Expat Demographics in 4 Quadrants part the first: Loser English Teachers and Cool English Teachers

In my latest post, I shall attempt to categorize the demographics of the mainland Chinese expat in four quadrants. Just a theory of mine I like sharing. Please note this is very much generalization. It is not meant to encompass all foreigners, it’s about Westerner expats and their scene. In fact, this mostly goes for males so I’m going to assume masculine terms below. Forgive me for painting with a broad brush, there are degrees and exceptions but I think it by and large counts.

Often the casual observer makes an even simpler observation on expat demos; there are loser English teachers, and everybody else. There is more than a kernel of truth in that stereotype to be sure, but I hope to be a bit more detailed so as a to give a break to our ESL friends and simultaneously not give a break to some other sorts.

It breaks up as so: Loser English Teachers & Cool English teachers, and Good Businessmen & Evil Businessmen

 

Loser English Teachers: This is an archetype we all know well. The dropouts, the drunks at clubs, the young and (sadly, sometimes very) old who don’t seem to be employable anywhere else in the world and tend to have no skill sets and are only hired because of a foreign face. It’s downright profiling.

Not necessarily native-English speakers at all, they can hail from any country in the world and simply bounce from one ‘performing monkey’ job to the next. The blond Russians, the aloof central Europeans, and some seriously awkward French-Canadians.

The native speakers themselves are more often than not terrible at English, especially in writing, and obviously have no business teaching anything. Yet here they are. The Australians with serious alcoholism issues, the Americans with barely a high school education, the British sex addicts.

They drink, they party, they fuck, and they learn nothing. And, without being too crass, let’s just say they are into Asian chicks. And they generally can’t get chicks back home. You surely know what I mean.

It should be noted, however, that as China has progressed these past years the average Chinese female citizen is not so easily impressed by a white face and expects more. Time to learn some new skill sets, people.

Simply put, these guys are not TEFL-certified and the desperate shady schools that hire them are not doing a service to their students at all.

 

Cool English Teachers: But it’s not all bad. A lot of people take up the opportunity to move to China because they are actually interested in Chinese culture. They might go after graduation, or later in life to reinvent themselves, perhaps take advantage after a gap year of backpacking, and ESL is an easy enough job to see the world and get your foot in the door in China.

They might party, but that’s not all they do. With more long-term plans in mind, they learn Mandarin and can eventually get jobs in other fields. Then there are the very long-term expats who settle down here and raise families as well.

Anyway, no shame in being that kind of ESL guy at all, and I for one think they are undeservedly lumped in with the losers. As for teaching, credentials aren’t everything and there are solid people out there who just have a knack. There’s my defense.

What do you think? Recognize any expat friends up there? Ever taught English yourself, where do you fall on the scale?

(Btw, a group I notice left out is the qualified international school teacher. Like, they can teach math and actually majored in teaching. That is a wholly different animal, more like the Good Businessman than anything else as far as being people with “real jobs” who just happen to work in China. With that…)

Part the second, Good Businessmen & Evil Businessmen, to be continued…

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20 thoughts on “Expat Demographics in 4 Quadrants part the first: Loser English Teachers and Cool English Teachers

  1. I see myself in the Cool English Teachers category, but maybe I’m being over self-indulgent. I’m non native, I have a degree in education and I work in a real International environment (non Chinese students, western bosses and colleagues, teaching subjects), I don’t party, I don’t chase girls (I’m married with a baby). There are many like me out there, but since they don’t hit all the popular venues, people tend to identify all the category with the LBH stereotype.

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  2. I would love to be a cool English teacher! Unfortunately I’m not a native speaker. I did a postgraduate course on Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language though.
    I currently work in the industry field and I seriously hate it. I need a change…

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    • You can still be a cool English teacher! That’s another subcategory actually: the overqualified ESL teacher who could make a lot more money but still does it just cuz its easy and fun 🙂

      Btw disclosure: my roommate happens to be Spanish and a teacher but not a Spanish teacher

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  3. Pingback: Expat demos part the second: Good Businessmen & Evil Businessmen | Ray Hecht

  4. Pingback: Expat Demographics in 4 Quadrants part the first: Loser English Teachers and Cool English Teachers | Shenzhen Writers Circle

  5. You are such an idiot Ray. You reference so many stereotypes that you have heard other people mention.

    While I was in Japan, I met the ‘in-crowd’ foreigners, who, like you, labelled so many visitors as ‘Losers Who Couldnt Get Women Back In Their Own Country’. Well, let me set things straight. I travel all over the world and when I am in any particular country, I make friends with both men and women. Some of those women are kind and beautiful and so I become romantically involved with them. I also am romantically involved with various women in my home country, so my behaviour and results dont matter, regardless of where i find myself.

