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Ang Moh = Red Hair = Whitey, but does it = Rude?

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Postby Plavt » Sun, 29 Jun 2008 3:32 pm

The word 'Jap' often offends and at one time was listed as racist in at least one dictionary. Although many use it out of laziness rather than meaning any harm, better than another term sometimes used by English contemporaries though.

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Postby kaseyma » Sun, 29 Jun 2008 9:21 pm

Levikane wrote:
kaseyma wrote:^ It's not "politically correct" in the US, where it had previously been used as a derogatory slur.


Yes, but you're not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.

Who the hell are you to get sensitive about where I am?

What I wrote was merely an explanation for someone who is not from the US to understand why some who obviously are consider it a "bad word."
I am well aware how it is used in SG and why he did not see it as being a "bad word."

Try reading the context first before you overreact.

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Postby Levikane » Mon, 30 Jun 2008 1:32 pm

*Groan*, dare I respond? I get criticised as being the *sensitive* one?

A lot of context is lost in a text-only environment such as this; Suggest you don't assume the worst and jump to conclusions about meaning and intent, especially in such a multicultural forum as this.

You were merely providing an explanation about the etymology of the term in an American context, while I was merely providing an observation that this sentiment doesn't really apply here. Far as I'm concerned our statements are equal, but it seems my humour is not quite the same as your humor. Perhaps you could also try reading the context first before you overreact?

There was no malice or ill-will intended.

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Postby kaseyma » Mon, 30 Jun 2008 10:16 pm

Methinks thou dost protest too much.
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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 01 Jul 2008 5:02 am

Petales Soufflez! wrote:In Singapore we lived thru the Japanese Occupation and we have already moved on - in case nobody noticed. Jap pop stars, movies, music, mangas, food etc are hot here. We watch the annual Red and White Song Festival. :P


My aunt and grandma would talk about the WWII atrocities committed in SG. A common practice was to round up all the Chinese educated civilian men (as they were fiercely loyal to China and would aid in the fight to drive out the Japanese from China whereas the English educated were spared)and place them in a row (on the beach if I remember correctly?) and squad would fire at them. My paternal grandpa was one of them but by miraculously, he survived :o .

Do my generation feel hatred towards them? Nope. In fact many of us were infactuated with their pop culture. And Red and White Song festival epitomize this as all my family members would gather round the TV. It is part of New Year ritual in our family. And I still remember the Seiko Matsuda vs Akina Nakamori fans. And when I moved to USA, my ex-Japanese boyfriend would record and shipped it to me. However, the local US Japanese TV had started broadcasting the event many years ago.

The word "Japs" is widely used in SG for short. No derogatory association. It actually took me many years in the US to find that out. And I immediately learnt to discard it from my vocabulary. And one thing that fascinated me about life in the USA is this constant association of negatism / positism to a seemingly neutral words e.g. Chin short for chinese, and the term Oriental. However, not all culture work that way. And it can easily disrupt into misunderstanding. My childhood girlfriend came to my wedding in USA and she was questioning about somebody's race. There was a very brief silence in the group and I later had to "educate" her that it is impolite to do so in USA. Cultural sensitivity is a very tricky thing indeed. What is seemingly harmless to one group may be unacceptable behavior to another. Hence I think it is important not to impose our personal societal value on someone outside of the group. Imagine all the conflicts that would result. However, there is no harm in "educating" the other person about one's culture as to what's acceptable and what's not. But to force everyone to live by our rule, I think that can result in lots of friction.

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 01 Jul 2008 7:21 am

I am also curious how the term "Japs" is being percieved within Japan. Does it have the same negative connotation? I do understand that English is not widely used there.

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Postby jpatokal » Thu, 03 Jul 2008 3:14 am

earthfriendly wrote:I am also curious how the term "Japs" is being percieved within Japan. Does it have the same negative connotation? I do understand that English is not widely used there.

As you said, it's not really used within Japan, so it doesn't have much of connotation. (I recall there being a bit of flap at the Nagano Olympics, where Japan was using "JAP" to abbreviate itself, but had to change to "JPN" because viewers in the US were complaining!) About the only context that I know of where it's used in Japanese is jappu-basshingu ("Jap-bashing"), the Japanese term for unfair criticism of Japan or the Japanese. It's obviously imported from English and negative in tone, but as a whole, not because it's got "Jap" in there.

