Forgetting the money, traveling and social benefits, negativity can be infectious. This can be a precarious place, don’t forget to smile once in a while.
Okay, I’ve had it! Last night, I spent almost two hours listening to a bunch of white expats complaining about how much they are discriminated against for being foreigners. Taxis try to cheat them, vendors automatically try to charge more money.
These things aren’t because you’re a foreigner, but because you’re an obvious outsider. In general, even Chinese who are obviously not locals will get treated exactly the same way.
Non-Asian expats are some of the most privileged people in China! For almost any given job, they’ll get more money than Chinese would for doing the same job. Teaching English? A white guy with zero experience can still get higher pay than an Asian expat with a lot of experience (and certainly much more than almost any qualified Chinese teacher). Business?
It’s a routine expectation that expats will get higher salaries than their Chinese counterparts.
Or what about special consideration we get from the police? A Chinese person drives a motorcycle or scooter around Dongguan, they’re almost certain to get stopped and their vehicle confiscated.
Then, there are more than a few expats who drive around on the same vehicles, confident that the police won’t do anything simply because they are foreigners. I personally know of several expats who drive without legal driver’s licenses, or who routinely break traffic regulations. Again, confident that if anyone stops them, nothing will happen once the policeman sees that they are a foreigner.
If I were an unattractive, overweight, middle-aged man, I’d definitely prefer to be in China! And let’s be honest, us expat women can attract a lot more interest than we would back home, too.
Perhaps the most obvious situation is that of expat men who, in their own country, would never get an attractive woman to look at them even once.
If they walked into a bar back home, the only women who’d pay any attention would be the ones being paid a hefty price to do so. But in China, they can walk into almost any bar and feel fairly confident in finding young, attractive girls who will find them fascinating.
No, I’m not criticizing them, but just stating a fact. If I were an unattractive, overweight, middle-aged man, I’d definitely prefer to be in China!
And let’s be honest, us expat women can attract a lot more interest than we would back home, too! (It’s not our fault that, all too often, the men who are expressing that interest just don’t interest us!)
Now, with Asian expats, that’s an entirely different story. Those of us with Asian heritage get almost none of the benefits, while still getting many of the negatives. And how about blacks?
While attitudes among the younger generation are improving, there’s still a great deal of bias and bad treatment directed towards those with darker skin colors in China.
Yet, all of us are here and we have a choice: we can focus on the negatives and sit around constantly complaining, or we can focus on the positives and the many opportunities that are available to us. For me, life is too short to waste time feeling sorry for myself. Like I always say, life is a party and the music never stops.