Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What they call you: Slang Terms for White Westerners

As a white-westerner travels and explores the world they will find themselves in the unfamiliar position of a  minority.  Along with the physical and cultural characteristics which divide the foreign traveler  from their surroundings comes new nicknames based on racial features.  Most of the terms in the following list are not meant to be offensive but are simply a way locals describe the unfamiliar people that visit their country.

Mandarin: 老外 lǎowài

Cantonese: 鬼佬 gweilo (used in Hong Kong and southern China)

Hokkien: 红毛 ang moh (used in Singapore and Malaysia)

Taiwanese: a-tok-a (used in Taiwan, meaning approximately "big nose")

Cambodian: barang (foreigner) 

Filipino: kanô, derived from "amerikano" (American). Another common one is "puti", denoting the colour white.

Haitian Creole: blan (from the French word for white, "blanc")

Hindi: firangi, pardesi (foreigner), gora (white or fair skinned)

Indonesian: bule (albino)

Japanese: 外人 gaijin,(literally "outsider, foreigner")

Korean: 외국인 wehgukin, (literally "foreigner". Used for all non-Koreans), 백인 (baeg-in, literally "white people")

Lao: falang, pome sii dang (red head)

Malay: mat salleh (derived from "mad sailor")

Persian: فرنگى farangi

Portuguese/Spanish: Gringo

Thai: ฝรั่ง farang

Turkish: frenk

Vietnamese: tây
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