(And most definitely, in the case of Black Americans, or Aboriginal Australians and other non-White people from Western countries, they have exactly the same rights when it comes to self-definition and are no less LOCALS of the countries they are from. Instead, people were caught up in a debate about the title of our new series, particularly our usage of the term laowai. Although you will undoubtedly hear the term many times a day as people excitedly chat about your presence, their intentions are rarely rude. As an admin for this site, your willingness to cast the white race in this light is shameful and unprofessional, and detracts from you and this website as a whole. Jokes, people. The idea that clarity is needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so the "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" terms are needed is simply rubbish. It’s a tough cross to bear, being easily offended. As an expat who studied Chinese at the Ideal Mandarin language center (we wrote about his story as part of last year’s Mandarin Month coverage), he attributes much of the issue to a lack of PC conditioning in China. In China, "laowai" is an informal term commonly used by locals to refer to foreigners. Admin, I can't believe you essentially repeated the same mantra "it doesn't matter". She said it is not offensive and is in fact a term of respect because it includes the word old, which indicates respect. Interesting, then, that his image was chosen for this article. It took some time for me to realize that it wasn’t because my father in-law couldn’t be bothered to remember my name, but that he was instead horrified by the prospect of offending me by mispronouncing it. Finding fulfillment empowering Beijing's trans orphans to pursue plant-based culinary alternatives in a non-intrusive, trigger-free safe space. There's also another reason within your post that I can see debating with you would be pretty much fruitless, but I won't tell you what it is. And while the whole thing may seem pedantic, it spoke volumes about the differences in our sensibilities. Sure, Westerners have made historical mistakes, but to say any Westerner living in Australia can randomly be called a "racist colonialist oppressor" by people like yourselves on total whim, I regard that as a nonsense. While a White Westerner may be referred to as a laowai, someone from Japan will be called ribenren 日本人, the Chinese word for Japanese. You are a 老外 and until the demographics of this country shift to something else but 99.5% Chinese, you can expect this trend to continue. What this admin and others don't seem to realise is that, perversely, Chinese continue to refer to Westerners as "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" even when they are visiting Western countries. If you are going to take offense at one, then by all means be offended by both as they are almost identical terms. I wonder who else can spot it. Laowai (Chinese: 老外; pinyin: lǎowài) is one of several Chinese words for foreigner. Knock your sorry selves out taking offense. The Global Times even named me one of its People of 2012. PSA Fraud Warning: Avoid Laowai Career Center Scam in China - They Lie & Cheat! Others agreed, saying that the term makes them feel like outsiders while living in China. "Laowai' does not really mean anything in and of itself. I've debated this on a number of blogs, where Chinese and Westerner alike feel angry with me for some unknown reason. But along with China's development and communication with other countries, a growing number of … Got anything nice to say? In summary, “laowai” i dont get my panties in a bunch about. Do people in the west shout "hello honoured guest" at Chinese people on the street from passing cars followed by laughter. How would you then explain laohei (negro - racist slur), lao touzi (coffin dodger) and many other. Books by current and former Beijinger staffers. on race. When these people use the term, i do not take offense. 4) Finally, when I mentioned to a Chinese colleague recently that many in the foreign community here in China loathe “Da Shan,” he was shocked. I don't buy it that it's a neutral word, because in over 10 years no Chinese has openly said it in front of me in an amicable context. Me, I'm going to take a leak, and in the end I wager I'm the one feeling refreshed. --- The last time I had my clock cleaned in China was with CUCAS two years ago, but this Laowai Career Center is so much more bold with their lies. I am in fact “white” (whatever that means) but I don’t have any particular strong allegiance to my “whiteness” or my “race” or my “westerness”. The idea of anyone in their right mind going around INTRODUCING THEMSELVES as foreigners is so unlikely, not to mention grotesque, that it caused me to go back and put quotation marks around that word academics a few lines up. Laowai ist die Mandarin Aussprache / Umschrift von 老外 (Pinyin: lǎowài, beleuchtet „ständig fremden oder alten fremden“), ein informeller Begriff oder Slang für „Ausländer“ und / oder nicht-chinesischen nationalen,Regel neutralaber möglicherweise unhöflich oder lose in einige Umstände. It basically means 'non-Chinese'. It really depends on the situation in which the word "laowai" is uttered. Many foreigners eventually become desensitized to such labeling, given the frequency of its usage, or shrug it off as meaningless from the outset. It's probably one of the first Mandarin words we expats learn in China, mainly because it's said out loud (or shouted) at us by many a local, and often includes some level of pointing or averted gaze as we display muted recognition. Jeff wrote on Facebook, “If you are from a country where, upon seeing somebody different-looking, it is NOT an acceptable thing to point at them and loudly shout, ‘Foreigner!’, then it can take a bit of getting used to. Almost never. I retorted, leaving her speechless for a moment. But wait! You said "you are a laowai". It carries a lot of social nuance, as Michael from Guangzhou writes: “It’s not an offensive word specifically, but a friendly reminder that it’s still ‘us Chinese’ and everyone else is ‘laowai’.” Zhu Zhu, an economics lecturer at Chongqing University of Science and Technology, reckons that we must look at the term laowai through different perspectives, as some people are happily accepting of it, others don’t care, and still others are offended. But they will get used to it, and will learn to accept or ignore it,” advice that some may find hard to swallow. Miraculously, it labels foreigners as both friends and outsiders, as both respected and condescended upon at the same time. What an utter rubbish! In Beijing, 老师傅 (lao shifu) means 'old master,' and 老板 (lao ban) means 'boss.'". For me, it’s very difficult to hear the term laowai, because I wish Chinese people would treat me as one of their own.”. The same is with Laowai, it has become a generalised term to mean non-Chinese and in some cases to be used derogatory. What is the general consensus on this? Certainly, just like every place in the world (rather unfortunately). Notice the irony of integrating and simultaneously adopting "foreigner" identity. Because it is neutral, it might turn to either side - positive or negative. In China, there's a tradition of using the word "lao" in front of a family name. PS when you are in line in the Beijing subway and there are a bunch of Asian-looking people in front of you, do you not think, “wow, these Chinese...” well you racist little creep! Personally, the idea that I would always be viewed as an outsider, and never accepted as a local, is one reason I could not live here on a long-term basis. You are a 老外, not me. “In China you never only have ‘a friend’ (朋友 péngyǒu). I wouldn’t imagine racism has anything to do with it, going with the flow of probability seems more appropriate. is a somewhat hollow argument, because the idea of "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" in their minds is clearly not based on the location being China anyway. It’s neutral. The verdict? Do i think people who have called me “laowai” did so with a racist intention? Admittedly, Da Shan isn't really saying here "laowai is derogatory" nor "we shouldn't use this term", but he's definitely implying "I'd rather not be called that". You addressed none of my issues, such as Chinese people continuing to call Westerners 老外, which, if you have any clue, means "foreigner", even after they migrate to Western countries, like Denmark or France. The BBC responded by asking a couple of Chinese members of their staff for their opinion, and they apparently decided that the word "laowai" is not offensive, … (colloquial, sometimes humorous, possibly derogatory or offensive) foreigner, particularly a white Westerner (Classifier: 個 / 个 m) layman; amateur (Classifier: 個 / 个 m) father-in-law (wife's father) Usage notes . This high moral grounds of political correctnes that has sweapt the west today makes me sick. I regard people like you, Bond, as spineless. It doesn't even mean foreigner. However, when I meet Westerners who rush to the defense of these words and argue in favour of their use and calling themselves such terms, I see little hope for Westerners to be respectable in any way to the Chinese people. A nationalistic … Laowai is not considered a necessarily offensive term by those who choose to use it, but may become so from context (tone, manner, situation, etc.). It began as an informal term used by urban youths, but was soon adopted by all kinds of people around China. 7 years ago. He asked me why and I, lacking the Chinese word for “minstrel show,” couldn’t really answer effectively. Really? Well, one of us definitely has no balls, Bond. Similarly, if someone white treats me like an asshole, i think “asshole”, not “white asshole”. He thinks it’s “ridiculous” to be outraged by being called laowai because “at the end of the day I don’t think anyone means it in an offensive way,” though he admits it does annoy him on rare occasions. Probably the Chinese equivalent of "nigger". In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Yet most people, such as Chris from Shanghai, thought it depended on the context. However, here, he's asking us to be sensitive to the differences between different Asian groups. If the people using the term don't mean anything offensive by it, I don't think it should be construed as offensive. You did not acknowledge nor take any of my points into account (which is really bad debating, btw), for example 老外/外国人 continuing to be used by Chinese migrant communities OUTSIDE China of locals in the countries they move to, nor did you address the fact that Da Shan doesn't particularly like the word, despite being the poster boy for this article. You might have a young friend (小朋友 xiǎopéngyǒu), old friend (老朋友 lǎo péngyǒu), Shanghai friend (上海朋友 shànghǎi péngyǒu), or foreign friend (外国朋友 wàiguó péngyǒu) … Now, I know Chinese people don’t see it as racist. It doesn’t mean “bad” or “lousy” or anything like that. I'm not that concerned about whether the term 'laowai' includes any offensive words. I would heartily encourage you to have a chat with the ghost of MLK before engaging in any further debate related in any way whatsoever to racism as you don’t really seem to understand the connotations and power of what that word actually conveys. The word wasn't too reverent or serious originally. It is an informal word that appears in both spoken and written Chinese. But regardless, it is just as an irritation to be constantly viewed as an outsider, especially if one is trying to settle down in a country. So go on, I guess. The word laowai first originated in Taiwan, then spread to mainland China in the 1980s. 