U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 03-05-2012, 09:41 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,352,353 times
Reputation: 11862

Advertisements

I've only been to let's see, 5 Asian nations (6 if you count Hong Kong), but here's my ranking anyway. I won't do an individual ranking, rather group them into tiers...

The South Asian Nations - I'm told Indians are very friendly and not afraid to make friends with you. Assuming most are genuine...online it seems you meet an Indian guy online and he talks about wanting to be your friend. Is he out to scam you or is that just the culture? I think Indian men tend to be more forward as well. I would say they are probably the most extroverted and out going Asians. Pakistan and Bangladesh I'm not so sure - wonder how the Muslim thing plays into it.

Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet: They seem very friendly and hospitable. Bhutan - an absolute monarchy - is known as being the 'happiest nation on earth'. I know Tibet is China but Tibetans seem pretty down to earth.

Next would be South East Asia. Let's break it down by country. Vietnam felt a lot like China to me. I found quite a few people who want to make friends with foreigners, along with the usual cheats, and staff could be extremely friendly without expecting tips. But there's a sort of reserve typical of East Asia.

Thailand is similar to Vietnam in friendliness but there's way too many opportunists (tuk tuk drivers, prostitutes, scam artists) that leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Laos and Cambodia, the people are more 'rural' with a slower pace of life. I think they are overall very friendly, like the rural Thais not trying to take advantage of tourists.

Malaysia - An interesting multicultural society. Many friendly people here, and they like to make friends with foreigners. On the other hand, people in KL are known to wear the big city frown. Without sounding racist, the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia are probably a bit more reserved (depending on region though), as well as the Indians. The native Malays are generally friendly but interestingly a European friend of mine commented on how, while they generally are friendly, he felt some would glare at him with a hostile vibe. I found this as well.

Singapore - Notoriously cold and unfriendly, especially by SE Asian standards. It's largely true most Singaporeans keep to themselves, have a live and let live attitude, but some can be quite friendly.

Indonesia - Similar to Malaysia, I think.

Filipinos, I suspect, are even friendlier than Indonesians.

East Asia:

I've been to China but the language barrier was a problem. I find Chinese people quite curious about Westerners. They are actually very different to the Japanese and are not afraid to speak their mind. Because of the mass of people you can feel ignored/anonymous, but I actually think most Chinese aren't that different to Westerners anymore.

I don't know much about Mongolia.

People in Hong Kong - didn't care for them that much. Supposed to be less friendly than even Singaporeans.

Taiwan I assume is a bit like China.

Korea and Japan are the ones that to me stick out as being the most insular. They have a strong ethnic/national sense separate from the rest of Asia. You'll never be accepted as 'one of them' unlike the US, but on the surface they are friendly, polite, and even quite inquisitive. They have some unusual cultural practices/ideas that can be quite foreign.

Korean 'brotherhood' is quite strong. Like India, men in Korea can be much closer than is usual in the West (so I've been told). While developed and westernised, I get the sense traditional values remain entrenched in Korean society.

Koreans can also come on as being very friendly with you - always wanting to hang out, being quite touchy...I feel this is where they differ from the Japanese who give you more personal space. Japanese people are on average quite reserved, but outwardly sociable, with a strong emphasis on 'saving face.' I've heard they are not always very honest with their emotions. I've heard a lot of issues regarding dating Japanese women, cultural issues that are unique to Japan vs other Asian nations.

I can't really speak for Central Asia and will leave the Middle East out of this.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-06-2012, 03:45 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,144,182 times
Reputation: 9478
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Korea and Japan are the ones that to me stick out as being the most insular. They have a strong ethnic/national sense separate from the rest of Asia. You'll never be accepted as 'one of them' unlike the US, but on the surface they are friendly, polite, and even quite inquisitive. They have some unusual cultural practices/ideas that can be quite foreign.
I kind of think ALL Asian countries have this attribute. You can never be Vietnamese or Thai or Laotian either.

Probably the only somewhat inclusive one is Malaysia, as you have CHinese, Indian, and Malay living there. So, you could relate to Indian-Malay for example for also not really being 'Malay-Malaysians'.

---

Regarding the friendliness factors. Generally speaking, the poorer the people of a nation are, the friendlier they seem to be. Once they become economic equals, they seem to change. In short, it doesn't seem to be a nationalistic characteristic as much as it's an economic one.

I use to make the mistake of being friendly to everyone I met in foreign countries who were friendly to me. But, very quickly you learn that the friendliest ones are the ones who'll be taking advantage of you very quickly, and finding a quick opening.

That's not to say I don't find some very AUTHENTIC friendly people in poor countries, as I do all the time. But, I also find a ton of very AUTHENTIC friendly people in wealthy countries as well.

It's one of those things that is hard to categorize. Other elements come into play as well. I'll use an American example, but everyone says that Southerners are incredibly friendly, and they are! But, other people talk about it not being authentic, and they might even talk behind your back - don't know if that's true or not, as I never spent much time in the American South - I do know they are superfriendly though. Than you have New York City which is known to not be friendly. Yet, I've met many of the most authentic and real honest people willing to help you out in a new york heartbeat despite that stereotype.

