Ang Mo


The original ‘Ang Mo’.

I know racism is a boh liao topic but please just bear with me one last time. 🙂
First off, apologies in advance to non-Chinese/Hokkien readers. This entry will be written from a Chinese guy’s point of view so much of this entry might not be entirely comprehensible. Also for this entry only I shall use ‘we/us’ to refer to Chinese and ‘them’ to refer to Caucasians.
Its quite interesting to read the suggestions some commenters have come up with to replace the Hokkien word ‘Ang Mo’ for Caucasians. Its also interesting to note that no one have yet come up with a solution to call Caucasians without making references to their skin colour, their hair colour, or by calling them ghosts.

Try calling her gwei-lo. Or rather, gwei-lui.

I know the word ‘Ang Mo’ is not meant to be deragotory, and most Caucasians don’t mind being called ‘Ang Mo’ or ‘Pek Lang’ or ‘Gwei Lo’. After all, those are colloquial terms instilled in our mind since young. But colloquialism is not an excuse for racism.
Put it this way, how would you like to be called a ‘Yellow people’ or a ‘Ching-Chong-Chang’ when you’re overseas? I know I wouldn’t be very happy if a Caucasian were to call me a ‘Ching-Chong-Chang’ instead of an ‘Asian’. So how come when we call them ‘Ang Mo’ its ok because its colloquial, but when they call us ‘Yellow people’ we think its racist? Those words are similar what!
I don’t understand. We can call Dayaks ‘La Kia’, Indians ‘Kek Leng Nga’, and Malays ‘Hua Na’ (not the little girl Huang Na, ok). YET, there are NO words to call Caucasians or Africans without making references to their skin colours. What is wrong with us Chinese!? We’re even funny enough to call ourselves ‘Terng Lang’ when clearly we are not the longest people on this planet!
Actually I do have a body part that’s very long. But that’s besides the point.

Yao Ming. The original ‘Terng Lang’. The girl in the picture is Coco Lee. She’s the cousin of my balls, Coco Nuts.

There’s a few people who suggested that calling Caucasians ‘Ang Mo’ is not accurate. ‘Ang Mo’ literally means ‘red hair’ but Caucasians are mostly blonde or brunette. We should call them ‘Kim Mo’ (gold hair) or ‘Chocolate Mo’ (brown hair) respectively instead. Then again, looking at the number of people dying their hair these days, I think calling a Caucasian ‘Kim Mo’ is also no longer accurate.

Anita Sarawak is not an Ang Mo leh.

Jeff Yen suggested that instead of calling them ‘Ang Mo’, maybe we can be more specific by referring them to their nationality. So we avoid the skin colour issue by calling them American (Bee-kok lang), or British (Ying-kok lang), or Australian (Oh-jiu lang). Of course that wouldn’t work right? Everybody knows these countries are actually quite multi-racial. Just because someone is American, doesn’t mean the person is Caucasian.

Snoop Doggy Dog clearly is not Ang Mo.

So how?
Here’s where I propose a solution. We need to create a new word. Let’s put an end to Chinese people calling Caucasians by their hair or skin colour!
Notice how some Chinese words are created from English words?
Like how ‘Mahathir’ is 马哈迪(Ma Ha Di) and ‘George W Bush’ is 不死(Bu Si)?
Let’s just translate the word ‘Caucasian’ to Chinese then.
Caucasian = Kou Ke Xian = 口渴先= Thirsty First
Caucasian = Gou Gu Xian = 狗骨先= Fresh Dog Bones
Caucasian = Ku Gua Xian = 苦瓜仙= Bittergourd Angel
Ugh… hopeless. I think I’ll just stick to calling them ‘Ang Mo’ for the time being.
I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino’s black comedy Pulp Fiction.
I thought the scene where Samuel L Jackon’s character (a hired assassin) uttered out a passage from the Bible before opening fire on his victim was a classic. Its so grim yet so funny. I never took his character in the other his movies seriously since.
Like the one in Star Wars.
I can’t help it!

63 Replies to “Ang Mo”

  1. yo bro…i cant stop laughing when i read the phrase bout coco-nut cousin, coco lee.
    wat a joke….
    u miss out something lar.
    african is call Oh Lang(black ppl/human).
    Snoop Doggy dog is Oh Lang

  2. Palpatine would have just died at the sight of Samuel L Jackson’s afro hair. And that ridiculous ‘jambang’.

  3. Really…what’s in a name? Calling people by the names do not imply racism. I don’t really care if people call me a Chink. Its just a damn name…
    I think everybody should stop trying to be so politically correct calling people by ‘suitable’ names. Like ‘African Americans’…WTF?
    I’m Yellow. Some guys are Brown. Some are Black and some are White. So?? There are loads of other things to worry about besides giving people names that aren’t ‘derogatory’.