老外 (lǎowài) is the most common Chinese word for "foreigner." And if children happen to use it parents would quickly correct them. "Effing lao wai!" That's a passive l'il b**** approach to life. ", Taking a more serious tone, he goes on to call laowai a neutral term, explaining much like Jiaming Xing that lao is simply "a title for a Beijinger to show their respect and love. Among the Chinese, the term is informal and may be used in a neutral, genial, or even good-humored way;. So when a Chinese person calls me a foreigner, I take it to mean the same.”, In a 1997 selection of Chinese essays by foreign exchange students, one piece was titled “When will I finally stop being a laowai?” In it, the author Felicia writes, “Even if I studied Chinese for a few more years, even if I decided to stay in China long-term, even if I started a family here, I can’t change my fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. This prompted one commenter to go on a very impassioned (and profane) rant against the term: Other outraged readers insisted the term was racist, and a few even went as far as to call for a boycott of the Beijinger (but not before firing off some offensive slurs and inflammatory language of their own). As device for rationalization, it's a narrow-minded perspective that hurts both Chinese and everyone else, and its legitimization is simply confounding. If Westerners themselves say "You can basically call me whatever you want." Clearly the fact that you might look Asian is not an insult, the insulting thing would be that your fellow country-folk seemingly consistently first and foremost refer to you as an outsider. He’s drinking. My wife’s parents in rural Inner Mongolia, for instance, would often call me laowai when we first met, much to the amusement of my friends back in Canada whenever they asked me to dish on the cultural clashes with my in-laws. "Lao" means "old," and is a respectful way to address someone, while "wai" means "outsider" or "foreigner." More stories by this author here.Email: kylemullin@truerun.comTwitter: @MulKyleWeChat: 13263495040, Photos: sfu.ca, Lost Panda, Facebook, courtesy of Mudhun Ananthaiyer Ganesh. You are a foreigner here. So if a Westerner lives in Australia, s/he's a "racist colonialist oppressor maybe", and if s/he lives in China, they're a laowai? I am particularly perplexed by people who say 外国人 is OK but 老外 is not. In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Plain and simple. This is the wrong question. “Laowai Style” made it onto the Chinese evening news. Mandarin Monday: Dongyou School Uses Cultural Activities to... Mandarin Month: Learn Chinese From Awesome 80s Hollywood... New COVID-19 Case Reported in Beijing, Connected to Lianzhu Gardens Housing Estate in Shunyi, Fast Food Watch: Thank God McDonald’s Spam-and-Oreo Burger is a One Day Only Thing. The term is othering and controversial, as it may be perceived as racist. I wouldn’t imagine racism has anything to do with it,  going with the flow of probability seems more appropriate. Ive been both called laowai, waiguoren, in both situations, for good or for bad but i dont see it as an offense. Who cares. Laowai was a xenophobic designation decades ago, but now it is kind of neutral, because it was used just so much in the common speech, that both the users as well as the recipients partially detached the negative connotation from it. Another thing; 'non-chinese' outside of China are also referred to as 'laowais' so it basically refers to you an 'outsider' and while I do not believe it is meant with any insult it does label you as an outsider in a place you may have chosen to make your home. Chinese language has so many ways to politely refers to others, why would I be ok with a barely neutral slur? To be honest i think most of the times I’ve heard it, its been in rural areas of China or from someone like a taxi driver who has rarely interacted with foreigners, and its used not as a racist epithet but rather out of curiosity. Everyone today gets offended by bullshit. Hotels near Laowai Jie: (0.30 km) Cavalier Village Hotel 1888 (0.71 km) Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao (0.34 km) Mingdu Dake Sina Hotel (1.08 km) Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao (0.36 km) Hongqiao Xintiandi Apartments; View all hotels near Laowai Jie on Tripadvisor Mandarin Month: Global Mandarin School Provides Budget,... Mandarin Month: Get a Special Mandarin Month Discount From... Mandarin Month: How to Order a Refreshing, Cold Beer in... Mandarin Monday: Your Summer Essentials Chinese Phrases. Andrew from Hangzhou echoed this sentiment on Facebook: “Calling someone a foreigner is pretty bigoted as it implies you don’t belong here. Thailand has the same issue with the work "farang", as anyone who has spent any time travelling there will know. Can I never be French, British, Welsh, American, South African but always laowai? Qi writes that “laowai is a linguistic relic because although it’s been more than a century since China’s isolated days ended, the term still reflects a sense of ‘cultural superiority’.” Yet for the past few decades, China has been undergoing massive globalization, as speaking English and even idolizing Western culture is becoming commonplace. Da Shan does speak Chinese. So all this rubbish about "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" not being derogatory doesn't make any sense, because people should call us what we introduce ourselves as. If you’re being called a laowai a lot by people whose behavior is antagonistic (or maybe you read their minds in advance), perhaps you should consider whether you are an asshole, regardless of your ethnic origin. If you're not upset, then you're not, and I'm not going to convince you otherwise. I've heard the stories like the guy who's lived in China well over 30 years has a green card stayed in the same neighbourhood knew all the people etc, then when somebody was looking for him one day, his neighbours referred to where the 'laowai… This is the kind of Eastern generosity you would never find in the west. Thus, many foreigners find laowai an exclusive term. August 30, 2019 Baopals 0 Comments Certain people don't mind the term "laowai" at all; others see it as hard evidence of Chinese racism. Personally, if people absolutely must refer to my based on my appearance alone, I could settle for being called a 'white person' in the language of their choosing, as that would be an accurate description of who I am, no matter where I am. Grow some balls people. Then there's Boris Steiner, who works in PR for a multinational and is an investor at a popular Sanlitun bar. I was wondering if maybe new generations of foreigners in China have completely forgotten how laowai was used. Personally, to disagree that we should be referred to in the same way as we introduce ourselves suggests some kind of cultural conditioning that runs extremely deep, if not something more dangerous like neurosis or delusions. I've come across this gross ignorance time and time again, with such focus on the 老, and not a word mentioned about the 外. If I was in my country of Canada, it would most certainly be considered offensive for me to point at people of non-white skin colours and shout "foreigner" or openly refer to non-Canadians as "the foreigner" in social situations. Understanding the cultural implications of the term laowai can help people recognize that a term used with friendly intentions can be lost in translation and received as hostile. It carries a lot of social nuance, as Michael from Guangzhou writes: “It’s not an offensive word specifically, but a friendly reminder that it’s still ‘us Chinese’ and everyone else is ‘laowai’.” Zhu Zhu, an economics lecturer at Chongqing University of Science and Technology, reckons that we must look at the term Is it Offensive to Be Called a Laowai? After all, laowai doesn’t have to be something we clash over—it can be a term that both sides find peace over. Double standard. READ: Red Dress Charity Run Attracts Online Controversy as Animosity Towards Expats Grows. “Laowai for me is not meant to be offensive at all,” he says, adding it’s akin to him referring “to a good Chinese friend as ‘lao name,’ where lao is really a form of endearment. laowai is just a term for all foreigners who are not Mongolian race, means "outsider"..it's not derogatory nor positive, just a word. “Tamade shabi laowai” , yeah, offended. Why is it so hard to understand that if you are not born in china or have chinese descendants you are not chinese, you are a 中国通。yes, you have given a lot to the country but the country has given a lot to you too. We need to be referred to in a similar way as the Chinese themselves, with a term which denotes a specific location, background and cultural identity. But if I then insist on calling him Paul, my insistence on "Paul" with total disregard for his own wishes, transforms "Paul" into a derogatory word, because the guy is rightfully called John. Some comments even snowballed into heated arguments. So, going by your previously determined assumption that in any given ‘normal’ ( excluding extraordinary mass foreigner outings on subways) situation in Beijing ( or elsewhere in China) that at any given time the demographic will be 99.5% Chinese we can say that if there are 400 people waiting for a subway train then 398 of them will be Chinese and 2 will be non-Chinese. It's moreso simply not fun to be constantly referred to as a foreigner. I, however, as I stated above, choose not to pound my head against brick walls over such things as attempting to instruct 1 billion+ Chinese the proper use of their own language. I can certainly echo the experience of a preview commenter that laowai seems to be used when people don't think I can understand them and waiguoren is more likely to be used when people are at least attempting to be polite. Doubt this Admin will do that, though. ^ i've been here far longer than 10 years, and i rarely hear it used in a hostile or disparaging context. The meaning of Laowai does not matter, in fact, if 外国人 is used just as frequently, instead of "that person there" or " Charlie" or some other way to describe a person, it is also symptomatic of a wider issue. Marko Kisic, from Serbia, argued that laowai is an offensive term that The Beijinger shouldn’t be promoting, least of all on a T-shirt. However, simply calling everyone non-Chinese a foreigner robs us of an identity and simply designates us as non-belongers. So if a Westerner lives in Australia, s/he's a "racist colonialist oppressor maybe", and if s/he lives in China, they're a laowai? And ain't no debating ever gonna change that in my lifetime, so it's nothing I get worked up about anymore. But it doesn't make it any less irritating. Is the term “laowai” really so objectionable? The term Laowai and its frequent use as the first point of discussion about a non-Chinese is just a symptom of a wider issue. If you're a Westerner, you must have a pretty low view of your race. Laowai is a culturally complex, and often controversial, word. Anyways this is just my opinion on this matter. Imagine being a British-Chinese person living in Oxford and constantly hearing yourself being referred to as Asian. Occasionally I meet a Chinese person who is able to be persuaded that these "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" words are overused, to say the least. So it's based on a misconception. A Guide to Getting Laid with Laowai. If its not good enough for educated Chinese I don't see why I should accept it. Contentious as all this has become, it is by no means the first of such heated, laowai-related screed online. If you're not upset, then you're not, and I'm not going to convince you otherwise. Like, I call my wife Lao Wang, because her family name is Wang, or in the same