In short, it's a hard thing to quantify - nationalistic and regional stereotypes. How 'real' is friendliness? Is it fake? Is it authentic? Etc.

All that being said, most people say almost all southeast asians are super friendly, and most people say that almost all northeast asians (+ Vietnam) are more colder. Than again, most people say the exact same thing about Northern Europe vs Southern Europe as well as Northern states in the U.S. vs Southern states in the U.S. All of those things seem to be 'true'...yet so many exceptions to that.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 03:55 AM
 
2,845 posts, read 3,934,653 times
Reputation: 3234
Having spent 16 years working with Malays in Malaysia, I can say that they are as insular, if not worse, than the Koreans and Japanese. By the definition of "capable of making a friendship with a non-Malay", I would not call Malays as a rule "friendly". Polite, yes; friendly, no.

This is not a slam on their culture, of course. They just have a heightened sense of "in-group" versus "out-group" and anyone not part of their race is most definitely "out-group".

But hey, like I said, I've only been around them for 16 years. This is speaking for Malays in Malaysia, of course. One can imagine that the preferential racial policies have helped to encourage this aloofness.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:01 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,144,182 times
Reputation: 9478
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teak View Post
Having spent 16 years working with Malays in Malaysia, I can say that they are as insular, if not worse, than the Koreans and Japanese. By the definition of "capable of making a friendship with a non-Malay", I would not call Malays as a rule "friendly". Polite, yes; friendly, no.

This is not a slam on their culture, of course. They just have a heightened sense of "in-group" versus "out-group" and anyone not part of their race is most definitely "out-group".

But hey, like I said, I've only been around them for 16 years. This is speaking for Malays in Malaysia, of course. One can imagine that the preferential racial policies have helped to encourage this aloofness.
Since Malays are the 'true Malaysia', it would seem to be the case. I get that feeling with every Asian country. Korea for the Koreans, Vietnam for the Vietnamese. They'll be friendly to a degree, but in their heart of hearts, if you aren't that particularly ethnicity, you never will be.

WHat I do like about Malaysia though is that third and fourth generation Indian-Malay and CHinese-Malay make their home in Malaysia in large numbers. As they can never be Malay either, you have a rather large demographic of locals who'd quickly and easily relate to you as a fellow non-Malay local (if you turned yourself into one).

Maybe I'm wrong about that with the Chinese-Malay and Indian-Malays...but just an impression I got in Malaysia, anyways.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:04 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,352,353 times
Reputation: 11862
Good take on it Tiger Beer. It's sad that you correlate being poor with being friendly, though. Hopefully the main reason is not because most of the people who are friendly to you are not trying to butter you up to gain something from you.

Yes unfortunately you can't really lay it all out there in many of these countries. Be suspicious of people who appear too friendly, while being polite, congenial.etc. I would say a great deal of friendliness in Thailand isn't really that genuine: in fact that old saying 'the land of smiles' might not be as applicable now as it was in the past. Maybe it's because I went to the tourist areas, but I got the feeling many Thais were kind of tired of the 'farangs' or foreigners, even though they are helping their economy. One thing I noticed in Thailand was they get irritated if they sense you're 'on to them.' When I went to a 'government approved' travel agent I was put under a lot of pressure to buy this package. I excused myself, used the computer they had, and found out they were a dodgy operator. When I said I'd think about it the guy was pretty annoyed at me.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:06 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,352,353 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teak View Post
Having spent 16 years working with Malays in Malaysia, I can say that they are as insular, if not worse, than the Koreans and Japanese. By the definition of "capable of making a friendship with a non-Malay", I would not call Malays as a rule "friendly". Polite, yes; friendly, no.

This is not a slam on their culture, of course. They just have a heightened sense of "in-group" versus "out-group" and anyone not part of their race is most definitely "out-group".

But hey, like I said, I've only been around them for 16 years. This is speaking for Malays in Malaysia, of course. One can imagine that the preferential racial policies have helped to encourage this aloofness.
Interesting, I wonder why this was. My father is Malaysian, and from what I understand the government itself has put in place some rather discriminatory policies towards non-Malay Malaysians. There probably is resentment of the fact that non-Malays predominantly control the economy and own much of the country's capital. After all, Malaysia was largely settled by Chinese and Indian immigrant labourers, largely at the behest of the British colonial governors of Malaya.

Did you find this attitude prevalent among most Malays? Do you think religion has anything to do with it? I know a large part of Malay identity is linked to being Muslim. I hear ethnic tensions are growing again in Malaysia, it's kind of sad such petty differences are tearing apart what could be a great country and a harmonious society.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:08 AM
 
2,845 posts, read 3,934,653 times
Reputation: 3234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
WHat I do like about Malaysia though is that third and fourth generation Indian-Malay and CHinese-Malay make their home in Malaysia in large numbers. As they can never be Malay either, you have a rather large demographic of locals who'd quickly and easily relate to you as a fellow non-Malay local (if you turned yourself into one).
You are right on this. It IS possible to become friends with Malaysian Indians and Chinese. In a way, as expats, we share the common bond of being discriminated against by the majority simply because we are also part of the "out-group".

