I really don’t like to tell someone I am going to do something and then not do it. If I make plans to do anything I used to make sure that I showed up. If I wasn’t sure I would be able to I would let the person know.
I get Pinays breaking plans on me daily now. Heck I get doctors canceling appointments, or even worse not showing up for an hour after the appointment and not letting me know.
This weekend I had plans with 8 girls over the 3 days and all 8 flaked.
This has gone on for as long as I have been dealing with Filipina women and there really is only one way to adapt.
Set up multiple dates online for each day and then if one shows up cancel on the others. I would prefer to not do that, I like a commitment to mean something.
But they don’t, so you must adapt to the local ways. When in Rome.
When Asians are driving they are thinking one thing: ‘I want to go there’.
Nothing can change that, they are going that way and as long as there is not something directly in their path (or directly in the side path if their direct path is blocked) they are going and dont give a **** if it effects anyone else.
I really dont think it matters which Asians you are talking about thats just how they are #notracistjustfacts. Thailand for example is ranked #2 in the world for road accidents.
Everyone is always late in this country and if you are always showing up on time then you are going to be stuck waiting around 90% of the time.
I like to maximize my time every day and schedule meets at the exact time that is best for me to balance play time and work. Maybe I want to start working at 10pm so I set up a meet by my home at 7pm.
We chat for 10 minutes, head to my place and chat for 10 more. Throw on a movie and 20 minutes later I make my move. Head back in to finish the movie then make another move and have 30 minutes to chat after to not be a dick that insta kicks her out.
At least that’s how it is supposed to play out when I make my plans for the night.
But when you set the meet for 7pm and they don’t show up until 8:30 that just has you waiting around wasting time for an extra hour and a half.
The malls near my place aren’t the best for meeting girls so I stay at the big malls until they tell me they are near.
This has me being the one that is often late now. Sometimes when the rare girl is actually on time I end up being really late.
I don’t like making people wait, but I like being the one waiting even less. As time goes on I just hope that I don’t become too jaded because of these things.
There are others also, people getting on elevators before the people inside can get off. People stopping for conversations or to check texts in busy walkways.
A new one I’ve noticed is Filipino motorbike drivers pulling RIGHT up to the back of jeepneys all fighting to give the passengers getting off a ride… making it really hard for everyone to get off.
If they all just stayed back 5 feet they would have the same chance as they do now and everyones life would be easier.
Instead one asshole inches a bit closer to the jeep, then another inches closer than him, and before you know it they are all crowding the exit.
For the most part these things are all very minor. Even a girl breaking plans… whatever there is always tomorrow. But when every day is filled with a few of these irritations it adds up on you.
Keeping yourself from becoming the clichéd moody, cynical old expat is really not easy here. I do my best. Has living in Asia changed you? Let me know in the comments.