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

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hiking out
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Postby hiking out » Wed, 11 Jun 2008 10:56 am

what about the term Mongoloid? Is it acceptable then?
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 11 Jun 2008 11:12 am

hiking out wrote:what about the term Mongoloid? Is it acceptable then?


Acceptable for what? It all depends on how the recipient feels about it. If you call them that and they knock your teeth down your throat, then you know it's not acceptable. Thereafter you would tend to think before opening your mouth. Much easier to think "before" you open your mouth. Also saves teeth.

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Postby hiking out » Wed, 11 Jun 2008 7:45 pm

a rhetorical question.

going by some of the arguments here, should the same term be permitted to refer to east asians and people with Down Syndrome. Double standards?

granted that one should be sensitive to others, I am of the context and tone persuasion and would use the term only with Caucasians I am familiar with.
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Postby pollyminaz » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 12:17 am

Well, you can't force us locals to suddenly switch to using another word just because the country is becoming cosmopolitan or whatever... i mean, its not right or wrong. Its just a matter of ease of usage.

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Postby Turtle » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 12:26 am

Well no, nobody can force anyone to use a different word. You could call caucasians any word you wanted to (within the limits of the law). As for right or wrong, it depends on what you believe to be right or wrong. I personally believe that it's wrong to call someone (or a race of people) by a name that they dislike, but that's my own opinion. If people want to be accommodating then that would be nice, but if not then they're perfectly within their rights not to be. I personally feel that "culture" is used far too often as a guilt-free excuse to do whatever you want, but Europeans have probably done this enough over the years not to be able to force others not to.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 12:29 am

Turtle, you MUST watch Kungfu Panda. You are SO Master Wu Gui. I'm a fan. :in love:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 9:20 am

Turtle wrote:I personally feel that "culture" is used far too often as a guilt-free excuse to do whatever you want, but Europeans have probably done this enough over the years not to be able to force others not to.


The other excuse is "we are pragmatic" which is not an answer but is used to convey the though that rudeness or inconsiderate behaviour is okay because they are being "pragmatic".

Hope WIMH means that in a "pragmatic" sense and not a physical sense! :P

Hiking out, we are both of the same though processes here. I don't generally mind it in a familiar setting among friends but when used by strangers I'm a bit peeved. Especially when the tone is not perceived be me to be familiar. It kind of like the black community in the US. They use the N-word amongst themselves often but not in a derogatory tone, but if If a white were to use it it is derogatory (usually tone of voice or otherwise). This might be wrong but it's the way things are. We need to respect each other sensitivities. If it takes learning a new word then do it.

pollyminaz, it's your attitude that causes the hard feelings sometimes. "We can do as we want cause it's our country and if you don't like it leave". It IS a matter of right and wrong.

Unfortunately, your government doesn't quite see it that way. However, they are also afraid to put teeth into a lot of laws, preferring to coax people to do differently. That is why 30+ years of courtesy campaigns has been a total flop. Bad habits won't change without giving someone a compelling reason to change besides "it should be done".

And no, I'll never get to be a Master Wu Gui I'm afraid. :wink:

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 10:57 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Hope WIMH means that in a "pragmatic" sense and not a physical sense! :P

Eh? Mean what? What did I say?

sundaymorningstaple wrote:pollyminaz, it's your attitude that causes the hard feelings sometimes. "We can do as we want cause it's our country and if you don't like it leave". It IS a matter of right and wrong.

I don't think there's right and wrong about this. But I do agree that there are helpful and unhelpful ways of thinking about it. I understand where Polly comes from - in a sense it is pompous of expats to walk into Singapore and tell us "because we're here, you should all change your thinking and language to suit us." On the other hand, I can finally see the situation (with regard to both Singapore and this forum) from an outsider's perspective, thanks to Master Wu Gui's calm and patient explanation. This thread has made me a convert. I'll even stop grumbling at the incessant grumbling here! :wink:

sundaymorningstaple wrote:And no, I'll never get to be a Master Wu Gui I'm afraid. :wink:

Nor I. You would have gotten my vote for Panda except that now you're far too skinny! But I wish for you the fate of the Rat Shifu - that you will soon find peace in your heart. :kiss:

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Postby Turtle » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 11:55 am

You can rub my shell for luck if you want. :)

I think the driving force behind this is globalisation. These days, if a colleague in Toronto or Johannesburg or Munich has a question, he can ask me for free right away, and I can respond for free right away. No telegrams needed. It's perfectly normal for people to travel to a different continent for holidays every year, and it takes just a few hours to do so. This means that culturally, no one can be an island. We have to meet halfway simply because having "foreigners" in your country is no longer strange or unusual in the slightest, nor is it unusual for you yourself to be in a foreign country. Expats can't expect their new country to be just like home; likewise locals can't say "my father was a cannibal and my grandfather was a cannibal, so stop whining and get in the damn pot!".

