Dear Whiney Spoiled Expat,

What is with this universal archetype of the complainy expat? I’m not saying life is all good here, its obviously not, but there seems to be some very common process of a westerner voluntarily coming to developing Asian countries and then proceeding to constantly complain. Let us analyze this phenomenon…

If we just call a spade a spade, can’t y’all admit that the good outweighs the bad! Just own it, laowai. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything, but being a westerner in big Chinese cities is quite obviously a good thing. So a few taxi drivers rip you off or you paid 12 yuan more for a knockoff bag, is that really so worthy of self-pity? You know you can afford it and have an infinitely nicer life than 99% of the local population. I contend that you just like to complain.

It is almost tantamount to celebrities expecting you to feel sorry for them due to all the hardships of their wealth and fame. In fact, that may be the universal human trait right there: to have so many things going for you and then still be unhappy. The more privileged and rich and the milking of their whiteness (and btw the more their job leaves them with freetime to troll the internet), the more these kind of expats like to complain about their sorry lot in life.

The logical conclusion begs this question: why don’t you just move? Are you spoiled people really that unable to control your own lives and live in a place that doesn’t warrant so much negativity? Just move somewhere better, ah-duh.

What do we learn from all your astute points? Are we going to learn anything and do anything about it, is this but therapeutic venting, or are you simply trying to make me us unhappy as you because you are a selfish asshole? I don’t want to hear any more sob stories about dirty villagers and stupid girls and incompetent work colleagues and bad shopping. At least balance it out a bit with the occasional slightly upbeat topics. Don’t you know how unoriginal you are?

That is not to say that rising China doesn’t have important problems that need to be addressed. I particularly enjoyed reading The China Price by Alexandra Harney and Under Mao’s Shadow by Phillip Pan for serious journalistic takes on current political and economic challenges. As for other more broader complaints about China as a whole, I wholeheartedly reject doom and gloom scenarios about the real estate bubble that’s going to lead to civil war that’s going to lead to Mad Max. Any day now. Wait up, any day now! I’m still waiting, been waiting for years. Might I call it the Glen Beck school of Sinology, these endless predictions that never ever come true. Be a tad more realistic and I might just pay attention to what you have to say m’kay 🙂

Of course, in my personal life I do have a few complaints of my own. I try to have some perspective, keep my observations at the very least 60/40 positive/negative. But if you want to know the truth, my number one complaint is being vegetarian in China. Its not their fault, they just don’t understand it, but man o man coming from California to here it is dang frustrating how nobody respects such a diet. Just last night I went to a classy Thai restaurant that you’d think knows better, I specifically asked for no chicken, and then they gave me chicken. This happens several times a month.

Still, forgive me for not constantly harping and harping about how sad it is. I have a simple philosophy for a low-stress life that has done me wonders, I get over it.

Well I’m going to go collect my 5 mao now.

Let’s discuss here, or follow along on my other blog…

1 thought on “Dear Whiney Spoiled Expat,

  1. Everyone does it. My friends and family that immigrated to the US complain about the differences and weird things they’re not used to and I complain about the same thing in Italy where I’ve lived for the past four years. However, I don’t think most people complain in a nationalistic way. I certainly don’t think America is the best country in the world, however, the lack of personal space in Italy drives me INSANE. Moving someone doesn’t mean you have to love and adore every aspect of it. However, some people, the really ethnocentric ones, can be annoying because they really hate everywhere that isn’t their “home.”


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