Rice is good! My favorite is jasmine rice.
I noted that you say your GERD is getting worse. I'm glad you're going to see a GI on Monday.
There are so many variables with respect to esophageal damage. The degree of reflux, length of time condition has been present, individual variances in thickness of esophagus, etc. As you say, someone may go years, while another individual may have another experience. When you say sore throat, this indicates LPR, which is a special complication of GERD.
Since there is a discussion of natural remedies here, and you ARE also seeking medical attention, I will offer something else you may not have heard of, and I had some success with. It's Manuka honey. (I was a professional singer before GERD, and have used this for a long time.) It has strong anti-fungal anti-bacterial properties, and may offer some help with gastric complaints, such as gastritis. I can tell you this for certain: I use a 1/4 tsp. most evenings, and after I started this regimen, the plaque on my teeth virtually disappeared. My dental hygienist noticed this, as I used to have a real problem with this. This has also been replicated with a friend I recommended this to as well.
Manuka hasn't been on the market long enough for there to be a good standard for quality. Wedderspoon, available through Amazon, is the best. Y.S. Bee Farms, through The Vitamin Shoppe, has quality control issues.
Your question about how reflux is treated in Asia is interesting, although I've never run across anything specific here.