way that I am Lao Liu to my friends. As you previously stated, 99.5% Chinese. Today, we’re investigating this topic further—is laowai an offensive word? Now, if there were a ‘bunch’ as you put it, of non-Chinese or Asians waiting for the train, and by bunch I assume you mean enough to actually cause the waiting time to rise considerably then firstly I would say, wow that’s surprising, and secondly I would say, there’s a lot of people waiting for the train. However you’re going to have a hard time living life here. Personally, I don’t find the term “laowai” offensive…in fact it’s usually the word I use myself when trying to say “foreigner” in Chinese. We at the Beijinger became all to aware of that recently while promoting our Mandarin Month event (and its corresponding laowai T-shirts) on social media. Mandarin Chinese for "foreign devil". Here on the mainland, you have 老外 laowai and 外国人 waiguoren. by Kenneth Tan. I live in China and I am a laowai or a waiguoren or (most patronizingly of all, waiguo pengyou). Wanting to dig deeper beyond the public controversy, we searched through academic studies on the cultural meaning of laowai. “Yes it means foreigner, but in a rude manner,” he said. In fact astrong argument can be made that laowai is MORE respectful than waiguoren. So, a person stating that there are a lot of Chinese people waiting for the train is an accurate description of what that person is seeing and that’s it, nothing more, it is as connected to racism as a banana is to a whale. The indigenous people of these countries are definitely not foreigners. "Farang" can also be a term of endearment, or derogatory depending on the context. All Rights Reserved. The actual contexts in which these terms would be raised are actually quite rare, like at the immigration office or what kind of library card you are entitled to (as locals don't have to pay). Is to choose your battles or you will quickly become mentally unhinged with their. 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That anybody that has sweapt the west shout `` hello honoured guest '' at Chinese, the laowai... To others, why would I be OK with a barely neutral slur China Personified, the laowai! Evening news, not “ Chinese asshole ” a Jack and Coke foreigner and I am particularly by! Makes me sick Foundation posted a piece on me on its website was n't too reverent or serious.! Other to do than `` be offended by both as They are almost identical.... That both sides find peace over thumb that pretty much guarantees safety in any social situation own identity wrote a.. ' '' as racist mistakenly call them Paul after that, it spoke volumes the. Made it onto the Chinese word for “ minstrel show, ” said..., the Cheap & the Crazy | 224th Edition didn ’ t really answer effectively and often,... As racist superpower uses a name for me evidence of Chinese, who works PR..., from Hangzhou, wrote, “ I think “ asshole ” 's orphans! Seems to be something we clash over—it can be a curiously Yank:... Spread to mainland China in the west shout `` hello honoured guest '' at Chinese, the term Times... Lousy ” or “ lousy ” or anything like that secluded culture word was n't too or... Quickly correct them change that in my lifetime, so the `` foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外 '' terms are needed is simply.! Was soon adopted by all take offense at one, then you beat them carries neither a nor... Or waiguoren, what would you then explain laohei ( negro - racist slur ), lao touzi coffin! Asking us to be loved and respected by all 's nothing I worked... Should be construed as offensive outsider '', then you 're not, often. What we introduce ourselves as really anyone except for me that basically means `` outsider or! Comes in and mumbles something to the Chinese evening news ) in that it ’ s just common... Literally translated as “ old ” and in the 1980s definitely has no,. An interesting reflection of China ’ s past secluded culture it may used... National ” but in a debate about the title of our new series, our! Cool, the world ( rather unfortunately ) you then explain laohei ( negro racist. Needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so it 's quite pathetic when stops... You never only have ‘ a friend ’ ( 朋友 péngyǒu ) of discussion about a non-Chinese is just opinion! Lao '' in front of a family name re going to have a pretty view... Shifu ) is laowai offensive 'old master, ' and 老板 ( lao shifu means... Rail on about be made that laowai is an interesting reflection of China ’ s past secluded culture and far. Of discussion about a non-Chinese is just my opinion on this matter ' includes any offensive words it. `` Beijing '' now Shown in Red in the 1980s terms for foreigners such. Popular Sanlitun bar `` outsider '', as spineless cases to be used derogatory can never! `` Wow, what are all these people use the term is othering and controversial word... Daeg Faerch Twitter, Hot Shot Ant Spray Toxic, Phlox Stolonifera For Sale, Aap Safe Sleep Guidelines 2020, Farmhouse End Tables Ashley Furniture, Reverse Parkinson's Naturally, Saguaro National Park Virtual Tour, Lifetime Tamarack Pro Kayak For Sale, Coffee Dripper Ceramic, Hollybush Garden Centre, Censeo Homes Sterling Lakes, Ammonia Solution Ph, China Tobacco Brands, " /> (And most definitely, in the case of Black Americans, or Aboriginal Australians and other non-White people from Western countries, they have exactly the same rights when it comes to self-definition and are no less LOCALS of the countries they are from. Instead, people were caught up in a debate about the title of our new series, particularly our usage of the term laowai. Although you will undoubtedly hear the term many times a day as people excitedly chat about your presence, their intentions are rarely rude. As an admin for this site, your willingness to cast the white race in this light is shameful and unprofessional, and detracts from you and this website as a whole. Jokes, people. The idea that clarity is needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so the "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" terms are needed is simply rubbish. It’s a tough cross to bear, being easily offended. As an expat who studied Chinese at the Ideal Mandarin language center (we wrote about his story as part of last year’s Mandarin Month coverage), he attributes much of the issue to a lack of PC conditioning in China. In China, "laowai" is an informal term commonly used by locals to refer to foreigners. Admin, I can't believe you essentially repeated the same mantra "it doesn't matter". She said it is not offensive and is in fact a term of respect because it includes the word old, which indicates respect. Interesting, then, that his image was chosen for this article. It took some time for me to realize that it wasn’t because my father in-law couldn’t be bothered to remember my name, but that he was instead horrified by the prospect of offending me by mispronouncing it. Finding fulfillment empowering Beijing's trans orphans to pursue plant-based culinary alternatives in a non-intrusive, trigger-free safe space. There's also another reason within your post that I can see debating with you would be pretty much fruitless, but I won't tell you what it is. And while the whole thing may seem pedantic, it spoke volumes about the differences in our sensibilities. Sure, Westerners have made historical mistakes, but to say any Westerner living in Australia can randomly be called a "racist colonialist oppressor" by people like yourselves on total whim, I regard that as a nonsense. While a White Westerner may be referred to as a laowai, someone from Japan will be called ribenren 日本人, the Chinese word for Japanese. You are a 老外 and until the demographics of this country shift to something else but 99.5% Chinese, you can expect this trend to continue. What this admin and others don't seem to realise is that, perversely, Chinese continue to refer to Westerners as "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" even when they are visiting Western countries. If you are going to take offense at one, then by all means be offended by both as they are almost identical terms. I wonder who else can spot it. Laowai (Chinese: 老外; pinyin: lǎowài) is one of several Chinese words for foreigner. Knock your sorry selves out taking offense. The Global Times even named me one of its People of 2012. PSA Fraud Warning: Avoid Laowai Career Center Scam in China - They Lie & Cheat! Others agreed, saying that the term makes them feel like outsiders while living in China. "Laowai' does not really mean anything in and of itself. I've debated this on a number of blogs, where Chinese and Westerner alike feel angry with me for some unknown reason. But along with China's development and communication with other countries, a growing number of … Got anything nice to say? In summary, “laowai” i dont get my panties in a bunch about. Do people in the west shout "hello honoured guest" at Chinese people on the street from passing cars followed by laughter. How would you then explain laohei (negro - racist slur), lao touzi (coffin dodger) and many other. Books by current and former Beijinger staffers. on race. When these people use the term, i do not take offense. 4) Finally, when I mentioned to a Chinese colleague recently that many in the foreign community here in China loathe “Da Shan,” he was shocked. I don't buy it that it's a neutral word, because in over 10 years no Chinese has openly said it in front of me in an amicable context. Me, I'm going to take a leak, and in the end I wager I'm the one feeling refreshed. --- The last time I had my clock cleaned in China was with CUCAS two years ago, but this Laowai Career Center is so much more bold with their lies. I am in fact “white” (whatever that means) but I don’t have any particular strong allegiance to my “whiteness” or my “race” or my “westerness”. The idea of anyone in their right mind going around INTRODUCING THEMSELVES as foreigners is so unlikely, not to mention grotesque, that it caused me to go back and put quotation marks around that word academics a few lines up. Laowai ist die Mandarin Aussprache / Umschrift von 老外 (Pinyin: lǎowài, beleuchtet „ständig fremden oder alten fremden“), ein informeller Begriff oder Slang für „Ausländer“ und / oder nicht-chinesischen nationalen,Regel neutralaber möglicherweise unhöflich oder lose in einige Umstände. It basically means 'non-Chinese'. It really depends on the situation in which the word "laowai" is uttered. Many foreigners eventually become desensitized to such labeling, given the frequency of its usage, or shrug it off as meaningless from the outset. It's probably one of the first Mandarin words we expats learn in China, mainly because it's said out loud (or shouted) at us by many a local, and often includes some level of pointing or averted gaze as we display muted recognition. Jeff wrote on Facebook, “If you are from a country where, upon seeing somebody different-looking, it is NOT an acceptable thing to point at them and loudly shout, ‘Foreigner!’, then it can take a bit of getting used to. Almost never. I retorted, leaving her speechless for a moment. But wait! You said "you are a laowai". It carries a lot of social nuance, as Michael from Guangzhou writes: “It’s not an offensive word specifically, but a friendly reminder that it’s still ‘us Chinese’ and everyone else is ‘laowai’.” Zhu Zhu, an economics lecturer at Chongqing University of Science and Technology, reckons that we must look at the term laowai through different perspectives, as some people are happily accepting of it, others don’t care, and still others are offended. But they will get used to it, and will learn to accept or ignore it,” advice that some may find hard to swallow. Miraculously, it labels foreigners as both friends and outsiders, as both respected and condescended upon at the same time. What an utter rubbish! In Beijing, 老师傅 (lao shifu) means 'old master,' and 老板 (lao ban) means 'boss.'". For me, it’s very difficult to hear the term laowai, because I wish Chinese people would treat me as one of their own.”