    In particular, I have a Chinese girlfriend. When I am in Japan however, I stay with my Japanese girlfriend. And if time permits, I fly over to Indonesia and visit with my Indonesian girlfriend. On the side, when money and time permits, I have sex with prostitutes.

    This is year 2014. Many men have multiple women in multiple places. If you look at a guy that you think ‘isn’t all that’ and you falsely label him a ‘loser’, that is a reflection on you, not him.

    I come across guys like you all the time – self-acclaimed geniuses that think they are somewhat superior than anyone around them.

    NEWS FLASH – A real alpha male doesnt have to look down on other men to rise above them.

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  6. @ Mike: Wow did you read mine all the way to the end? I’m honestly not sure if you are trolling for fun or not. I’ll go ahead and feed anyhows~

    Firstly, the WHOLE POINT is that all expats aren’t losers!!! Just some. Apparently you. Sensitive on this issue much?

    And I’m admittedly just generalizing because I think it makes a good read to do so. Come on, it’s all so obvious you must be trolling.

    Lastly, I call myself many things but I would never ever say I’m an alpha male.

    Um enjoy your travels buddy and I hope none of those poor girls catch any STDs from ya 🙂

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  7. Ray,

    I am not a troll. A troll is a commentor that provides an argument for argument sake, but no other reason. I, however, corrected your claim regarding foreigners who ‘fuck’, but who supposedly cant get women back home. I have heard this put-down so many times and it gets annoying re-reading the same misinformation.

    Do you know why ‘foreign’ men like Oriental women? Because unlike Caucasian women, Oriental women are tinier and more feminine. Moreover, many Oriental women, unlike Caucasians, are focused on ‘traditional’ interests/values.

    In terms of feminine qualities, many Caucasian women are larger, weigh more and look older than their counterparts in China, Malyasia, Vietnam, etc. In general, men are less attracted to women who look more like men, and conversely, men are more attracted to women who look more, well, like women.

    In North America (and I suspect in Europe), the average Caucasian woman is 5’4″ tall, weighs 150-160 pounds, and maybe because of genetics or lifestyle – or both, looks about 3 – 4 years older than they actually are. Conversely, in China, the average woman is about 5’2″ tall, weighs about 110 pounds and looks about 5 years younger than they actually are. Look at commenter Lina Chen, pictured above, as an example. Lina is beautiful and would attract many ‘western’ men.

    Also, as I mentioned above, many Chinese women (and many other oriental women) think differently than a vast majority of Caucasian women. The average Chinese girl is focused on her career, finding a marriage partner and starting a family. The average Caucasian women is focused on having a good time, but nothing else.

    Now, if you are a 25 – 35 year old male that is looking to have a relationship with a woman, who are you going to pick? Would you choose the Caucasian women who looks like a small line-backer, has little interest in having a child and starting a family, and even more bothersome, who spends 25% of her time drinking ethyl alcohol and waking up afterwards in a mental haze; or, the Chinese girl who looks young, slim and pretty and wants to start a family with you as soon as possible?

    Yes, Chinese girls have their drawbacks. But when you compare them to Caucasian women, they come out ahead 9/10ths of the time.

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    • Sir I hereby thank you for being a living example of the sexist expat archetype. Such a pure distilled stereotype, it’s amazing. Very good job.

      I couldn’t make it any more clear, I couldn’t even satirize that. Sincerely grateful for the detailed rant here–

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  8. Is this actually happening, am I actually responding to someone who thinks its progressive and modern to have simultaneous girlfriends all over asia (wherever that came from, a lot of randomness from this guy)

    See here, the pinnacle of expat awfulness. I tried to make the point that not all are like that, but wow they sure do exist. Unless this is some sort of meta-trolling going over my head, I really can’t be sure these days–I do notice this harsh critic of white girls happens to be anonymous and isn’t sharing what he looks like, hmmm

    Dude, you seem to be projecting some weird issues. Subjects I never even mentioned yet you feel the need to be defensive about in excruciating detail. Well of course Asian women are beautiful, you can like Asian girls best all you want and duh tons of guys would agree. But, it is more than a bit dickish to praise one ethnicity by spouting shit about another ethnicity… I’m not going to get into every factor point by point, delusional and sexist and creepy etc. It simply suffices to say it’s not a competition; there’s plenty of room in this world for all sorts of beautiful women!