The Japanese I know in Singapore are generally aware that "Jap" is a negative term in America, but aren't much if at all bothered by the Singaporean style of using it as an abbreviation.
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Postby EADG » Thu, 03 Jul 2008 10:06 am

seems like we've nicely sequed back to the "chink" conversation, eh?

the dergoatory term "Jap" is not only an American thing BTW

some Japanese I know do not prefer the term

the simple point is, and what you have to ask yourself before uttering things like this (or "Chink", etc.), is if it's known to be or just potentially offensive, then why not kick things up a notch and find a better alternative?

the alternative to that is to remain blissfully ignorant

having said that, I also agree with most of what jp & ef say here


Interestingly, "JAP" is actually ok, but that would probably sail effortlessly over the heads of most here. Not to obfuscate things.....
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Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 03 Jul 2008 2:00 pm

A poster, depicting tortoise wearing a helmet, being used to promote safety for construction workers faces strong objection. The poster was the winning entry selected from a contest. Here's the different POV.

Chinese construction: "There are so many other animals to choose from. Why do they have to use the tortoise"? "If I were to be called a tortoise in China, the conversation would end in blows." In Chinese culture, being called a "tortoise" implies that one is an illegitimate child or a coward.

Creator of the poster, Mr Tan Jun Kiat: "The tortoise symbolises longevity. I've used Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare to show that the tortoise, who follows safety guidelines, will eventually beat the arrogant hare."

Judging panel: "Although the feedback was unanticipated at the time of judging, we should acknowledge differing cultural perceptions." "Perhaps Aesop's fables aren't as universally appreciated as we thought."

Same animal but different perception by the same group of people i.e. ethnic Chinese :o .

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Postby ksl » Thu, 03 Jul 2008 11:57 pm

Judging panel: "Although the feedback was unanticipated at the time of judging, we should acknowledge differing cultural perceptions." "Perhaps Aesop's fables aren't as universally appreciated as we thought."

Same animal but different perception by the same group of people i.e. ethnic Chinese .
This is simply why I cannot be moved too much, by words, because that's all they are, it's how they are perceived to be said that matters, and personally I would not intentionally offend anyone myself by calling names, I have just never seen the point of trying to indoctrinate or have a derogatory feeling towards race, to be honest i just do not understand the reasons, even though I come from a very rough and working class area, although we are all aware of the words that are used the world over, within our public circles of life, if I hear the terms used every second word, I am likely to say something, but in general I tolerate words, and expressions from others, but i do have a boundary, even though it isn't relevant to my person.

For me, I am not in the habit of swearing in front of my children, and there was a time in my life, where it wouldn't be tolerated, but generations change and the elders become outnumbered, with no respect on the street.

That is life, we all have to live with, and if you step out of line, you are likely to be jumped on by a mass of cowards, or find yourself dealing with a psychopathic lunatic, but I still say bring em on, a one to one is fine by me, any day of the week :) Although the skin wears a bit thin at our age, the spirit lives on :wink:

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Postby banana » Fri, 04 Jul 2008 3:26 pm

ksl wrote:
Judging panel: "Although the feedback was unanticipated at the time of judging, we should acknowledge differing cultural perceptions." "Perhaps Aesop's fables aren't as universally appreciated as we thought."

Same animal but different perception by the same group of people i.e. ethnic Chinese .
This is simply why I cannot be moved too much, by words, because that's all they are, it's how they are perceived to be said that matters, and personally I would not intentionally offend anyone myself by calling names, I have just never seen the point of trying to indoctrinate or have a derogatory feeling towards race, to be honest i just do not understand the reasons, even though I come from a very rough and working class area, although we are all aware of the words that are used the world over, within our public circles of life, if I hear the terms used every second word, I am likely to say something, but in general I tolerate words, and expressions from others, but i do have a boundary, even though it isn't relevant to my person.

For me, I am not in the habit of swearing in front of my children, and there was a time in my life, where it wouldn't be tolerated, but generations change and the elders become outnumbered, with no respect on the street.

That is life, we all have to live with, and if you step out of line, you are likely to be jumped on by a mass of cowards, or find yourself dealing with a psychopathic lunatic, but I still say bring em on, a one to one is fine by me, any day of the week :) Although the skin wears a bit thin at our age, the spirit lives on :wink:


That's imposing your values on everyone else though. For example, I have no problems with being called Chink by pretty much anyone (unless they were obviously being malicious and racist). It's just a word, I brush it off as a joke. Hell sometimes I call white people nigga. It's meant to be ironic. If they don't get it, fine. Explain, apologise, move on.