  4. Yet another funny post Kenny.
    Don’t forget the descriptions below too:
    banana – asian (yellow skin) but behaves/thinks like a caucasian (white inside)
    egg yolk – white person with asian behavior/thoughts/preferences. opposite of banana.
    Anyhow, sometimes it’s the tone that matters too. Saying Ang Mo in a derogatory manner is different from saying it as something you were ingrained with from young as just the term for caucasians.

  5. …> ” boh liao ” topic
    …> ” sii liao ” / ” mampus ” topic
    The Star Online > News > page 6
    Wednesday June 8, 2005
    Top scorers fail to get scholarships
    BUTTERWORTH: Two months ago, Ng Ee Liang, Desmond Chee and Teoh Wan Ying were feeling on top of the world when they each scored 13 1As and were named Penang’s top SPM scorers.
    But all their dreams and hopes came crashing down on Monday after finding out that their applications for Public Services Department (PSD) scholarships had been rejected.
    “I logged on to the Internet website five times and each time, the words ‘permohonan ditolak’ appeared. I called my father and a friend to countercheck and they confirmed the bad news.
    “People say boys don’t cry, but yesterday I cried my heart out,” said a dejected Ng, 18, in an interview yesterday.
    “I do not know what went wrong. I was active in sports and other extracurricular activities. I studied hard so that I could become a doctor.
    “There are 25 top scorers nationwide and I am in 14th position. All of us had lunch with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and received certificates from both the Prime Minister and Education Minister for our achievements.
    “Yet, the certificates do not seem to be able to support my scholarship application,” said the former student of Chung Ling High School, Butterworth.
    The boy said one of his schoolmates who scored 9As won a scholarship to South Korea to pursue an engineering course, while another with 10As had the chance to pursue a biotechnology course.
    “Besides Chee, Teoh and myself, other top students who were rejected included Pahang’s top student Khaw Chok Tong (who scored 12 1As) and Perlis’s top scorer Chew Ying Dee (who obtained 13 1As),” he said.
    Chee, a Form Six student at Penang Free School, also expressed his disappointment, saying he had expected a “favourable reply” from the PSD.
    “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor and was hoping to get a PSD scholarship. My father works as a technician and cannot afford to pay the high fees for medical studies,” he said.
    Teoh, from Penang Chinese Girls High School, expressed similar sentiments, saying that she had to pinch herself when she saw the PSD rejection.
    She said she wanted to take up a course in actuarial science and hoped to study either in Australia or Britain

  6. well, i actually got in numerous fights in the highschool here for ppl callin me a chink. but the point is, the ang mohs for the most part has done us wrong, they were our oppressors, we were their coolies and so forth,
    words like “nigger” or “chink” doesnt have much meanings by themself, but it is the intent behind it all, when a ang moh says “chink”, you KNOW it is out of malicious intent, so you ong bak the shit out of them, because for the last 2 generations of ang mohs, it has been imbedded into their teachings and cultures that saying such a thing is WRONG, it is a guilt trip for what their earlier generations has done to our earlier generations.
    but to us, we on the whole have never done anything apologetic to any ang mohs, in fact, the lesser of us still treats them as superior beings. so what’s it to a ang moh that we’re just reffering to them by their appearance ?
    when an ang moh says chink : the invasion of the imperial palace and the burning of yuen min yuen comes into mind, when a chinese says ang moh : bob wall and chuck norris is being beat shitless by bruce lee in a movie, now you tell me. which of the two scenario is more offensive ?
    btw, kenny ‘tern lang’ means “tang” people not “long” ppl, as in the most prosperous dynasty for the chinese :p

  7. i’m so gonna die of laughter… hahahaa~
    English Speaking Chinese aka Ang Mo Pai ppl are called jiat kan dang. (eat potato)
    so… Chinese Speaking ones should be called jiat han zhi. (eat sweet potato) lol~

  8. =.= guai lou is called ang mo because those days ang mo normally have red hair all over them la…not blonde, so kenot call them kim mo…aiyah kam mo or ang mo or lan mo! who give a f*ck?