Put it this way - technology has come so far that crossing the world and travelling 10,000 km is no longer a big deal. Wouldn't it be a huge shame if despite this, people were too stubborn to bridge and solve the culture/comfort gap, when it takes only effort and goodwill to do so?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 1:20 pm

Turtle wrote:You can rub my shell for luck if you want. :)

I think the driving force behind this is globalisation. These days, if a colleague in Toronto or Johannesburg or Munich has a question, he can ask me for free right away, and I can respond for free right away. No telegrams needed. It's perfectly normal for people to travel to a different continent for holidays every year, and it takes just a few hours to do so. This means that culturally, no one can be an island. We have to meet halfway simply because having "foreigners" in your country is no longer strange or unusual in the slightest, nor is it unusual for you yourself to be in a foreign country. Expats can't expect their new country to be just like home; likewise locals can't say "my father was a cannibal and my grandfather was a cannibal, so stop whining and get in the damn pot!".

Put it this way - technology has come so far that crossing the world and travelling 10,000 km is no longer a big deal. Wouldn't it be a huge shame if despite this, people were too stubborn to bridge and solve the culture/comfort gap, when it takes only effort and goodwill to do so?


=D> Word!

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Postby EADG » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 11:19 pm

A lot of talk about a simple choice to be considerate.

I'm probably just reiterating what Turtle says better than I, but it's like don't-stick-the-chopsticks-in-the-rice-because-it's-rude-and-represent-death-etc. thing that conscientious foreigners make the effort to observe when in an Asian country. Some of them anyway.

If you even think it might be offensive why say it when there are other ways to say the same thing? (and at the same time not make you look like a person who could care less?)
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Postby EADG » Thu, 12 Jun 2008 11:21 pm

that last double-negative confused even me
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Postby pollyminaz » Fri, 13 Jun 2008 12:09 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
pollyminaz, it's your attitude that causes the hard feelings sometimes. "We can do as we want cause it's our country and if you don't like it leave". It IS a matter of right and wrong.


You got me all wrong here. What i mean is...
Yes, on one hand, its basically : We can do as we want cause it's our country and if you don't like it leave.
BUT on the other hand, how are we suppose to know that caucasions don't like us using the word? We've been using the word for decades and no one has complained. (if there is, we haven't heard of it.) So why is it even a matter of right or wrong?

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
However, they are also afraid to put teeth into a lot of laws, preferring to coax people to do differently. That is why 30+ years of courtesy campaigns has been a total flop. Bad habits won't change without giving someone a compelling reason to change besides "it should be done".

Actually, I sort of agree with you on this part. :)

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Postby ksl » Fri, 13 Jun 2008 12:44 am

I was tapped on my shoulder the other day,on the MRT, and a seat was offered me, it was quite funny, becasue I thought the guy looked twice my age :) and he needed it, then I thought god, maybe he thinks I am twice his age :lol: :oops: I let him have it anyway, my vanity got the better of me!

I think change takes place all the time for the better, we just don't notice it so much, many of the young people say excuse me, if they want to get past...rather than pushing me, although that may have something to do, with my size, I have noticed more calm in myself too, when the crowd is around me! I get the impression people are looking into space, rather than looking at me, they appear to be totally blank for a minute or two, you can always tell, because they start digging too :oops:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 13 Jun 2008 12:56 am

pollyminaz wrote:We've been using the word for decades and no one has complained. (if there is, we haven't heard of it.) So why is it even a matter of right or wrong?


Therein lies part of the problem. Most expats of yesteryear were much to courteous to complain to your face and possibly make you lose face. Instead they went to the British Club Bar or the Bar at the American Club or Cricket club and vented there anger there. Nowdays, we do it on "EXPAT" forums. But unfortunately or fortunately (some of both) there is no doorman to keep out the local so the come here and get an earful then get upset at what they heard because you are now hearing what has always been but doing it under the cloak of anonymity. The truth of the matter hurts and then causes the all to familiar stupid refrain of "you do know haw to get to changi airport right?" Instead of trying to see it from the other side's sensitivities.


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