The über entrepreneur-blogger Penelope Trunk, whose blog I read frantically, has Asperger Syndrome. What is Asperger Syndrome? According to Wikipedia, it is a form of autism and people with Asperger Syndrome show significant difficulties in social interaction. As far as I have heard, it sounds like the following: intellectually fast, socially slow.
In many cases, people with this syndrome might come across as a rude asshole who doesn't know how to, or even want to, read between the lines. But here is a quote from her latest post dealing with this subject: it does not work as an excuse to behave inappropriately, but it does offer a good insight into this syndrome.
People with Asperger Syndrome are dying to please everyone around them. People with Asperger Syndrome don’t want to stand out or be the center of attention. They just want to get along with people and have things run smoothly.
Although I do not have this syndrome (but might have a mild, mild version of autism), I can clearly identify with the above quote — as I recall my days at my elementary school desperately trying to "read the air" as if trying to read instructions on the wall written by an ink invisible only to me. In the process, I did (or didn't) many things in the wrong way and became an "exception" among classmates. It took a long time for me to accept unwanted attentions as outcast and turn it into my advantage.
My eccentricities continued to my first job, succumbed during my years at Japanese branch of US / Israeli company, and now in Taiwan, probably back on track a bit. Just like in my elementary school days, I am a "foreigner" who just doesn't know how to act properly, even after 5 years. Fortunately for me, the local friends accept me as who I am ( = just shrug their shoulders whenever I do something off-limit: "He is a foreigner" solves everything except world hunger). I might be a bit spoiled, but it is liberating to be myself and not be finger-pointed (too much).
For this reason, I will appreciate Taiwan and my friends I made here for the rest of my life.