  9. Hey kenny, im a lakia by default. I know how people feel when being mistreated by rules and policies or majority.
    i studied in St Joseph Miri..a school mostly dominated by rich chinese student. and wat do they call us lakia.. “an chang”… well, i cant blame them.. majority vote always take the lead. and i still prefer malai authority for their respect on individual.
    anyway, i do hope and pray to wateva god out there, so that tsunami would hit sarawak’s shore and wipe all its inhabitant. by then, all you racist out there, would realise that GOD, Nature, Universe or even aliens never distinguish all of us. To them, u r not chinese, ang mo, lakia , malai or keling.. ur just one sick puny human being, complaining, whining and making excuses for our failure in life.
    Come on lar dude.. grow up.. opportunities is every where. why do u lay ur fate upon gahmen or ur bos.. be a man.. get a grip!
    My chinese country man called me names.. but it doesnt pull me down. my gahmen have stupid policies such as .. i cannot get land title or ownership for my own ancestor land.. but heck.. it doesnt pull me down.. and if my generation fail to live successfully of happily.. its their freaking fault. life is not easy, but im as a an chang orang gua take it as it is.
    Kenny.. ur are one gud hearted man. i enjoy ur story. keep it up! No hard feeling k!

  10. Wah lau eh….again did it again…another funny topic been post about Racism. Ehh….i sure dun like ang mo i see there…or maybe is it the effect of “YODA”?

  11. except for that little glitch wid “THAT” topic, i love reading ur posts. they cheer me up immensely. thank you!

  12. I think it all comes back to the purpose or motive of the person as he called someone. He can use a politically corect word, for instance: ‘African American’ (real dunb-ass name) but if it sound like he called that person, ‘Nigger’ it sure defeat the purpose, doesn’t it?

  13. OOOO i figured out a reason why the caucasians are called ANGMO!
    the “mo” was in reference to their body hair, and not the hair on their heads. it’s rather brown right? Well in the olden days, brown or chocolate is probably not a umm.. acknowledged color? my hokkien vocabulary is very limited, but i don’t think they have a word for Brown. hence they replace it with the nearest color, which is “ang” for red.
    what do u think?

  14. Hey dude, great post, actually racism exist every where in many form. 20 some years ago, when there weren’t many Foochow’s in Kuching. Kuchingites would go: “kaliew khing khwang” when they see Foochows. which is similar to white thrash yelling “Ching Chong Ching Chong” when they see Asians.

  15. >>We’re even funny enough to call >>ourselves ‘Terng Lang’ when clearly we are not >>the longest people on this planet!
    haha..i rmbr asking my grandma this question many many moons before…she said the ‘terng’ is referring to the meaning of “taking advantage of others”…pl don’t bash me…i also chinese
    >>Actually I do have a body part that’s very >>long. But that’s besides the point.
    wah…self advertising arh?

  16. Finally! After 6 nights, I finally finished reading everything here. I had to control my laughter as everyone in my household is already asleep whenever I read your blog. You sure bring out the laughter in me. Not every blog I’ve seen (so far) can be compared to yours.
    Keep up the good work! I’ve learnt alot of interesting things in here.

  17. No man is an island, but some men have pretty long peninsulars…. and perhaps you’re one of them? But you don’t even live in Malaysia Peninsular!
    And Samuel L Jackson’s hairstyle looks dumb in Pulp Fiction… and in other movies too!
    “Say “WHAT” again! I dare you, you muthafucker!”

  18. There was this one incident, a number of us, mostly white were in some casual discussion and the topic of racism came out. This particular white in attempting to come clean of racism, claiming that he has many non-white friends, not only that he never used racial slur and to further prove his innocence, he went by saying the he loves Chinese, sushi, Thai and Indian foods. What is wrong with this rationale? I suspect subconsciously this is where Kenny is walking into; “see, I do it to kuao-lo and in fact I’m doing it to everyone and I’m not singling out anyone, how could I be a racist?” The truth is that kuao-lo and other local colloquial terms are said with some degree of affection, none of those hidden degratory undertone associated with “niger” or “chin-chong-chang”.
    My real dilemma is that I rather have a racist calling me the exact slur he/she has in mind, this way you can see it coming miles away as it is written right on the forehead. It may hurt but at least there is not hidden agenda. These days because of political correctness, all racist agenda are now coded as if it is the next trendy thing to have. “New Economic Policy” for example, “new” is good as it reinforce the positive-ness, “policy” is good as well as it implies there is actually a plan. Bottom line is that the legislated racist policy as a nation against all other races, except the Malay. It would be similar to the “New American Policy” by the KKK.

