8 Ang Moh Adjectives

Ang Moh as a Noun

The Singlish term ‘Ang Moh’ is used to refer to a Caucasian or white person in Malaysia and Singapore. Ang moh (simplified Chinese: 红毛; pinyin: hóng máo) is a racial epithet that originates from Hokkien (Min Nan). The literal translation of the Mandarin is “red hair”, although the phrase is now used to refer to any Caucasian, regardless of hair colour.

It may be described as a “racial epithet”, however it’s nowhere near as powerful and charged a word as some racial epithets in the US or UK.

For this reason I have not included the following Hokkien phrases in the list of adjectives further down the page:

  • Ang Mo Kow (red-haired monkeys)
  • Ang Mo Gui (red-haired devil)

Ang Moh as an Adjective

 

Ang Moh has entered common usage in Singapore and Malaysia and refers to a Caucasian person or, when used as an adjective, Western culture in general.

The list below would be quite useful for people (Please forward to your Ang Moh friends) who may get a little defensive if they overhear people talk about ‘Ang Moh’, little realising that it could be about something as innocent as soursop.

So here we include some common Ang Moh adjectives:

Phrase

Translated

What it means

Ang Mo Char Bor

Western WomanA woman from a Western country

Ang Mo Hee

Western MoviesMovies from Western countries

Ang Mo Kia

Western childA child from a Western country

Ang Mo Lang

Western PeoplePeople from Western countires

Ang Moh Liu Lian

Western DurianSoursop

Ang Moh Pai

Western FactionWesternised Chinese Singaporean (or speaks poor Chinese)

Ang Moh Tau Eu

Western Soya SauceWorcester Sauce

Yi Ka Wa Kong Ang Moh

He speak western to meHe spoke in a Western (English) language to me

Cannot Make It (CMI)

These Ang Mo phrases cannot be included in the list above as they are nouns only:

Ang Mo Dan = Western Dan Rambutan

Ang Mo kio = Who Put the Ang Mo in Ang Mo Kio?

Ang Mo Supermarket = Expansiveness and Prosperity (same Chinese characters as Ang Mo Kio) Supermarket

angmosupermarket

Final Note

I have not discussed if ang moh is derogatory or not. All I shall say is that in English we may sometimes call groups of people, with affection or without malice, as ‘Asian’ or ‘black’. However it is possible to use ‘Name calling’ for any of these terms and therefore they can be used in a derogatory manner: e.g. something something Ang Moh; something black something; something Asian something etc.

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