    You are so obviously resentful because you can’t get laid back home, you are the living archetype of that sort of guy 100%. You absolutely couldn’t be screaming that any louder. Just stop digging yourself into a deeper hole, just stop.

    Lina by the way deserves more respect, I know for a fact she is educated and worldly and definitely the type not so easily impressed by your lot. Please don’t lump her into your creepy fetish. Somehow I’m quite sure she doesn’t take any of that from you as flattering.

    Shall I refer you to the gettin ever-more-appropriate http://creepywhiteguys.tumblr.com/

    And go fuck hookers all you want, hey it happens I guess, but why on earth did you exhibitionistically mention that and think that’s worth sharing?!?! WE DO NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT

    Again on the subject of yellow fever phenomenon here’s a pretty good piece on the subject. Much more well-written than this fellow’s rant, and wile I don’t agree at least that blog author is trying to be original and interesting. Note my own response for more on the whole Asian girls debate: http://whimsicalweltschmerz.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/aint-nothing-logical-about-yellow-fever-its-bio-logical/#comments

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  9. Ray, I impressed our mutual friend Ling. She wanted to marry me and have a baby with me. Do you not think she is of a high value? She used to call me constantly, tell me she loved me and the whole bit. She is one of the best women I have met in my travels and I would guess is one of the best women you have met in your travels.

    You can put me down all you want, but my experiences go to show you that I can impress even the best of the best.

    My point in commenting towards your blog piece was that you shouldnt be looking down on others so much. Everyone is moving at their own pace in life and has their own set of unique circumstances and skills. Every human being has value. Every human being has feelings. Please dont talk about people as if they have less value than you do or have less value than others you know.

    And lastly, if it werent for people who are ‘less skilled’ than yourself, you wouldn’t have the quality of life that you have now. It’s equivalent to a highly trained mechanic complaining about all the ill-trained mechanics in his field. Well, if everyone else was as equally trained as the top mechanic, he wouldnt be able to command the pay, nor the work related benefits that he receives. He would just be normal in his field.

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  10. You description is too narrow. Many of the older expats full stop are basically in China for sex they can’t get at home and would otherwise be lost to the low end of the professional ladder. Beijing and Shanghai and a few other major cities do attract a better class of expat but the ones you meet in random places are 9/10 socially inept misogynists. As a successful professional who married a Chinese professional in Europe we both have expressed surprise at the Laowai we have meet and have even encountered one or two snide comments of “snob” when not wishing to engage with their frightfully low brow “banter”. Talk of “hookers” seems to be like buying a big mac. China is a wonderful place with wonderful people but despite its recent wealth and development it still has a large population who are still economically vulnerable and who are not as financially secure as say my Chinese family ..these poor seem easy prey for these “teachers”..I don’t blame the Chinese girls at all, it seems tragic but I must admit I do resent the “laowai” who do this as they create a cloud over the whole expat community. I have noticed the younger westerners seem so much better and are just out to do the traveling thing, nowt wrong with that.

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  11. Your description is too narrow. Many of the older expats full stop are basically in China for sex they can’t get at home and would otherwise be lost to the low end of the professional ladder. Beijing and Shanghai and a few other major cities do attract a better class of expat but the ones you meet in random places are 9/10 socially inept misogynists. As a successful professional who married a Chinese professional in Europe we both have expressed surprise at the Laowai we have meet and have even encountered one or two snide comments of “snob” when not wishing to engage with their frightfully low brow “banter”. Talk of “hookers” seems to be like buying a big mac. China is a wonderful place with wonderful people but despite its recent wealth and development it still has a large population who are still economically vulnerable and who are not as financially secure as say my Chinese family ..these poor seem easy prey for these “teachers”..I don’t blame the Chinese girls at all, it seems tragic but I must admit I do resent the “laowai” who do this as they create a cloud over the whole expat community. I have noticed the younger westerners seem so much better and are just out to do the traveling thing, nowt wrong with that.

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  12. Real snobbery all around here. I guess that’s just what happens when you start eviscerating people for ‘losing’. Did you ever consider the person you are dubbing ‘loser’ might be one that deserves sympathy for said loss. Like what about ‘poor guy, nobody in his home country was willing to give him a chance and try to understand his inherent value’. Instead, ‘worthless piece of shit, nobody, can’t be successful back home’. Its really reductive and cruel, but actually plays into a widespread asian cultural belief that basically equates wealth to human value. Life is much more random than you might care to acknowledge. There but for the grace of god go you, etc.

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