  19. suggestion about the caucasian translation… call it “Kaou Ka Chieng” (read it in Hokkien).. means Dog’s Ass!!! Hahahaha!

  20. I replied to all 75 comments in my previous post!
    Curtis G, hey I enjoy giving out Chinese names! Anyway in Chinese, “8-inch penis” is called “Su Ku Kia”. But I doubt you can pick up any Chinese girls when you go “Hi! My name is Su Ku Kia.” Chinese girls aren’t used to that kind of straight forwardness you know?
    Vincent + Pope, you know what? I actually agree with you. Its the ideal situation. If everyone in the world thinks that way, we would have world peace. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world thinks like us. political correctness is getting to the point of ridiculousness. At least its not that bad in Malaysia. In highschool I was taught ‘salesperson’ and not ‘salesmen’. Later in Uni, I was involved in student activism where ‘women’ are called ‘womyn’ (because ‘women’ has the word ‘men’ in it). Its bad, but there’s always that someone out there who do not appreciate being called a disabled faggoty dyke negro drug-addict whore, eventhough it maybe 100% true. And so we cater for them. And so all the mumbo-jumbo names about having to replace colloquial terms with something else. Don’t get me wrong, its not my agenda. I’m still gonna call them ang moh. 🙂
    Jin, you ong-bak the shit out of them. eeks! I used to work in Perth where half the employees there are Asians and the other half are Caucasians. The caucasians use words like ‘Ching Chong product’ to describe Made In China product, and the asians always laugh at the caucasians for not being able to pronounce chinese words like “Chow Mein” (they pronounce it “Shao Meen”). Its very politically-incorrect, and all’s good fun and there never was any malicious intent behind it.
    Mengz, I know. 🙂
    Fer, Samuel L Jackson is so damn cool mannnn!
    gracie, I was told once that using ABC to describe Australian/American Born Chinese is bad. It has connotations that these kids don’t know how to speak Chinese and can only speak ABC.
    cccc, errr… thanks for spamming.
    Jonathan, great to have your support. 😀
    sandkan, oh dear. I’ve been compared to maddox, xiaxue, jeff ooi, and now hanzismatter? someone please say kennysia is original leh.
    dudester. cool is the right word to use.
    sassyjan, JIAT HAN ZHI! HEH!
    neurotica, how are you doing now?
    kahsoon, wtf? did you just say LAN MO?
    Chrissie, yeah. 🙂
    eediot, no offense taken. i just hope that tsunami doesn’t wipe me out. That would mean no more… Oh no!
    Jordan, what yoda?
    cheneille, hey that makes sense!
    ener, Ah Thong?! Never heard of it, but cute none the less.
    Scarlett Ching Chong Chang, really?
    mrkiasi, there are Indian ppl reading this blog you know? 🙂
    Cindy + barffie, oh yeahhh…! Damn! I forgot all about it. So how do you translate Yang Ren into Hokkien? Yang Ren = Goat Ppl = Mek Mek Lang?
    NSDS3, we shall think of that later.
    ct, i agree wholeheartedly. Its the intent.
    copyninja, we should call them “chunks”.
    vanessa, i think bryan sounds nicer too. 🙂
    e, really? That’s bad. Next time when you see a Hakka, make sure you say “Ngai TEEEEEEEEEE”
    Jade, growing up I always thought terng lang means long people. Its only when I start taking History in high school that I go, ohhhhhhh….
    Daniel, six nights to read my archives?! gee. thanks for the support!
    romantic, hahahaa! yaloh! What’s with Chinese and ghosts?!
    JY, I think Samuel L Jackson knows his hairstyle is bad. That’s why he went botak in Star Wars. Haha!
    aunty, thanks for the advice. Going to sleep liawwww.
    Funny Idea, you got funny idea sia!

  21. Chinese call those ang mo as ang mo bcz back to the long emporer century,when those ang mo first step to china,bcz thier look are different wf us chinese,so chinese think that they r ghost,with very white skin,coloured pupils,tall.big sizes(no matter which part)…so mayb this kinda tradition term is pass forward to the next generation till now,so i think thats y we still call them ang mo or gwei lo..

  22. Chinese call those ang mo as ang mo bcz back to the long emporer century,when those ang mo first step to china,bcz thier look are different wf us chinese,so chinese think that they r ghost,with very white skin,coloured pupils,tall.big sizes(no matter which part)…so mayb this kinda tradition term is pass forward to the next generation till now,so i think thats y we still call them ang mo or gwei lo..