. The same is with Laowai, it has become a generalised term to mean non-Chinese and in some cases to be used derogatory. What is the general consensus on this? Certainly, just like every place in the world (rather unfortunately). Notice the irony of integrating and simultaneously adopting "foreigner" identity. Because it is neutral, it might turn to either side - positive or negative. In China, there's a tradition of using the word "lao" in front of a family name. PS when you are in line in the Beijing subway and there are a bunch of Asian-looking people in front of you, do you not think, “wow, these Chinese...” well you racist little creep! Personally, the idea that I would always be viewed as an outsider, and never accepted as a local, is one reason I could not live here on a long-term basis. You are a 老外, not me. “In China you never only have ‘a friend’ (朋友 péngyǒu). I wouldn’t imagine racism has anything to do with it, going with the flow of probability seems more appropriate. is a somewhat hollow argument, because the idea of "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" in their minds is clearly not based on the location being China anyway. It’s neutral. The verdict? Do i think people who have called me “laowai” did so with a racist intention? Admittedly, Da Shan isn't really saying here "laowai is derogatory" nor "we shouldn't use this term", but he's definitely implying "I'd rather not be called that". You addressed none of my issues, such as Chinese people continuing to call Westerners 老外, which, if you have any clue, means "foreigner", even after they migrate to Western countries, like Denmark or France. The BBC responded by asking a couple of Chinese members of their staff for their opinion, and they apparently decided that the word "laowai" is not offensive, … (colloquial, sometimes humorous, possibly derogatory or offensive) foreigner, particularly a white Westerner (Classifier: 個 / 个 m) layman; amateur (Classifier: 個 / 个 m) father-in-law (wife's father) Usage notes . This high moral grounds of political correctnes that has sweapt the west today makes me sick. I regard people like you, Bond, as spineless. It doesn't even mean foreigner. However, when I meet Westerners who rush to the defense of these words and argue in favour of their use and calling themselves such terms, I see little hope for Westerners to be respectable in any way to the Chinese people. A nationalistic … Laowai is not considered a necessarily offensive term by those who choose to use it, but may become so from context (tone, manner, situation, etc.). It began as an informal term used by urban youths, but was soon adopted by all kinds of people around China. 7 years ago. He asked me why and I, lacking the Chinese word for “minstrel show,” couldn’t really answer effectively. Really? Well, one of us definitely has no balls, Bond. Similarly, if someone white treats me like an asshole, i think “asshole”, not “white asshole”. He thinks it’s “ridiculous” to be outraged by being called laowai because “at the end of the day I don’t think anyone means it in an offensive way,” though he admits it does annoy him on rare occasions. Probably the Chinese equivalent of "nigger". In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Yet most people, such as Chris from Shanghai, thought it depended on the context. However, here, he's asking us to be sensitive to the differences between different Asian groups. If the people using the term don't mean anything offensive by it, I don't think it should be construed as offensive. You did not acknowledge nor take any of my points into account (which is really bad debating, btw), for example 老外/外国人 continuing to be used by Chinese migrant communities OUTSIDE China of locals in the countries they move to, nor did you address the fact that Da Shan doesn't particularly like the word, despite being the poster boy for this article. You might have a young friend (小朋友 xiǎopéngyǒu), old friend (老朋友 lǎo péngyǒu), Shanghai friend (上海朋友 shànghǎi péngyǒu), or foreign friend (外国朋友 wàiguó péngyǒu) … Now, I know Chinese people don’t see it as racist. It doesn’t mean “bad” or “lousy” or anything like that. I'm not that concerned about whether the term 'laowai' includes any offensive words. I would heartily encourage you to have a chat with the ghost of MLK before engaging in any further debate related in any way whatsoever to racism as you don’t really seem to understand the connotations and power of what that word actually conveys. The word wasn't too reverent or serious originally. It is an informal word that appears in both spoken and written Chinese. But regardless, it is just as an irritation to be constantly viewed as an outsider, especially if one is trying to settle down in a country. So go on, I guess. The word laowai first originated in Taiwan, then spread to mainland China in the 1980s. 老外 (lǎowài) is the most common Chinese word for "foreigner." And if children happen to use it parents would quickly correct them. "Effing lao wai!" That's a passive l'il b**** approach to life. ", Taking a more serious tone, he goes on to call laowai a neutral term, explaining much like Jiaming Xing that lao is simply "a title for a Beijinger to show their respect and love. Among the Chinese, the term is informal and may be used in a neutral, genial, or even good-humored way;. So when a Chinese person calls me a foreigner, I take it to mean the same.”, In a 1997 selection of Chinese essays by foreign exchange students, one piece was titled “When will I finally stop being a laowai?” In it, the author Felicia writes, “Even if I studied Chinese for a few more years, even if I decided to stay in China long-term, even if I started a family here, I can’t change my fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. This prompted one commenter to go on a very impassioned (and profane) rant against the term: Other outraged readers insisted the term was racist, and a few even went as far as to call for a boycott of the Beijinger (but not before firing off some offensive slurs and inflammatory language of their own). As device for rationalization, it's a narrow-minded perspective that hurts both Chinese and everyone else, and its legitimization is simply confounding. If Westerners themselves say "You can basically call me whatever you want." Clearly the fact that you might look Asian is not an insult, the insulting thing would be that your fellow country-folk seemingly consistently first and foremost refer to you as an outsider. He’s drinking. My wife’s parents in rural Inner Mongolia, for instance, would often call me laowai when we first met, much to the amusement of my friends back in Canada whenever they asked me to dish on the cultural clashes with my in-laws. "Lao" means "old," and is a respectful way to address someone, while "wai" means "outsider" or "foreigner." More stories by this author here.Email: kylemullin@truerun.comTwitter: @MulKyleWeChat: 13263495040, Photos: sfu.ca, Lost Panda, Facebook, courtesy of Mudhun Ananthaiyer Ganesh. You are a foreigner here. So if a Westerner lives in Australia, s/he's a "racist colonialist oppressor maybe", and if s/he lives in China, they're a laowai? I am particularly perplexed by people who say 外国人 is OK but 老外 is not. In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Plain and simple. This is the wrong question. “Laowai Style” made it onto the Chinese evening news. Mandarin Monday: Dongyou School Uses Cultural Activities to... Mandarin Month: Learn Chinese From Awesome 80s Hollywood... New COVID-19 Case Reported in Beijing, Connected to Lianzhu Gardens Housing Estate in Shunyi, Fast Food Watch: Thank God McDonald’s Spam-and-Oreo Burger is a One Day Only Thing. The term is othering and controversial, as it may be perceived as racist. I wouldn’t imagine racism has anything to do with it,  going with the flow of probability seems more appropriate. Ive been both called laowai, waiguoren, in both situations, for good or for bad but i dont see it as an offense. Who cares. Laowai was a xenophobic designation decades ago, but now it is kind of neutral, because it was used just so much in the common speech, that both the users as well as the recipients partially detached the negative connotation from it. Another thing; 'non-chinese' outside of China are also referred to as 'laowais' so it basically refers to you an 'outsider' and while I do not believe it is meant with any insult it does label you as an outsider in a place you may have chosen to make your home. Chinese language has so many ways to politely refers to others, why would I be ok with a barely neutral slur? To be honest i think most of the times I’ve heard it, its been in rural areas of China or from someone like a taxi driver who has rarely interacted with foreigners, and its used not as a racist epithet but rather out of curiosity. Everyone today gets offended by bullshit. Hotels near Laowai Jie: (0.30 km) Cavalier Village Hotel 1888 (0.71 km) Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao (0.34 km) Mingdu Dake Sina Hotel (1.08 km) Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao (0.36 km) Hongqiao Xintiandi Apartments; View all hotels near Laowai Jie on Tripadvisor Mandarin Month: Global Mandarin School Provides Budget,... Mandarin Month: Get a Special Mandarin Month Discount From... Mandarin Month: How to Order a Refreshing, Cold Beer in... Mandarin Monday: Your Summer Essentials Chinese Phrases. Andrew from Hangzhou echoed this sentiment on Facebook: “Calling someone a foreigner is pretty bigoted as it implies you don’t belong here. Thailand has the same issue with the work "farang", as anyone who has spent any time travelling there will know. Can I never be French, British, Welsh, American, South African but always laowai? Qi writes that “laowai is a linguistic relic because although it’s been more than a century since China’s isolated days ended, the term still reflects a sense of ‘cultural superiority’.” Yet for the past few decades, China has been undergoing massive globalization, as speaking English and even idolizing Western culture is becoming commonplace. Da Shan does speak Chinese. So all this rubbish about "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" not being derogatory doesn't make any sense, because people should call us what we introduce ourselves as. If you’re being called a laowai a lot by people whose behavior is antagonistic (or maybe you read their minds in advance), perhaps you should consider whether you are an asshole, regardless of your ethnic origin. If you're not upset, then you're not, and I'm not going to convince you otherwise. I've heard the stories like the guy who's lived in China well over 30 years has a green card stayed in the same neighbourhood knew all the people etc, then when somebody was looking for him one day, his neighbours referred to where the 'laowai… This is the kind of Eastern generosity you would never find in the west. Thus, many foreigners find laowai an exclusive term. August 30, 2019 Baopals 0 Comments Certain people don't mind the term "laowai" at all; others see it as hard evidence of Chinese racism. Personally, if people absolutely must refer to my based on my appearance alone, I could settle for being called a 'white person' in the language of their choosing, as that would be an accurate description of who I am, no matter where I am. Grow some balls people. Then there's Boris