Ang Moh

When you live in Singapore as an European, you will get one of these days called by the locals ‘Ang Moh‘. Ang moh is a racial epithet describing White people. It literally means “red-haired” and originates from Hokkien (Min Nan). Other similar terms include ang mo kow (red-haired monkeys), ang mo gui (red-haired devil), ang mo lang (red-haired people). The usage is similar as in the Cantonese term gweilo, which means ‘devil person‘.

I am strongly against the use of that epithet. It is disgraceful, derogatory and disrespectful to call someone based on his or her race. That is pure racism! That I am a white person will not say that I like to be called a White. Call for example an African-American the famous n-word or simply ‘black’ and you have immediately a fist in your face. Likewise with aboriginals being called black or Asians in Australia called ‘Yellow People’. Why we as the European race, have to accept that we are called on daily base ‘red hair devils‘ by the Chinese population in this country?  We also don’t call the local Chinese people ‘ching-dong’, ‘rice-dick’, ‘zipper-head’, ‘Gook’, ‘Chinky’, ‘flat-faces’ or ‘yellow-slanted-eyes’.

So although it is socially acceptable to call Caucasians ‘ang moh’ here in Singapore – it would be nice if everybody thought of the double standard.. especially the fact that they use it on television and radio! Imagine using the term ‘yellows’ or ‘blacks’ on television or radio in the USA, Australia or Europe – you have immediately an uproar!!!

Racism, also called racialism,  any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview—the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races,” that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral features, and that some races are innately superior to others [1].

Calling any European person ‘Ang Moh’ is based on racism according above statement. Especially when you know that Ang Moh is coming from Ang Moh Gui, which means ‘red hair devil‘. In that context means red hair not because some Europeans have red hair but because devils have red hair!

[M]any of my Singaporean friends felt the term ‘ang moh’ was definitely racist. Said one, with surprising finality: ‘The original term was “ang moh gui” which means “red hair devil” in Hokkien. That’s definitely racist.’ However, the ‘gui’ bit has long been dropped from the term, defanging it considerably. … Both ‘ang moh gui’ and ‘gwailo’ – Cantonese for ‘devil person’ – originated from the initial Chinese suspicion of foreigners way back in those days when the country saw itself as the Middle Kingdom.”; – Ong Soh Chin, Straits Times Life! Section (30 October 2004)

“Stop calling me ang moh As an ‘ang moh’ who has lived here for over six years, I hope more people will realise just how offensive the term is.” – Sean Ashley, Straits Times Life! Section (5 November 2004)

The term also appears, for instance, in Singaporean newspapers such as The Straits Times. Why is a English volunteer in the sample below called for red hair devil in the newspapers and not simply Caucasian? They do it with the other races and why not with the Caucasians? This proofs to me that the state controlled Straits Times has double standards regarding races!

Michael D. Sargent (21 October 2007), “Lessons for this gweilo and ang moh”The Straits Times;

Jamie Ee Wen Wei (11 November 2007), “Meet Bukit Panjang’s ‘ang moh leader’: Englishman is one of 900 permanent residents who volunteer at grassroots groups, and the number could rise with more foreigners becoming PRs”, The Straits Times.

The term ‘ang moh’ is already a classification by race first, and individual identity of the person later. Therefore it can be seen always as a racial statement against the Caucasians.

The Singaporean Government should immediately forbidto use any longer the term ‘Ang Moh’ and teach to use the proper word. If you are as government serious about racial harmony, you don’t accept that any racial group in Singapore gets discriminated.

Sources: (1) Urban Dictionary;

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3 Responses to “Ang Moh”

  1. Opinionated Man Says:

    The eyes would be slanted… not yellow. Mine are brown actually. :+)

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