Humans are born with a shared biological disposition that transcends cultures and epochs. We are just like animals. In zoos, when animals are taken out of their biological comfort zone, they break down mentally and physically. Clearly evidenced in modern culture, we see that when taken out of instinctual drive for peace, freedom and health, life becomes a dreary cage.
In western consumer culture, everyone has a singular objective: building wealth. Children are taught early in life to focus on paradigms about economics, science and technology with a central state ruler. In their later cubicle years, their primary path to progress becomes the consumption of resources and the production of waste.
In sharp contrast, Taoist philosophy stresses natural simplicity while rolling joyfully along the waves of life. In this mindset, all aspects of the personal psyche are honored and cared for. Value is placed on human nature as a whole – not just the parts used for gain in a competitive rat-race.
Exodus from the West
People who expatriate get out of the constraints of their own society, to live on the fringes of adopted ones. This limbo state – inside a culture but never a part of it – grants expats personal freedoms that don’t exist in their own culture.
Asia has 5,000 years of spiritual and moral development. Men are masculine and women are feminine. Children frolic in the streets. The elderly are respected, and peace on the street is the norm.
Tens of thousands of westerners who live here will never go back.
Western culture is individualistic and focused on non-spiritual trappings like fame, fortune and conquest. People are disconnected. Life is stressful:
- Mental Problems: 18% of the American population (40 million) suffers anxiety; 43% of Americans take mood-altering prescriptions regularly; 42% of young Americans use recreational drugs.
- Obesity: 35% U.S. adults (78.6 million) and approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of youth aged 2—19 years are obese.
- Poor work-life balance: western work life means long hours, short vacations and plenty of overtime, with real wages flat or falling for decades.
Asian culture is the opposite: it has a rich history, is steeped in spirituality, and shuns individualism for collectivism.
Asia: 5,000 years of culture
The cultivation of rice began in China around 6000 years ago and in India around 4,000 years ago. Buddhism emerged soon After. Rice cultivation took hold in India around 4,000 years ago, and Hinduism emerged soon after.
It is believed that Hinduism originated around 5,000 years ago, and then Guatama Buddha’s teachings extended the Hindu philosophy into Buddhism around 3,000 years ago. Similar beliefs between the two:
- Many paths to enlightenment
- Suffering is caused by attachments to the physical world
- The physical world is a distorted reflection of a larger spiritual reality
- Practicing meditation and yoga
- All living spirits will reach enlightenment – even if it takes many incarnations
Out of the roots of those religions rose a cultural heritage continent-wide with similar shared values (source):
- Collectivism: Asians are a group-oriented people who place emphasis on family connection as the major source of identity. In traditional families, the parents define the laws and the children are expected to obey. Self-control is expected and individuals should demonstrate inner stamina and strength to tolerate crisis.
- Indirect communication: lack of directness is favored because preserving harmony between people is often considered more important than getting the exact truth. Body language, eye contact, pitch, intonation, word stress, and the use of silence are as important as the actual words being spoken in conversation. Particularly enigmatic to Americans is the Asian tendency to smile when confused or embarrassed. Smiling does not necessarily indicate pleasure or humor in all cultures.
- Relaxed perception of time: Asia has polychronic time framework, which means that different social interactions can occur at the same time. Thus the Western time is monochronic – it demands a linear scheduling of events one at a time.
As long as you have income to support yourself, Asia offers a low-stress style of living that allows you to switch off your logical brain and cruise on values that transcend culture.
It is perhaps because of their appreciation for peace, privacy, freedom, safety and respect that people in countries like Thailand or the Philippines can be poorer but still happier. Even if making just enough to scrape by, family and social circles provide support. Government intervention in lives is secondary.
Traditional gender roles
Western culture diminishes men, mutates women with flawed empowerment and encourages gender confusion. Consider gender roles in television comedies: smart, witty, attractive women married to inept, overweight, immature men.