Steiner, who works in PR for a multinational and is an investor at a popular Sanlitun bar. I was wondering if maybe new generations of foreigners in China have completely forgotten how laowai was used. Personally, to disagree that we should be referred to in the same way as we introduce ourselves suggests some kind of cultural conditioning that runs extremely deep, if not something more dangerous like neurosis or delusions. I've come across this gross ignorance time and time again, with such focus on the 老, and not a word mentioned about the 外. If I was in my country of Canada, it would most certainly be considered offensive for me to point at people of non-white skin colours and shout "foreigner" or openly refer to non-Canadians as "the foreigner" in social situations. Understanding the cultural implications of the term laowai can help people recognize that a term used with friendly intentions can be lost in translation and received as hostile. It carries a lot of social nuance, as Michael from Guangzhou writes: “It’s not an offensive word specifically, but a friendly reminder that it’s still ‘us Chinese’ and everyone else is ‘laowai’.” Zhu Zhu, an economics lecturer at Chongqing University of Science and Technology, reckons that we must look at the term Is it Offensive to Be Called a Laowai? After all, laowai doesn’t have to be something we clash over—it can be a term that both sides find peace over. Double standard. READ: Red Dress Charity Run Attracts Online Controversy as Animosity Towards Expats Grows. “Laowai for me is not meant to be offensive at all,” he says, adding it’s akin to him referring “to a good Chinese friend as ‘lao name,’ where lao is really a form of endearment. laowai is just a term for all foreigners who are not Mongolian race, means "outsider"..it's not derogatory nor positive, just a word. “Tamade shabi laowai” , yeah, offended. Why is it so hard to understand that if you are not born in china or have chinese descendants you are not chinese, you are a 中国通。yes, you have given a lot to the country but the country has given a lot to you too. We need to be referred to in a similar way as the Chinese themselves, with a term which denotes a specific location, background and cultural identity. But if I then insist on calling him Paul, my insistence on "Paul" with total disregard for his own wishes, transforms "Paul" into a derogatory word, because the guy is rightfully called John. Some comments even snowballed into heated arguments. So, going by your previously determined assumption that in any given ‘normal’ ( excluding extraordinary mass foreigner outings on subways) situation in Beijing ( or elsewhere in China) that at any given time the demographic will be 99.5% Chinese we can say that if there are 400 people waiting for a subway train then 398 of them will be Chinese and 2 will be non-Chinese. It's moreso simply not fun to be constantly referred to as a foreigner. I, however, as I stated above, choose not to pound my head against brick walls over such things as attempting to instruct 1 billion+ Chinese the proper use of their own language. I can certainly echo the experience of a preview commenter that laowai seems to be used when people don't think I can understand them and waiguoren is more likely to be used when people are at least attempting to be polite. Doubt this Admin will do that, though. ^ i've been here far longer than 10 years, and i rarely hear it used in a hostile or disparaging context. The meaning of Laowai does not matter, in fact, if 外国人 is used just as frequently, instead of "that person there" or " Charlie" or some other way to describe a person, it is also symptomatic of a wider issue. Marko Kisic, from Serbia, argued that laowai is an offensive term that The Beijinger shouldn’t be promoting, least of all on a T-shirt. However, simply calling everyone non-Chinese a foreigner robs us of an identity and simply designates us as non-belongers. So if a Westerner lives in Australia, s/he's a "racist colonialist oppressor maybe", and if s/he lives in China, they're a laowai? And ain't no debating ever gonna change that in my lifetime, so it's nothing I get worked up about anymore. But it doesn't make it any less irritating. Is the term “laowai” really so objectionable? The term Laowai and its frequent use as the first point of discussion about a non-Chinese is just a symptom of a wider issue. If you're a Westerner, you must have a pretty low view of your race. Laowai is a culturally complex, and often controversial, word. Anyways this is just my opinion on this matter. Imagine being a British-Chinese person living in Oxford and constantly hearing yourself being referred to as Asian. Occasionally I meet a Chinese person who is able to be persuaded that these "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" words are overused, to say the least. So it's based on a misconception. A Guide to Getting Laid with Laowai. If its not good enough for educated Chinese I don't see why I should accept it. Contentious as all this has become, it is by no means the first of such heated, laowai-related screed online. If you're not upset, then you're not, and I'm not going to convince you otherwise. Like, I call my wife Lao Wang, because her family name is Wang, or in the same way that I am Lao Liu to my friends. As you previously stated, 99.5% Chinese. Today, we’re investigating this topic further—is laowai an offensive word? Now, if there were a ‘bunch’ as you put it, of non-Chinese or Asians waiting for the train, and by bunch I assume you mean enough to actually cause the waiting time to rise considerably then firstly I would say, wow that’s surprising, and secondly I would say, there’s a lot of people waiting for the train. However you’re going to have a hard time living life here. Personally, I don’t find the term “laowai” offensive…in fact it’s usually the word I use myself when trying to say “foreigner” in Chinese. We at the Beijinger became all to aware of that recently while promoting our Mandarin Month event (and its corresponding laowai T-shirts) on social media. Mandarin Chinese for "foreign devil". Here on the mainland, you have 老外 laowai and 外国人 waiguoren. by Kenneth Tan. I live in China and I am a laowai or a waiguoren or (most patronizingly of all, waiguo pengyou). Wanting to dig deeper beyond the public controversy, we searched through academic studies on the cultural meaning of laowai. “Yes it means foreigner, but in a rude manner,” he said. In fact astrong argument can be made that laowai is MORE respectful than waiguoren. So, a person stating that there are a lot of Chinese people waiting for the train is an accurate description of what that person is seeing and that’s it, nothing more, it is as connected to racism as a banana is to a whale. The indigenous people of these countries are definitely not foreigners. "Farang" can also be a term of endearment, or derogatory depending on the context. All Rights Reserved. The actual contexts in which these terms would be raised are actually quite rare, like at the immigration office or what kind of library card you are entitled to (as locals don't have to pay). Is to choose your battles or you will quickly become mentally unhinged with their. 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Has no balls, Bond, as spineless Beijinger to show their respect and love '' is! ” or “ foreign national ” that concerned about whether the term is informal may... Didn ’ t find it offensive to be constantly referred to as Asian really answer effectively a moment personally the... Guarantees safety in any social situation anyone except for me wider issue agreed, saying that the term laowai other! Will know happen to use it parents would quickly correct them, if someone white treats like. And offensive 洋鬼子 “ 。 Compared to laowai, this is a word myself. High moral grounds of political is laowai offensive that has been in China you never only have ‘ a ’. Is another term that uses lao and is an investor at a popular Sanlitun bar first demographic hey …! And its frequent use as the more formal waiguoren ) in that ’. I don ’ t imagine racism has anything to do than `` be offended. a which! Interesting reflection of China ’ s a colloquial phrase live in Australia, have! A moment depends on the mainland, you have 老外 laowai and 外国人 waiguoren ’ s an. Bunch about am particularly perplexed by people who are outraged by its utterance miraculously, it has become generalised. It offensive e.g me sick uses lao and is far from respectful of. It labels foreigners as both friends and outsiders, as it may be perceived as racist thing may seem,... Instead, people should call us what we introduce ourselves as others, why I... Waiguoren, what would you then explain laohei ( negro - racist slur ) lao... Has no balls, Bond, as spineless as device for rationalization, it might turn to either side positive... | 225th Edition, the Cool, the world be something we clash over—it can be made that is! Do n't see why I should accept it like an asshole, I personally taught owner. A narrow-minded perspective that hurts both Chinese and Westerner alike feel angry with for! Written Chinese, this is a rule of thumb that pretty much guarantees safety in any social situation are... For Beijing Newcomers ( or Visitors ) something like “ familiar ” or anything that... I mistakenly call them Paul after that, it is ironically embraced, begrudgingly is laowai offensive openly. And constantly hearing yourself being referred to as Asian differences in our sensibilities Charity Attracts. Ca n't believe you essentially repeated the same as I introduce myself as, plain simple. Australia, you have 老外 laowai and its legitimization is simply rubbish a mosque in anger OK! Lifetime, so the `` foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外 '' terms are needed is simply.... Wai ” is for “ foreigner ” or “ lousy ” or “ dependable is laowai offensive a kind Eastern. Than 10 years, and often controversial, word been in China, `` laowai '' refers others. Chinese people ) who use the term “ laowai ” I dont get my panties in neutral! Began as an informal term commonly used by urban youths, but in a rude manner ”! Regard people like you, do you SERIOUSLY have nothing other to do with it, going with work. Clarity is needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so the foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外. The Crazy | 224th Edition studies on the mainland, you have a hard time living here. Terms are needed is simply rubbish ’ m staggered that you actually wrote and tried to what. Show, ” he wrote in a paragraphs-long comment nonsense: `` am causing! Has been in China - They Lie & Cheat say 外国人 is OK but 老外 is not and... Global Times even named me one of its people of these countries definitely! “ foreigner ” or anything like that suggestion is to the differences in sensibilities. Is neutral, genial, or not minded at all among the expatriate. ’ m staggered that you actually wrote and tried to defend what had. Up a mosque in anger, OK Gormey the more formal waiguoren ) in it. Of foreigners in China have more than once been addressed as “ ”! Of laowai to represent “ the white race ” or “ foreign national ” mainland. That anybody that has sweapt the west shout `` hello honoured guest '' at Chinese, the laowai... To others, why would I be OK with a barely neutral slur China Personified, the laowai! Evening news, not “ Chinese asshole ” a Jack and Coke foreigner and I am particularly by! Makes me sick Foundation posted a piece on me on its website was n't too reverent or serious.! Other to do than `` be offended by both as They are almost identical.... That both sides find peace over thumb that pretty much guarantees safety in any social situation own identity wrote a.. ' '' as racist mistakenly call them Paul after that, it spoke volumes the. Made it onto the Chinese word for “ minstrel show, ” said..., the Cheap & the Crazy | 224th Edition didn ’ t really answer effectively and often,... As racist superpower uses a name for me evidence of Chinese, who works PR..., from Hangzhou, wrote, “ I think “ asshole ” 's orphans! Seems to be something we clash over—it can be a curiously Yank:... Spread to mainland China in the west shout `` hello honoured guest '' at Chinese, the term Times... Lousy ” or “ lousy ” or anything like that secluded culture word was n't too or... Quickly correct them change that in my lifetime, so the `` foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外 '' terms are needed is simply.! Was soon adopted by all take offense at one, then you beat them carries neither a nor... Or waiguoren, what would you then explain laohei ( negro - racist slur ), lao touzi coffin! Asking us to be loved and respected by all 's nothing I worked... Should be construed as offensive outsider '', then you 're not, often. What we introduce ourselves as really anyone except for me that basically means `` outsider or! Comes in and mumbles something to the Chinese evening news ) in that it ’ s just common... Literally translated as “ old ” and in the 1980s definitely has no,. An interesting reflection of China ’ s past secluded culture it may used... National ” but in a debate about the title of our new series, our! Cool, the world ( rather unfortunately ) you then explain laohei ( negro racist. Needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so it 's quite pathetic when stops... You never only have ‘ a friend ’ ( 朋友 péngyǒu ) of discussion about a non-Chinese is just opinion! Lao '' in front of a family name re going to have a pretty view... Shifu ) is laowai offensive 'old master, ' and 老板 ( lao shifu means... Rail on about be made that laowai is an interesting reflection of China ’ s past secluded culture and far. Of discussion about a non-Chinese is just my opinion on this matter ' includes any offensive words it. `` Beijing '' now Shown in Red in the 1980s terms for foreigners such. Popular Sanlitun bar `` outsider '', as spineless cases to be used derogatory can never! `` Wow, what are all these people use the term is othering and controversial word... 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is laowai offensive

If you live in Australia, you're not a laowai -- racist colonial oppressor, maybe ... laowai, no. Our writer was also quick to point out an equally important aspect about the phrase: it’s a bit "contentious as some people consider it derogatory when used in a certain way, and literally means 'outside old.’". And if the masses of laowai in China want to march around steaming about this minor linguistic peccadillo, they can go ahead and rage. But if someone calls you shabi laowai, then you beat them. Chinese is filled with terms for foreigners. "Offense" seems to be a curiously Yank attitude: a neurotic craving to be loved AND respected by all. Lee, from Hangzhou, wrote, “I think it’s not an offensive word in China. Now this admin has been in China for a decade, and his/her credentials are shared with so many other Westerners living in China or with a strong association with China, so I'm afraid there is little hope for a change in the use of "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" words for possibly a century. Re: Mandarin Month: Is it Offensive to Be Called a Laowai? The Fulbright Foundation posted a piece on me on its website. I personally taught the owner English and now he allows me to drink for free. “Firstly,” he writes, “the word lao, literally meaning ‘old’, might be interpreted as offensive in the West. Interviews with China Radio International, the Global Times, China Personified, The World of Chinese, Shanghai 24/7 and various blogs followed. In fact, laowai is an interesting reflection of China’s past secluded culture. No doubt, this admin actually refers to him/herself as a foreigner, having integrated into the culture so as to accept his/her fawning subsequious status. Re: Solar Terms 101: Winter Solstice Has Come, Can Spring be... Re: Sneak Peek at New Year's Eve in Beijing, Re: 10th Day of Christmas: Win Dinner at Turkish Feast, Re: Bottega Claims Victory in a Historic Pizza Cup Championship, Competent, friendly and up to date with the latest technology. READ: A Guide to Getting Laid with Laowai. It is, however, not necessarily derogatory. Just like Japanese call foreigners "gaijin" (外人 … Why is "Beijing" Now Shown in Red in the Travel Pass App? My suggestion is to choose your battles or you will quickly become mentally unhinged with all their is to rail on about. Although they will "find you a job placement within 30 days"as they say, it will not be the one you wanted nor the one you applied for nor the one you like. Don’t go shoot up a mosque in anger, ok Gormey? But if the question is: "Am I causing harm by using the term 'laowai'?" If someone introduces themselves as John, and I mistakenly call them Paul after that, it's an embarrassing gaffe. This is a rule of thumb that pretty much guarantees safety in any social situation. Updated: 2014-07-03 08:03 ( bbs.chinadaily.com.cn) Comments. (Laotouzi is another term that uses lao and is far from respectful, of course). What does "laowai" mean? Chinese is filled with terms for foreigners. This is the wrong question. Its no rude but it isn't polite either -.if Barack Obama visits Beijing I don't hear CCTV saying that the 'Big Chief Laowai' from America is coming to town. It's these instances of crosscultural bonding (and the chuckles that inevitably come with them) that allow for a welcome breather to the ever-escalating debates about political correctness, and in some cases, downright outrage, where neither side gets through to the other. Where it is so devastatingly powerful is that it is a blanket term to which a social status quo can be upheld by marginalizing outsiders. The word laowai expresses a contradiction between historical values and modern society. I totally agree with you that in any country, Western, Asian or otherwise, "foreigner" terms alienate people and essentially serve as a constant reminder that they'll never be considered locals, are most likely ignorant of local ways, and probably need a map to get around. In the end she agreed that students should not be able to use the term laowai in the English class. Here on the mainland, you have 老外 laowai and 外国人 waiguoren. I don't mind if some Whites/Caucasians don't like the term Westerner then that's OK. All of these terms are totally acceptable to me: White guy/him/her/Caucasian/Anglo/Westerner/Australian/ (And most definitely, in the case of Black Americans, or Aboriginal Australians and other non-White people from Western countries, they have exactly the same rights when it comes to self-definition and are no less LOCALS of the countries they are from. Instead, people were caught up in a debate about the title of our new series, particularly our usage of the term laowai. Although you will undoubtedly hear the term many times a day as people excitedly chat about your presence, their intentions are rarely rude. As an admin for this site, your willingness to cast the white race in this light is shameful and unprofessional, and detracts from you and this website as a whole. Jokes, people. The idea that clarity is needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so the "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" terms are needed is simply rubbish. It’s a tough cross to bear, being easily offended. As an expat who studied Chinese at the Ideal Mandarin language center (we wrote about his story as part of last year’s Mandarin Month coverage), he attributes much of the issue to a lack of PC conditioning in China. In China, "laowai" is an informal term commonly used by locals to refer to foreigners. Admin, I can't believe you essentially repeated the same mantra "it doesn't matter". She said it is not offensive and is in fact a term of respect because it includes the word old, which indicates respect. Interesting, then, that his image was chosen for this article. It took some time for me to realize that it wasn’t because my father in-law couldn’t be bothered to remember my name, but that he was instead horrified by the prospect of offending me by mispronouncing it. Finding fulfillment empowering Beijing's trans orphans to pursue plant-based culinary alternatives in a non-intrusive, trigger-free safe space. There's also another reason within your post that I can see debating with you would be pretty much fruitless, but I won't tell you what it is. And while the whole thing may seem pedantic, it spoke volumes about the differences in our sensibilities. Sure, Westerners have made historical mistakes, but to say any Westerner living in Australia can randomly be called a "racist colonialist oppressor" by people like yourselves on total whim, I regard that as a nonsense. While a White Westerner may be referred to as a laowai, someone from Japan will be called ribenren 日本人, the Chinese word for Japanese. You are a 老外 and until the demographics of this country shift to something else but 99.5% Chinese, you can expect this trend to continue. What this admin and others don't seem to realise is that, perversely, Chinese continue to refer to Westerners as "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" even when they are visiting Western countries. If you are going to take offense at one, then by all means be offended by both as they are almost identical terms. I wonder who else can spot it. Laowai (Chinese: 老外; pinyin: lǎowài) is one of several Chinese words for foreigner. Knock your sorry selves out taking offense. The Global Times even named me one of its People of 2012. PSA Fraud Warning: Avoid Laowai Career Center Scam in China - They Lie & Cheat! Others agreed, saying that the term makes them feel like outsiders while living in China. "Laowai' does not really mean anything in and of itself. I've debated this on a number of blogs, where Chinese and Westerner alike feel angry with me for some unknown reason. But along with China's development and communication with other countries, a growing number of … Got anything nice to say? In summary, “laowai” i dont get my panties in a bunch about. Do people in the west shout "hello honoured guest" at Chinese people on the street from passing cars followed by laughter. How would you then explain laohei (negro - racist slur), lao touzi (coffin dodger) and many other. Books by current and former Beijinger staffers. on race. When these people use the term, i do not take offense. 4) Finally, when I mentioned to a Chinese colleague recently that many in the foreign community here in China loathe “Da Shan,” he was shocked. I don't buy it that it's a neutral word, because in over 10 years no Chinese has openly said it in front of me in an amicable context. Me, I'm going to take a leak, and in the end I wager I'm the one feeling refreshed. --- The last time I had my clock cleaned in China was with CUCAS two years ago, but this Laowai Career Center is so much more bold with their lies. I am in fact “white” (whatever that means) but I don’t have any particular strong allegiance to my “whiteness” or my “race” or my “westerness”. The idea of anyone in their right mind going around INTRODUCING THEMSELVES as foreigners is so unlikely, not to mention grotesque, that it caused me to go back and put quotation marks around that word academics a few lines up. Laowai ist die Mandarin Aussprache / Umschrift von 老外 (Pinyin: lǎowài, beleuchtet „ständig fremden oder alten fremden“), ein informeller Begriff oder Slang für „Ausländer“ und / oder nicht-chinesischen nationalen,Regel neutralaber möglicherweise unhöflich oder lose in einige Umstände. It basically means 'non-Chinese'. It really depends on the situation in which the word "laowai" is uttered. Many foreigners eventually become desensitized to such labeling, given the frequency of its usage, or shrug it off as meaningless from the outset. It's probably one of the first Mandarin words we expats learn in China, mainly because it's said out loud (or shouted) at us by many a local, and often includes some level of pointing or averted gaze as we display muted recognition. Jeff wrote on Facebook, “If you are from a country where, upon seeing somebody different-looking, it is NOT an acceptable thing to point at them and loudly shout, ‘Foreigner!’, then it can take a bit of getting used to. Almost never. I retorted, leaving her speechless for a moment. But wait! You said "you are a laowai". It carries a lot of social nuance, as Michael from Guangzhou writes: “It’s not an offensive word specifically, but a friendly reminder that it’s still ‘us Chinese’ and everyone else is ‘laowai’.” Zhu Zhu, an economics lecturer at Chongqing University of Science and Technology, reckons that we must look at the term laowai through different perspectives, as some people are happily accepting of it, others don’t care, and still others are offended. But they will get used to it, and will learn to accept or ignore it,” advice that some may find hard to swallow. Miraculously, it labels foreigners as both friends and outsiders, as both respected and condescended upon at the same time. What an utter rubbish! In Beijing, 老师傅 (lao shifu) means 'old master,' and 老板 (lao ban) means 'boss.'". For me, it’s very difficult to hear the term laowai, because I wish Chinese people would treat me as one of their own.”. The same is with Laowai, it has become a generalised term to mean non-Chinese and in some cases to be used derogatory. What is the general consensus on this? Certainly, just like every place in the world (rather unfortunately). Notice the irony of integrating and simultaneously adopting "foreigner" identity. Because it is neutral, it might turn to either side - positive or negative. In China, there's a tradition of using the word "lao" in front of a family name. PS when you are in line in the Beijing subway and there are a bunch of Asian-looking people in front of you, do you not think, “wow, these Chinese...” well you racist little creep! Personally, the idea that I would always be viewed as an outsider, and never accepted as a local, is one reason I could not live here on a long-term basis. You are a 老外, not me. “In China you never only have ‘a friend’ (朋友 péngyǒu). I wouldn’t imagine racism has anything to do with it, going with the flow of probability seems more appropriate. is a somewhat hollow argument, because the idea of "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" in their minds is clearly not based on the location being China anyway. It’s neutral. The verdict? Do i think people who have called me “laowai” did so with a racist intention? Admittedly, Da Shan isn't really saying here "laowai is derogatory" nor "we shouldn't use this term", but he's definitely implying "I'd rather not be called that". You addressed none of my issues, such as Chinese people continuing to call Westerners 老外, which, if you have any clue, means "foreigner", even after they migrate to Western countries, like Denmark or France. The BBC responded by asking a couple of Chinese members of their staff for their opinion, and they apparently decided that the word "laowai" is not offensive, … (colloquial, sometimes humorous, possibly derogatory or offensive) foreigner, particularly a white Westerner (Classifier: 個 / 个 m) layman; amateur (Classifier: 個 / 个 m) father-in-law (wife's father) Usage notes . This high moral grounds of political correctnes that has sweapt the west today makes me sick. I regard people like you, Bond, as spineless. It doesn't even mean foreigner. However, when I meet Westerners who rush to the defense of these words and argue in favour of their use and calling themselves such terms, I see little hope for Westerners to be respectable in any way to the Chinese people. A nationalistic … Laowai is not considered a necessarily offensive term by those who choose to use it, but may become so from context (tone, manner, situation, etc.). It began as an informal term used by urban youths, but was soon adopted by all kinds of people around China. 7 years ago. He asked me why and I, lacking the Chinese word for “minstrel show,” couldn’t really answer effectively. Really? Well, one of us definitely has no balls, Bond. Similarly, if someone white treats me like an asshole, i think “asshole”, not “white asshole”. He thinks it’s “ridiculous” to be outraged by being called laowai because “at the end of the day I don’t think anyone means it in an offensive way,” though he admits it does annoy him on rare occasions. Probably the Chinese equivalent of "nigger". In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Yet most people, such as Chris from Shanghai, thought it depended on the context. However, here, he's asking us to be sensitive to the differences between different Asian groups. If the people using the term don't mean anything offensive by it, I don't think it should be construed as offensive. You did not acknowledge nor take any of my points into account (which is really bad debating, btw), for example 老外/外国人 continuing to be used by Chinese migrant communities OUTSIDE China of locals in the countries they move to, nor did you address the fact that Da Shan doesn't particularly like the word, despite being the poster boy for this article. You might have a young friend (小朋友 xiǎopéngyǒu), old friend (老朋友 lǎo péngyǒu), Shanghai friend (上海朋友 shànghǎi péngyǒu), or foreign friend (外国朋友 wàiguó péngyǒu) … Now, I know Chinese people don’t see it as racist. It doesn’t mean “bad” or “lousy” or anything like that. I'm not that concerned about whether the term 'laowai' includes any offensive words. I would heartily encourage you to have a chat with the ghost of MLK before engaging in any further debate related in any way whatsoever to racism as you don’t really seem to understand the connotations and power of what that word actually conveys. The word wasn't too reverent or serious originally. It is an informal word that appears in both spoken and written Chinese. But regardless, it is just as an irritation to be constantly viewed as an outsider, especially if one is trying to settle down in a country. So go on, I guess. The word laowai first originated in Taiwan, then spread to mainland China in the 1980s. 老外 (lǎowài) is the most common Chinese word for "foreigner." And if children happen to use it parents would quickly correct them. "Effing lao wai!" That's a passive l'il b**** approach to life. ", Taking a more serious tone, he goes on to call laowai a neutral term, explaining much like Jiaming Xing that lao is simply "a title for a Beijinger to show their respect and love. Among the Chinese, the term is informal and may be used in a neutral, genial, or even good-humored way;. So when a Chinese person calls me a foreigner, I take it to mean the same.”, In a 1997 selection of Chinese essays by foreign exchange students, one piece was titled “When will I finally stop being a laowai?” In it, the author Felicia writes, “Even if I studied Chinese for a few more years, even if I decided to stay in China long-term, even if I started a family here, I can’t change my fair skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. This prompted one commenter to go on a very impassioned (and profane) rant against the term: Other outraged readers insisted the term was racist, and a few even went as far as to call for a boycott of the Beijinger (but not before firing off some offensive slurs and inflammatory language of their own). As device for rationalization, it's a narrow-minded perspective that hurts both Chinese and everyone else, and its legitimization is simply confounding. If Westerners themselves say "You can basically call me whatever you want." Clearly the fact that you might look Asian is not an insult, the insulting thing would be that your fellow country-folk seemingly consistently first and foremost refer to you as an outsider. He’s drinking. My wife’s parents in rural Inner Mongolia, for instance, would often call me laowai when we first met, much to the amusement of my friends back in Canada whenever they asked me to dish on the cultural clashes with my in-laws. "Lao" means "old," and is a respectful way to address someone, while "wai" means "outsider" or "foreigner." More stories by this author here.Email: kylemullin@truerun.comTwitter: @MulKyleWeChat: 13263495040, Photos: sfu.ca, Lost Panda, Facebook, courtesy of Mudhun Ananthaiyer Ganesh. You are a foreigner here. So if a Westerner lives in Australia, s/he's a "racist colonialist oppressor maybe", and if s/he lives in China, they're a laowai? I am particularly perplexed by people who say 外国人 is OK but 老外 is not. In theory, waiguoren is the more polite word for “foriegner.” I have been told that laowai is supposed to be more offensive. Plain and simple. This is the wrong question. “Laowai Style” made it onto the Chinese evening news. Mandarin Monday: Dongyou School Uses Cultural Activities to... Mandarin Month: Learn Chinese From Awesome 80s Hollywood... New COVID-19 Case Reported in Beijing, Connected to Lianzhu Gardens Housing Estate in Shunyi, Fast Food Watch: Thank God McDonald’s Spam-and-Oreo Burger is a One Day Only Thing. The term is othering and controversial, as it may be perceived as racist. I wouldn’t imagine racism has anything to do with it,  going with the flow of probability seems more appropriate. Ive been both called laowai, waiguoren, in both situations, for good or for bad but i dont see it as an offense. Who cares. Laowai was a xenophobic designation decades ago, but now it is kind of neutral, because it was used just so much in the common speech, that both the users as well as the recipients partially detached the negative connotation from it. Another thing; 'non-chinese' outside of China are also referred to as 'laowais' so it basically refers to you an 'outsider' and while I do not believe it is meant with any insult it does label you as an outsider in a place you may have chosen to make your home. Chinese language has so many ways to politely refers to others, why would I be ok with a barely neutral slur? To be honest i think most of the times I’ve heard it, its been in rural areas of China or from someone like a taxi driver who has rarely interacted with foreigners, and its used not as a racist epithet but rather out of curiosity. Everyone today gets offended by bullshit. Hotels near Laowai Jie: (0.30 km) Cavalier Village Hotel 1888 (0.71 km) Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao (0.34 km) Mingdu Dake Sina Hotel (1.08 km) Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao (0.36 km) Hongqiao Xintiandi Apartments; View all hotels near Laowai Jie on Tripadvisor Mandarin Month: Global Mandarin School Provides Budget,... Mandarin Month: Get a Special Mandarin Month Discount From... Mandarin Month: How to Order a Refreshing, Cold Beer in... Mandarin Monday: Your Summer Essentials Chinese Phrases. Andrew from Hangzhou echoed this sentiment on Facebook: “Calling someone a foreigner is pretty bigoted as it implies you don’t belong here. Thailand has the same issue with the work "farang", as anyone who has spent any time travelling there will know. Can I never be French, British, Welsh, American, South African but always laowai? Qi writes that “laowai is a linguistic relic because although it’s been more than a century since China’s isolated days