  23. keh leng nga or kelinga
    is hokkien for indians.
    one of my indian friends doesn’t like me to use kelinga because she said kelinga is deragotory. it’s because of the word ‘keling’. but then i wonder how then on earth do we refer to indians in hokkien if not for kelinga?? kelinga is hokkien for indians and we don’t mean it in deragotry way at all… it’s just a name. what else can we use for indians then, if not kelinga? or phor? (black skinned). that would be worst.
    stupid people lah. we use it as a word only, we don’t mean anything and yet they get all mad.

  24. Ho Kenny, love your blog. Keep up the good work! (sure u have heard this upteen times liao)
    My Hokkien tak pass, but I was told by my Malay friend Huan Nah is also racist. Huan means wild as in uncivil. Is that true?

  25. Hi Kenny, love your blog. Keep up the good work! (sure u have heard this upteen times liao)
    My Hokkien tak pass, but I was told by my Malay friend Huan Nah is also racist. Huan means wild as in uncivil. Is that true?

  26. LOL..seems that I wrote a post of my blog on the exact same topic as yours on the same day…however, mine, of course, isn’t as colourful as yours =P

  27. *passes out from laughing too much*
    kenny, kenny… sometimes i wonder why am i surrounded with such crappy characters as you. ah well. at least you make me laugh. MUAHAHAHA..
    well-written piece. aiya ang mo lang, oh jiu lang, bee kok lang, terng lang, oh lang, liaw liaw pun si lang – ane mahuan ai categorize chomik? heh.

  28. Hey Dude, on this subject, you know Asians here in the States many be in Autralia too.. get all bent out of shape when they are refered as “oriental” but back in Asia, we often refer our self as “Oriental people”東方人.

  29. yknow, that’s one of my favourite scenes from the movie, along with the jack rabbit slims twist contest, and subsequent OD scene 😛
    Oooh ooh and the gimp!
    and blueberry pie!
    everybody be cool this is a robbery!!
    (sorry, getting fangirl-ish, it’s my favourite movie)

  30. Wah lau!!!! Your literal translation of ‘Caucasian’ seriously cracked me up!! Thank god there’s no one in the office right now……..
    Hmmm well I guess in a sense you can’t generalise all blondes, brunettes and what-have-you into one BIG category called the Caucasians as well what. Even Asians also got difference one hor!!!

  31. whats in a name really? i’m a caucasian in singapore and i don’t mind ppl calling me ang moh, what annoys me is the fact that they have to stare me up and down as if they’ve never seen caucasian actresses onscreen.
    but i digress. how the person says ang moh is more of a concern than the term itself. it depends on the individual, and since one cannot control others, its just best to let it go.
    oh, i much prefer being called matsaleh as compared to ang moh. its the same thing, but nicer on the ears as compared to the latter.
    but a great entry anyways. as always.

  32. great blog.
    i love ur comments. was showing my ang mo husband the reason why I call him ang mo.
    sad to say he is not going to talk ot me for the next couple of days.

  33. Kenny, your post sure rages the fire in all those m’lysian gals huh? Dude, it’s only a comment, take it easy, what’s the use of comparing both sides? If you’re good, surely there are ppl who will praise you, if you’re not, by saying thousands or millions of words to defame other party is not an effective way at all~~cheers!

  34. Kenny, your post sure rages the fire in all those m’lysian gals huh? Dude, it’s only a comment, take it easy, what’s the use of comparing both sides? If you’re good, surely there are ppl who will praise you, if you’re not, by saying thousands or millions of words to defame other party is not an effective way at all~~cheers!

  35. better don’t marry now!!! there will be plentiful of foreign people coming to singapore.See today news (monday21) What Prime misinster has said so telents are coming here.YOU got much more better choice to select gs. now,, singapore gs I see has also changed their ways of looking for man…. so why so hurry???please take a sit and wait for good news! has bad news too!!

  36. My classmate used to call me Chinese girl as I was the only one in the whole class. I hated it because he said it like it was one big mistake being chinese. I wouldn’t like being anything but. So just back off.

  37. Hi there… I’m an orang ulu who doesn’t live in ulu. It’s amazing i just found your blog out of curiosity to know what exactly the word lakia means. I’ve had some not-so-good experiences with chinese foochows (forgive me,it’s with them everytime)For instance, a foochow old man who sat next to me on a plane (twin otter) accused me (saying “zhe lakia mo !@#$%^&* in foochow”) of bringing durians on board. So i really dislike to hear this word. I’m sorry i think it sounds racist…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *