This dissertation presents and discusses contemporary ideas of the white development-working expatriate, and the resulting every day conflicts between expatriates and locals in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. As the western presence of today is closely linked with its history of colonial rule, the mechanisms involved are not, and have never been neutral. Looking beyond development-related projects and beneficiaries, this dissertation explores and questions the cultural encounter as such, between the thirty western expatriates and their local colleagues, staff and neighbours, as they try to make themselves a home away from home in the war-ridden and Tamil-speaking north. The encounter requires skills to manoeuvre within new cultural patterns which entail both local notions of chastity and a shifting hierarchy. These are skills that are unevenly distributed among the expatriates, which results in misunderstandings and conflicts, both inside offices and during life after work hours. Vellaikarar, the white people , become the token white, who often struggle to overcome interpretations and expectations placed on them. These ready-made expectations, in reality, pressure the powerful western development-workers into employing an imperialistic leadership style and leading a segregated life after working hours. This dissertation deals, in particular, with the two seemingly contradictory interpretations of the white man in Jaffna: The Superior and The Uncivilized. These constructions are crucial to the Jaffna Tamils, as they are central in reinforcing their own cultural identity, in relation to the others .Fuelled by the exchange of stereotypes, this power relation is one of constant provocation where both groups work together as cogwheels, interacting and manipulating one another. However, as the relationship both locally and globally is one of mutual dependency, the conflict never escalates to an uncontrollable level: It remains hushed.