10 Signs You’ve Been in Asia Too Long

by Jason -- June 5, 2013

Asia can be quite the culture shock when you first arrive from the western world. Once you start getting accustomed and understanding the traditions, however, you’ll find Asia to be uniquely appealing and you will truly start to appreciate it.

The following quiz, though, is for someone who may have found Asia a little too appealing; for someone who has fallen in love too deeply.

Note: I originally wrote this post in August 2010 while we were in the middle of our original 1-year trip. It’s finally time to hit publish!

The scoring is simple. For each statement that accurately describes you, simply add +1 to your score. Keep a tally of your total score and at the end see how you rank.

  1. You love squat toilets
    Sure, at first you could hardly keep your balance and afterwards you felt like you went to the gym, but now you’ve got it down. The thought of using a western, sit-down toilet where you actually have to touch things? Gross.
    Bonus +1 – Add another point if your squat has become so comfortable that when just standing around, you now prefer to be in the Asian squat position.
  2. You chew with your mouth open widely and, in general, make a lot of noise when you eat.
    It’s the polite thing to do right? It shows you’re enjoying your food!
  3. You now stare at the other foreigners you see.
    If, “wow, foreigners!” is the first things that pops into your head as you stare open-mouthed at a newly spotted foreigner, go ahead and add 1 to your score.
  4. You have genuinely started to believe you’re a celebrity.
    It’s easy to get a little bit of an ego when people stop in their tracks to stare at you.  Little kids say hello to you. People want to touch your hair and skin. However, if you’ve crossed over and now think you actually are a celebrity, +1.
    Bonus +1 – Add another point if someone has ever asked you to take their picture and you wrongly assumed they wanted you to also be in the picture.
  5. Your throat is constantly irritated from clearing it and spitting too much.
    You noticed everyone else doing it and were just trying to fit in. Now you do it without even realizing it.
  6. It’s no longer considered a meal unless you’ve eaten rice.
    Add 1 to your score if you believe there’s no such thing as too much rice.
  7. Littering no longer feels wrong.
    Everyone else does it, so you started littering too. Now, without a second thought you throw your wrapper on the ground.
  8. Throwing away toilet paper into the toilet feels wrong.
    You’ve gotten use to the fact that most plumbing in Asia just can’t handle the paper.
  9. You own an outdoor umbrella and love how pasty white you’ve become.
    Asian fashion loves white, pale skin. If you’re just trying to fit in add 1 point.
    Bonus +1 – If you’ve purposely purchased sunscreen or any other product with whitener in it add another bonus point to your score.
  10. You argue over 5 baht, 2,000 dong or 1 kuai (the equivalent of less than $0.20).
    It’s easy to get carried away with the whole bargaining culture, and it’s also important to be somewhat aware of the prices (things are typically quoted significantly higher to foreigners). But come on, if you’ve argued over 5 baht, add a point to your score.

The Scoreboard

0 – 4 points – Don’t be afraid to do as the locals do and let go of those western roots. It’s fun!
5 – 7 points – Congrats, you’ve integrated and started really adapting into some of the culture.
8+ points – You may have gone a little too far in adopting the culture. It’s time for you to book a flight home!

And in case you’re wondering….it’s time for me to book a flight home!

What’s your score? What other aspects should your score take into account? Leave a comment and let us know!

Photo credits: Robert Lio (top), Roadfood (squat toilet), Pauline Geordio (coins)

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