But I think it goes beyond that also. I have a friend who taught Indonesians and Malay Malaysians in Los Angeles (TESL). She said that the Indonesians freely mixed with Americans and other students, whereas the Malay students had a "hunker down in the bunker" mentality. The attitude appeared to be: Don't mix with anyone outside your "in-group" lest you be swayed into wrong thinking and behaviour. I have also been told that the many Malay students in England have the same mentality.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:14 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,144,182 times
Reputation: 9478
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Good take on it Tiger Beer. It's sad that you correlate being poor with being friendly, though. Hopefully the main reason is not because most of the people who are friendly to you are not trying to butter you up to gain something from you.

Yes unfortunately you can't really lay it all out there in many of these countries. Be suspicious of people who appear too friendly, while being polite, congenial.etc. I would say a great deal of friendliness in Thailand isn't really that genuine: in fact that old saying 'the land of smiles' might not be as applicable now as it was in the past. Maybe it's because I went to the tourist areas, but I got the feeling many Thais were kind of tired of the 'farangs' or foreigners, even though they are helping their economy. One thing I noticed in Thailand was they get irritated if they sense you're 'on to them.' When I went to a 'government approved' travel agent I was put under a lot of pressure to buy this package. I excused myself, used the computer they had, and found out they were a dodgy operator. When I said I'd think about it the guy was pretty annoyed at me.
It is the tourist areas in economically challenged countries. YEAH, as you get near some of the locals, they are ALL SMILES...'my friend, my friend, my friend'...as you don't make a purchase at their store, they're about ready to kill you for any money out of your pocket.

That being said, when you meet hotel staff and others who have nothing to gain from you, you can meet some very friendly people, in these same areas.

Then you have people like the Vietnamese who stick out their hand when they see a white face, thinking you're going to drop a million bucks in their palms.

Actually, whenever I'm 'traveler backpacker' or 'tourist' or whatever, I'm pretty happy to get back to northeast asia where no one is trying to be 'my friend' every two seconds.

That being said, I'd have to say that Filipinas stand out as very authentically friendly, willing to give you the shirt off your back, and share a meal with you. (Yet, you can also get in situations where you try to be friendly back, and they'll be expecting you to hoste an entire party of people with you paying the bill, so it's not always the case).

I don't know, all I know, is when I get back to Japan (or when I lived in Korea), I was glad to just be economically the same as everyone, and can respond to friendliness with my own friendliness. In Southeast Asia, I always feel 'on guard' against all friendliness everytime. I think the exceptions would be Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea...where when I experience friendliness, I know there is no alterior motive behind it. Which is something I value MUCH more.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:15 AM
 
2,845 posts, read 3,934,653 times
Reputation: 3234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Interesting, I wonder why this was. My father is Malaysian, and from what I understand the government itself has put in place some rather discriminatory policies towards non-Malay Malaysians. There probably is resentment of the fact that non-Malays predominantly control the economy and own much of the country's capital. After all, Malaysia was largely settled by Chinese and Indian immigrant labourers, largely at the behest of the British colonial governors of Malaya.

Did you find this attitude prevalent among most Malays? Do you think religion has anything to do with it? I know a large part of Malay identity is linked to being Muslim. I hear ethnic tensions are growing again in Malaysia, it's kind of sad such petty differences are tearing apart what could be a great country and a harmonious society.
Yes and yes. Scratch the polite surface and it is there. There are a few exceptional people, of course. It doesn't help that one political party likes to play the race card, in the background using component "wings", to keep the prejudicial fires burning.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-06-2012, 04:16 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,352,353 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Since Malays are the 'true Malaysia', it would seem to be the case. I get that feeling with every Asian country. Korea for the Koreans, Vietnam for the Vietnamese. They'll be friendly to a degree, but in their heart of hearts, if you aren't that particularly ethnicity, you never will be.

WHat I do like about Malaysia though is that third and fourth generation Indian-Malay and CHinese-Malay make their home in Malaysia in large numbers. As they can never be Malay either, you have a rather large demographic of locals who'd quickly and easily relate to you as a fellow non-Malay local (if you turned yourself into one).

Maybe I'm wrong about that with the Chinese-Malay and Indian-Malays...but just an impression I got in Malaysia, anyways.
If you think Americans are racist and xenophobic with regards to ethnic groups you haven't been to Asia. I've seen on the internet the different Asian nationalities/ethnicities insulting each other in a way that would be tolerated in the US.

Yes since the early day's of the colony of Malaya, and later the Federation of Malaysia, this has been the case. My grandmother was Peranakan - a sort of ethnic group in themselves which mixed Chinese with Malay cultural influences - and my father was from Penang, the first of the British straits settlements. I think Penang Island has always been different to other parts of Malaysia in that respect, that the people get along better with one another but I don't know if it's still the case.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top