On the other hand, people who think they have total right to self expression to the point where they tell you in your face your way of thinking is not just flawed but completely wrong smacks of bigotry. It's evident they are not even trying to understand where you're coming from. The irony in this situation is that these personality types can't take having the same style of 'self expression' thrown back at them.
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 04 Jul 2008 7:15 pm

banana wrote:I have no problems with being called Chink by pretty much anyone (unless they were obviously being malicious and racist).

Same here. Some of us have enough sense to go beyond mere words to the meaning and intention.

banana wrote:On the other hand, people who think they have total right to self expression to the point where they tell you in your face your way of thinking is not just flawed but completely wrong smacks of bigotry

I'm glad you said this. I posted at least twice, to the effect of "get off our backs and stop telling us what we can and cannot say" and deleted both posts because they weren't pleasant and I rather like many of the posters who have expressed such views. But really, I've had it up to my eyeballs of this political correctness being shoved down our throats (pardon the mixed metaphors).

If you don't want me to call you "ang***" then fine, I will respect that. But when you tell me I cannot call a Japanese "Jap" even if he himself doesn't mind, and I cannot call a Chinese "Chink" even if he himself doesn't mind, then I'm sorry, you've overstepped personal preference and crossed the line to putting your nose where it doesn't belong.

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Postby EADG » Sun, 06 Jul 2008 11:45 pm

missing the point eloquently is still missing the point
Last edited by EADG on Mon, 07 Jul 2008 1:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby EADG » Sun, 06 Jul 2008 11:53 pm

brother, I've always found myself in agreement with about 99% of what you post, and what you described is the conundrum

banana wrote: I have no problems with being called Chink by pretty much anyone (unless they were obviously being malicious and racist)...Hell sometimes I call white people nigga. It's meant to be ironic.


agree with the caveat that these are the only ways those words can be used - with well-placed irony between trusted friends where everyone is hip to the humor, or, when being intentionally and antagonistically racist in the ugliest way possible

there is no middle ground for words like these
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Postby ksl » Mon, 07 Jul 2008 1:20 am

I was going to reply long ago, although i thought it best, to let someone, else have their say, in case i was maybe getting the wrong message, however I don't think that was the case.

I believe it's very easy to misinterpret ate text, and I believe Banana did just that. I had no intentions whatsoever of imposing anything at all on people, my belief is that i don't wish to complicate life, but like to flow with it, if you can understand that, and the only way for me is to be worldly, learn quickly, to wise up and look at the world from the outside, rather than a the bubble that I am in.

I've travelled a great dea around the world, always alone, and been in some heavy, bad, wrong call them what you will places, and one needs to be a little smarter than the dumb dork, of follow my leader, or the crowd, call it what you will. I've played russian roulette with my life on more than one occassion, and been very lucky to survive, and I've never said a word to offend anyone.

You just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you will know what i mean, alcohol being the most abused, drug of all. Although if you have a death wish, it helps to go out in stile. :)

This world is full of dangers and the quicker one realises the fact, the longer one may remain standing.

I have never ever felt, that I have to mimic the goons that i drink with, or for that matter, sit by and watch them insult and abuse others, because they are on their own turf, I'm not a fan of bullies, or even the wise cracks, if offense is in the air, and i don't follow the norm. I would rather not be in the same company of friends, if they cannot agree to respect others around them.

( The word Jap, may not be known to be derogatory word in Singapore, but it may well be to Japanese people and if one is warned that it is derogatory, it doesn't give Singaporeans the right to continue using it, the same goes for everyone, and it would be highly embarrassing and offensive to use in a group of friends, with a japanese guest. )

Look at the Brits and larger louts how they behave, it is not typical of British people, it's shameful behaviour, which i distant myself from.

I see people as equal and treat them with respect, that they deserve, with no question asked and all the terms, nicks and call it what you want, doesn't come into it.

It's kind of like when I took the first foreign person home to my own turf, and my brother and his mates thought it would be polite to talk in long drawn out syllables, to try and help the guy understand, ignorance doesn't help

I can only say that even people on their own turf, end up with surprises, and that it's too late to apologise, when you are picking your arse up off the floor. :wink: The easiest way is to not provoke, whoever is around you.

Don't ever expect any argument, or complaint from those that mean business, because the crowd around you means nothing to those that will.

In other words don't believe that life is not unpredictable, because it is very undpredictable, take for example the guys, that dance on the MRT, they never bother anyone, yet, they where sliced with samarai swords, was it thursday or friday.

I'm sure there is a chinese proverb that fits, the problem, but one really needs, not to step on peoples toes, if it can be helped. Because in many circumstance apologies are not even required. :wink: and the shock of what happens will turn the soil on your own turf.


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