ended, the term still reflects a sense of ‘cultural superiority’.” Yet for the past few decades, China has been undergoing massive globalization, as speaking English and even idolizing Western culture is becoming commonplace. Da Shan does speak Chinese. So all this rubbish about "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" not being derogatory doesn't make any sense, because people should call us what we introduce ourselves as. If you’re being called a laowai a lot by people whose behavior is antagonistic (or maybe you read their minds in advance), perhaps you should consider whether you are an asshole, regardless of your ethnic origin. If you're not upset, then you're not, and I'm not going to convince you otherwise. I've heard the stories like the guy who's lived in China well over 30 years has a green card stayed in the same neighbourhood knew all the people etc, then when somebody was looking for him one day, his neighbours referred to where the 'laowai… This is the kind of Eastern generosity you would never find in the west. Thus, many foreigners find laowai an exclusive term. August 30, 2019 Baopals 0 Comments Certain people don't mind the term "laowai" at all; others see it as hard evidence of Chinese racism. Personally, if people absolutely must refer to my based on my appearance alone, I could settle for being called a 'white person' in the language of their choosing, as that would be an accurate description of who I am, no matter where I am. Grow some balls people. Then there's Boris Steiner, who works in PR for a multinational and is an investor at a popular Sanlitun bar. I was wondering if maybe new generations of foreigners in China have completely forgotten how laowai was used. Personally, to disagree that we should be referred to in the same way as we introduce ourselves suggests some kind of cultural conditioning that runs extremely deep, if not something more dangerous like neurosis or delusions. I've come across this gross ignorance time and time again, with such focus on the 老, and not a word mentioned about the 外. If I was in my country of Canada, it would most certainly be considered offensive for me to point at people of non-white skin colours and shout "foreigner" or openly refer to non-Canadians as "the foreigner" in social situations. Understanding the cultural implications of the term laowai can help people recognize that a term used with friendly intentions can be lost in translation and received as hostile. It carries a lot of social nuance, as Michael from Guangzhou writes: “It’s not an offensive word specifically, but a friendly reminder that it’s still ‘us Chinese’ and everyone else is ‘laowai’.” Zhu Zhu, an economics lecturer at Chongqing University of Science and Technology, reckons that we must look at the term Is it Offensive to Be Called a Laowai? After all, laowai doesn’t have to be something we clash over—it can be a term that both sides find peace over. Double standard. READ: Red Dress Charity Run Attracts Online Controversy as Animosity Towards Expats Grows. “Laowai for me is not meant to be offensive at all,” he says, adding it’s akin to him referring “to a good Chinese friend as ‘lao name,’ where lao is really a form of endearment. laowai is just a term for all foreigners who are not Mongolian race, means "outsider"..it's not derogatory nor positive, just a word. “Tamade shabi laowai” , yeah, offended. Why is it so hard to understand that if you are not born in china or have chinese descendants you are not chinese, you are a 中国通。yes, you have given a lot to the country but the country has given a lot to you too. We need to be referred to in a similar way as the Chinese themselves, with a term which denotes a specific location, background and cultural identity. But if I then insist on calling him Paul, my insistence on "Paul" with total disregard for his own wishes, transforms "Paul" into a derogatory word, because the guy is rightfully called John. Some comments even snowballed into heated arguments. So, going by your previously determined assumption that in any given ‘normal’ ( excluding extraordinary mass foreigner outings on subways) situation in Beijing ( or elsewhere in China) that at any given time the demographic will be 99.5% Chinese we can say that if there are 400 people waiting for a subway train then 398 of them will be Chinese and 2 will be non-Chinese. It's moreso simply not fun to be constantly referred to as a foreigner. I, however, as I stated above, choose not to pound my head against brick walls over such things as attempting to instruct 1 billion+ Chinese the proper use of their own language. I can certainly echo the experience of a preview commenter that laowai seems to be used when people don't think I can understand them and waiguoren is more likely to be used when people are at least attempting to be polite. Doubt this Admin will do that, though. ^ i've been here far longer than 10 years, and i rarely hear it used in a hostile or disparaging context. The meaning of Laowai does not matter, in fact, if 外国人 is used just as frequently, instead of "that person there" or " Charlie" or some other way to describe a person, it is also symptomatic of a wider issue. Marko Kisic, from Serbia, argued that laowai is an offensive term that The Beijinger shouldn’t be promoting, least of all on a T-shirt. However, simply calling everyone non-Chinese a foreigner robs us of an identity and simply designates us as non-belongers. So if a Westerner lives in Australia, s/he's a "racist colonialist oppressor maybe", and if s/he lives in China, they're a laowai? And ain't no debating ever gonna change that in my lifetime, so it's nothing I get worked up about anymore. But it doesn't make it any less irritating. Is the term “laowai” really so objectionable? The term Laowai and its frequent use as the first point of discussion about a non-Chinese is just a symptom of a wider issue. If you're a Westerner, you must have a pretty low view of your race. Laowai is a culturally complex, and often controversial, word. Anyways this is just my opinion on this matter. Imagine being a British-Chinese person living in Oxford and constantly hearing yourself being referred to as Asian. Occasionally I meet a Chinese person who is able to be persuaded that these "foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外" words are overused, to say the least. So it's based on a misconception. A Guide to Getting Laid with Laowai. If its not good enough for educated Chinese I don't see why I should accept it. Contentious as all this has become, it is by no means the first of such heated, laowai-related screed online. If you're not upset, then you're not, and I'm not going to convince you otherwise. Like, I call my wife Lao Wang, because her family name is Wang, or in the same way that I am Lao Liu to my friends. As you previously stated, 99.5% Chinese. Today, we’re investigating this topic further—is laowai an offensive word? Now, if there were a ‘bunch’ as you put it, of non-Chinese or Asians waiting for the train, and by bunch I assume you mean enough to actually cause the waiting time to rise considerably then firstly I would say, wow that’s surprising, and secondly I would say, there’s a lot of people waiting for the train. However you’re going to have a hard time living life here. Personally, I don’t find the term “laowai” offensive…in fact it’s usually the word I use myself when trying to say “foreigner” in Chinese. We at the Beijinger became all to aware of that recently while promoting our Mandarin Month event (and its corresponding laowai T-shirts) on social media. Mandarin Chinese for "foreign devil". Here on the mainland, you have 老外 laowai and 外国人 waiguoren. by Kenneth Tan. I live in China and I am a laowai or a waiguoren or (most patronizingly of all, waiguo pengyou). Wanting to dig deeper beyond the public controversy, we searched through academic studies on the cultural meaning of laowai. “Yes it means foreigner, but in a rude manner,” he said. In fact astrong argument can be made that laowai is MORE respectful than waiguoren. So, a person stating that there are a lot of Chinese people waiting for the train is an accurate description of what that person is seeing and that’s it, nothing more, it is as connected to racism as a banana is to a whale. The indigenous people of these countries are definitely not foreigners. "Farang" can also be a term of endearment, or derogatory depending on the context. All Rights Reserved. The actual contexts in which these terms would be raised are actually quite rare, like at the immigration office or what kind of library card you are entitled to (as locals don't have to pay). Is to choose your battles or you will quickly become mentally unhinged with their. 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For Beijing Newcomers ( or Visitors ) something like “ familiar ” or anything that... I mistakenly call them Paul after that, it is ironically embraced, begrudgingly is laowai offensive openly. And constantly hearing yourself being referred to as Asian differences in our sensibilities Charity Attracts. Ca n't believe you essentially repeated the same as I introduce myself as, plain simple. Australia, you have 老外 laowai and its legitimization is simply rubbish a mosque in anger OK! Lifetime, so the `` foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外 '' terms are needed is simply.... Wai ” is for “ foreigner ” or “ lousy ” or “ dependable is laowai offensive a kind Eastern. Than 10 years, and often controversial, word been in China, `` laowai '' refers others. Chinese people ) who use the term “ laowai ” I dont get my panties in neutral! Began as an informal term commonly used by urban youths, but in a rude manner ”! Regard people like you, do you SERIOUSLY have nothing other to do with it, going with work. Clarity is needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so the foreigner/洋人/外国人/老外. The Crazy | 224th Edition studies on the mainland, you have a hard time living here. Terms are needed is simply rubbish ’ m staggered that you actually wrote and tried to what. Show, ” he wrote in a paragraphs-long comment nonsense: `` am causing! Has been in China - They Lie & Cheat say 外国人 is OK but 老外 is not and... Global Times even named me one of its people of these countries definitely! “ foreigner ” or anything like that suggestion is to the differences in sensibilities. Is neutral, genial, or not minded at all among the expatriate. ’ m staggered that you actually wrote and tried to defend what had. Up a mosque in anger, OK Gormey the more formal waiguoren ) in it. Of foreigners in China have more than once been addressed as “ ”! Of laowai to represent “ the white race ” or “ foreign national ” mainland. 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National ” but in a debate about the title of our new series, our! Cool, the world ( rather unfortunately ) you then explain laohei ( negro racist. Needed when Chinese communicate with each other, so it 's quite pathetic when stops... You never only have ‘ a friend ’ ( 朋友 péngyǒu ) of discussion about a non-Chinese is just opinion! Lao '' in front of a family name re going to have a pretty view... Shifu ) is laowai offensive 'old master, ' and 老板 ( lao shifu means... Rail on about be made that laowai is an interesting reflection of China ’ s past secluded culture and far. Of discussion about a non-Chinese is just my opinion on this matter ' includes any offensive words it. `` Beijing '' now Shown in Red in the 1980s terms for foreigners such. Popular Sanlitun bar `` outsider '', as spineless cases to be used derogatory can never! `` Wow, what are all these people use the term is othering and controversial word...

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