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.

asian-cutting-in-linesWhich 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.

Breaking Plans

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.

living-long-term-abroad-makes-you-moodyI 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.

Road Safety

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.

Filipino Time

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.

long-term-expat-philippines-mindstateAt 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.

Staying Positive

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.

20 Responses

  1. jspill says:

    Since moving to Asia I now expect to bang within the first two dates, if not on day 1. You get used to it and feel ‘entitled’. Makes me feel a bit of a douche at times but then I get over it.

  2. kick2dante says:

    you didn’t lose all that weight for nothing

  3. kick2dante says:

    today i was walking towards three women on a sidewalk, they were coming the opposite direction and were side by side coming at me….. as they approach i move as far to the right as i can and slow down waiting for them to adjust

    they didnt adjust and i had to walk in some mud to not run them over

    i hate people

  4. sam says:

    Sounds like you hate it there. Why don’t you move elsewhere?

    • kick2dante says:

      lol i definitely dont hate it here, i just try to give people an accurate portrayal of what to expect, before coming here i never would have expected there to be such a lack of self awareness by the majority of the people

  5. Brockstar says:

    This is a daily struggle for me as well. Not so much with Chinese time or flaking, because I typically avoid PRCs every which way I can. It’s the cutting in lines, the driving, racing to onto the train/bus to get a seat not giving a fuck if you stomp an infant into the ground. Its even worse at the Shenzhen/HK check points.

    For the most part I stay calm, but there are times when you do have run them over or literally bull them out of the way, because “excuse me” aint gonna cut it.

    When it comes to women though I am waaaaaaay nicer. In the US, you really have to be a dick to even see a titty. The typical American female attitude only makes it worse. Here, I’m typically very sweet and playful.

    • kick2dante says:

      oh ya man I am ALL nice guy game, that is my favorite thing about the phils, just be a nice smiling happy person and the girls will like you……. in the US they post on facebook about the loser that just approached them that thought he really had a chance with them

      • Joe says:

        Why weren’t you good with women in the US?

        Were the girls in your hometown total pains to deal with? Were you a loner who couldn’t break into the often clickish social circles where the better looking white girls hang? Did you go to a C Rate college whee there wasn’t much of a party scene? Were you an only child? Etc.

  6. Pedo says:

    this chick with the dixie cap i swear ive seen her like a dozen times now on this blog
    what is up with that? are there only 5 girls in the philippines or why do you keep posting the same girl over and over?

    • kick2dante says:

      my fave model, she’s hot. obv can’t post too many pics of real girls for privacy reasons. maybe i’ll start mixing in some cj miles pics. there aren’t that many photogenic girls in the Philippines though, that’s for sure. at least in terms of the face

  7. VV says:

    SEA is great for first worlders low self esteem until you really come to terms with the actual reasons why they like you, then …. house of cards.
    Unless u have the IQ of a 5 year old or running in higher end circles it’s impossible not to change or get jaded over time.
    I’m still waiting for my flame thrower to arrive.. Maybe that’s the only way I will be able to teach them how to walk faster and in an actual order that doesn’t resemble retarded 5 year olds chasing chickens with their heads cut off…

  8. kick2dante says:

    well thats one way to put it

  9. abcdef says:

    Merry christmas! …..i dont sweat the details much………..just keep smiling!

  10. kick2dante says:

    thanks happy holidays to you as well!

  11. smokemypole says:

    “it is a dog eat dog world here in many ways and if you don’t stand up for yourself no one else will.”

    K2D droppin knowledge!

    I always make a reasonable effort to avoid people stopped in busy walkways but invariably knock some people…
    however i do plow through people walking without looking (or cocky dudes pretending to be?)

    even down the streets near the bars w up to 4 guys i do it just daring them to try something lolol (advantage of trainng like im fighting mike tyson in his prime every single day (simply be tall and train like the pros for ufc)

    the thing is i really feel like i have two options, 1, let them supposedly ‘not see me’ and i daintily and submissively completely alter my walking path nearly horizontially to be sure to be out of there way perfectly

    or i dont let them ‘alpha’ me and i walk right through them (which, in the right rap music video, starts fights)

    ive seen some tougher looking shorter thick tatted muay thai/ufc farang but im too quick and long for them, speed kills, i can always avoid being hit by them, i literally never let my guard down so i never get hit, well i guess i did take one near knockout punch in one organized martial art tournament(that i won) bc as you can imagine, when fighting, at some point while punching and moving a lot i kinda lost my balance just a tiny bit and felt a lil turnaround or closer to him than i planned and a 6’5 320 guy git me and i nearly hit the ground, the brain sloshes around in literally liquid, imagine my poor brain slamming so hard against the inner walls, likely changing form

    seriously… if mike tyson in his prime attacked you, you would instantly die, with enough space, i could actually go into 100% defense and delay the beating indefinitely

    about the elevators.. I ride the elevators a ton and i usually wait in line but not always, but i always stand very close to the door and literally put my arm out to block people trying to enter

    i also carry a variety of ninja weopons on me 24/7 if anyone tries anything, a knife beats a gun within 21 feet, bruce lee could throw darts faster than a gangster can ‘operate his firearm’

  12. kick2dante says:

    please dont kill me ok?

  13. James says:

    Yea SEA has turned me into an intolerant asshole for some reason, I literately throw people out of my way, I walk fast in a straight line and people just stumble around me cause im not walking around them one woman screeched as she almost flipped onto the side walk, as for dating the girls basically I just tell them to come over im not going to you, as I don’t have time to put up with there shit, they ask what are we going to do?…I said well I have a pet fish and some art work I would like to show you, 10 mins later im fucking there brains out then after that I tell them I gota go I have important meeting, which means good excuse to make them leave, job done then onto next one, always check there underpants before fucking them to make sure there are no discharge marks and always do the sniff test then taste test as one slut gave me Gonorrhea which required a painful injection to cure nasty shit.

  14. JOHN says:

    Wow…I guess I have become a jerk having lived in SEA for over 2.5 years now. For me, getting on/off the trains in Manila is definitely a test of wills. When getting on, how many will cut in front or try to slide their head under my armpit or put their shoulder/elbow in my back for leverage? When getting off, anyone getting on that’s in my way, gets walked over. Pissed many people off that way, but no one said anything to me. Even the signs say to allow passengers to alight before boarding the train. They’ve been warned…
    The line cutting still makes me see red sometimes. When getting on jeeps, I’m a lot more aggressive than I used to be. Otherwise, I’ll be waiting forever to get on.
    The lack of personal space is really annoying as well. Do they really have to be standing on my heels when I’m in line (better than cutting in front I guess?)? I just lean back a little bit & I’m bumping into someone who’s all up on my ass. Elbow room is at a premium in SEA.
    But I still prefer it to living in the States…

    • kick2dante says:

      ya john it really is just natural that you will adapt and become more like them….. if you don’t then you are just going to get run over all day long

      if they were civilized with legit lines and things like that i would gladly fall in line and wait my turn

      but if i walk up to a jeepney stop that has a scrambled mess of people fighting over the next open seats ill be as cold blooded as the next guy about making sure i am first on

      i feel bad for the timid ones, i had this one friend who was like 90 pounds, i was waiting for her to come over one time and she said there were so many people at the jeep stop, i knew it was going to take her forever because she is a very shy quiet type that would never be pushing her way forward

      just think how much of her time has been lost because some assholes ruin it for everyone else

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