16 November 2008

farangs, take two

I got scolded. I got scolded when I asked if there were any derogatory connotations in the word farang, like there is in a similar Taiwanese word.

Thais are positive, K. Ake, said. Kind, positive people. Not condescending people. Clearly he hasn't been exposed to many of my ancestry.

farangs refer to white people, usually the stereotype of blond hair, blue eyes.
Africans are called kong dam, literal translation, black people.
Asians are kong asia, no further explanation needed.

Basically, most of the terminology refers to skin colour, as it was the way to classify people way back in the day. Because people have migrated around and a lot of western societies have become more multicultural, farang now has expanded to include anyone who is English-speaking.

Likewise, K. Ake acknowledged you won't hear many of the more educated Thais say kong dam because they know it can be taken poorly and perceived as offensive.

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