In forcing a more egalitarian society through hyper-conscious semantic regulation, men have been pushed away from their natural alpha instincts into neat little boxes of beta behavior:
- Afraid to take risks: stuck in a job they don’t like; afraid to stand out; unadventurous; lacks big-picture ambitions; fear of making mistakes.
- Followers not leaders: inauthentic personality; follows trends; doesn’t make firm decisions; always needs guidance.
- Resentful: beta males keep score and often feels taken advantage of; they resent others for who they are and what they have; they will sabotage situations to “get bacK’ at people they feel wronged them.
- Passive Aggressive: these fellas will pout, ignore, use hostile jokes, fail on purpose and voice displeasure then quickly change the subject.
Asia: paradise for men, challenges for women
Broadly generalized, Asian women are pretty, petite, and comfortable in a feminine role. For single Western men, Asia can be a paradise of women more than willing to pamper them. Most know how to cook and voluntarily clean up after men without being asked.
Sexpats have a broad choice of women, as long as they have the money – a full-time girlfriend at this level will cost a full-time local salary.
Traditional expat males looking for normal relationships are also appealing: they are perceived as softer than local men, and offer women a taste of the expat dream, by virtue of association.
Expat women struggle in Asia
Single expat women have a hard time competing with the hordes of slim silky-haired local cupcakes. Thus a big part of the expat experience for many women is to learn how to spend time alone.
Hong Kong psychologist Melanie Bryan works with many expat women in Hong Kong and noted: “BI see women drink more. I definitely see them depressed.”
Fortunately, Asia is a wonderful place for personal growth. Without your old western diversions to hide behind, you will begin to see patterns in your daily interactions, which will reveal parts of yourself you were never aware of. Since the work-life balance is better here, you will have more time to ponder and address those.
A nice bonus is that expat women have higher chances of getting hired than men. As one example, despite being a male-dominated society, Japanese multinationals prefer hiring expat women over men, particularly for marketing and sales.
Expats enjoy more freedom in Asia
While for some moving to Asia may be an escape, others see it as a way out of the mundane – a place to engage with other cultures on one’s own terms.
Nothing is rigid in Asia – billions here are still trying to figure out their way. There is no “supposed to”. Every day is a new learning experience.
Instead of being asked “What are you doing”, you will be asked questions like “Where are you from?” You will immerse in seemingly innocuous interactions that will build up, and compel you to frequently assess your core principals.
Meeting like-minded people: as an expat in Asia you are free to be yourself. You won’t be judged for not conforming, and will earn respect by expressing yourself authentically. As you navigate, you will encounter many like-minded expats doing the same: artists, businesspeople, musicians, party organizers, spiritualists and dreamers. Ask around: many long-term expats will tell you that the years in Asia are the richest, most meaningful and fulfilling of their lives.
Cheaper and healthier food
American cities are built for cars, Asian cities are built for people. On Asian streets, good food is never far away: cheap and healthy street food, western-style supermarkets, local markets and tons of foreigner-friendly restaurants.
Losing weight in Asia is simple: eat local and limit alcohol intake. You will look younger, have more energy and save a load of cash.
Freedom from corporate propaganda
Immediately off the plane in Asia you become immune to ads, because you won’t understand any of them! After around six months, the effects of long-time immersion in western propaganda will start to wear off. Ad jingles will stop playing in your head. Your favorite TV shows will lose importance. You will decide what to eat on your own.
Roosh Vorek: “The result is you stop feeling the urge to buy things just to get a dopamine rush as if you were a caged rat hitting a lever to get a cocaine pellet. You ease into a minimalist lifestyle where accumulating things no longer positively affects your mood. In fact, you start feeling guilty when you buy things, because now you understand that objects don’t bring lasting happiness.”
If the benefits of expatriation connect, take action to make it happen, but be warned: whatever mental baggage you have will come with you.
Many strive for their dreams in Asia and fall hard. Some become homeless, others veer off the rails of sanity and some even get killed (Brits murdered on Thai beach, expats murdered in Asia, expats knifing expats).
Beyond the risks is the chance to immerse in waves of exponential possibility and find what you’re looking for.