"WAI GUO REN" Nali, Nali?

I always do it to…

“Waiguoren!! Waiguoren!!”

I reply in my best incredulous voice.

“Yo ma? Tsai na li?”

If they’re cute kids, I might tease them for a minute. The ones that really annoy me are the ones that follow you silently all over the store, like ghosts, staring at you and your family. To them I am usually more curt.


You’re right about it not being an insult - well, not many racial words start out as insults but pretty soon, dpending on the context, it becomes an insult. One collegue told me to “take it as a compliment”, hmmmm…

The point is if we don’t say something about it then who will educate them. In the case of the kids it certainly won’t be the parents who sit by without saying a word. Is it really neccessary to declare an easy to see fact, I mean if I blurt out every obvious thing I’d be labelled an “idiot” at home.

I suppose just like Vorkosigan I am a family man and I don’t appreciate my son being the object of such comments. Even though he is Taiwanese we get the usual barrage of stares and comments and people following us about. It does depend on the people though.

Just don’t call me “Mei Guo Ren” and I’ll be ok. :wink:

One thing I’m thankful for is that I live in a small town and a large number of people can call me by name so I don’t hear “WAI GOU REN” as much as I used to, but there are the odd times when it’s late and I’m tired that I pull out the old “nar li, narli?”. But usually my wife gets in first with a more polite response, being a local and all it sounds much better than a remark from me. :slight_smile:

Another one I sometimes use when I’m not in the best of moods is “Yo waiguoren, zenme yang?” (pardon my romanization there!)
“There’s a foreigner, so what?”

I have often wondered what people are thinking when they say “waiguoren”. Do you they simply mean “Oh, there is a foreigner among us!” or is it “Here come’s a foreigner” or “I have spotted a foreigner”. What do they mean really? If it is something like one of the three listed above, I just don’t get the point of stating the obvious fact that there is a foreigner. It just seems dumb to me.

There is a foreigner - so what?

About the “waiguoren” as insult thing - as I mentioned before I think it depends how it is said. Most of the time it is an inocuous if mindless remark. Sometimes though it sounds, to my ear at least, downright disrespectful, especially for some reason when in the taiwanese form: ah-doh-gah. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe I’m unnecessarily oversensitive to that. I think there is another thread on that last bit.

It’s a bit like when people yell “How are you?” It’s real purpose is often for their own or their friends’ amusement, rather than for saying hello or asking after your wellbeing.

Just take it easy, smile back or say hello (in Chinese perhaps).

Had a group of youngsters yelling the Taiwanese version of wai gou ren at me, but so what? Ok, so I don’t yell “Foreigner” at foreigners back home but I am sure I also did stare at them when I was a kid, especially if the have a different skin color. I think that’s just natural and here perhaps people are less used to see foreigners than we do in our home country (well, not in Taipei but outside I rekon).

My best expericen was however in Mainland China, some remote town in Yunan province, where the kids would just stare at me and “freeze” with an open mouth like they just had seen a ghost … :shock:

Lee gung sha show? ( the ow is the same sound as in the animal cOW

or else if they are makign eye contact

Lee kwa sha show

I usually give them and the parents dirty looks.
Looking at the parents and saying, “Ni haizi meiyou jia jiao” (literally “Your kids have no upbringing”) works wonders. Foreigners are everywhere in Taiwan, and they can often be seen on TV, on movie posters/video boxes, bus ads, etc., so there’s really no excuse to make seeing foreigner a big deal. Children should be seen and not heard.

[quote=“TNT”]Lee gung sha show? ( the ow is the same sound as in the animal cOW

or else if they are makign eye contact

Lee kwa sha show[/quote]

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

I highly suggest that you don’t say these. I would not be surprised at all if the person you said it to ran after you and tried to beat the shit out of you, :shock: especially if the their parents were around or you say it around grown ups or directly to adults. These phases are Taiwanese and they are very, very rude. :shock: :o

She: Weigoren
Me : Uhh?
She: Yummy
Me: Yea baby!


I grew up in Thailand and was called Dek falang all the time. After sometime I thought the falang word was kinda degoratory, and used to get pissed off when they called me that, because the more correct term was tangchart. Well, few years later, I understood that people didnt say falang in any evil way, its just a term the people used. So, no biggie! I guess it`s the same here. Yea, It took me 7 years growing up there, and a couple of fights, to figure that out. :slight_smile:

It is true that they mean no harm by calling you “wai guo ren” or “atoga”, but when I have had a bad day it drives me nuts!!!

My boyfriend is Taiwanese and for years I tried to make him understand that being called atoga or waiguoren can be quite irritating sometimes. He never understood why I should get so irritated about it…

… until we went to my hometown (Barcelona, Spain) on a holiday together. We were walking down the street, in one of the touristy areas, and there I saw a huge group of Taiwanese tourists, following a guide with an umbrella. As we walked past (my boyfriend was trying to go unnoticed) I shouted “lao wai, lao wai!” to the group. They all looked back at us in shock, and my boyfriend’s face went red. He grabbed my arm and we ran away!

Then I asked him “do you understand how it feels now?”

It was fun!!! :laughing:

If a local points to me and says foreigner, I really don’t give a damn. It actually makes me happy that I have yet another thing not in common with these people. What would really piss me off is if they called me Chinese.

“Wai guo ren!”

“Han ji!”

That’ll raise some eyebrows. That’s Taiwanese for ‘sweet potato’.

“Wa xi bikolang, li xi hanji, diu 'm diu ah?”


I know it’s just an education problem, so I don’t ever get mad at the kids. I just do what someone else mentioned here. With a very straight face, I swear up and down in Chinese that I am in fact a big, green-eyed, Taiwan-ren.

What irritates me is the people who decide that understanding foreign cultures is just too difficult, so what the hell, let’s just lump them all together. I keep my patience most of the time with this, and often ask somebody exibiting this kind of thinking: “Do you and your brother like the same foods?” “Are you and all of your classmates from Tainan similar in most ways?” Most of them get it after a while.

i do that one all the time too.

wai guo ren!

zhende ma?! zai nali?

jiu shi ni a.

wo bu shi, wo shi zhongguoren.

ni bu shi!

wo bu shi, wo hui jiang guoyu ma??

etc. :slight_smile:

if someone calls you a-dok-a, hit em with “mo-pi-a”, it means “flat-nose”

I try to get this across to my Taiwanese friends. I think its becuase use of a physical trait to label a race is considered offensive, and at least feels such. My friends say, “no, but a big nose (a-do-gah) is a good thing; its considered attractive, and its just a cute phrase” (funny, it doesn’t sound cute when those punks call it out in Tainan…) So I tell my friend they would be ok with foreigners calling them ‘slant eyes’ (xie yanjing) instead of ‘Chinese.’ They say of course not. I say, 'But many Westerners find feng-yan very attractive, so it’s not offensive, its just a cute phrase…"

Sometimes they get it. And then they start using the word for foreigner instead (yes, in case you doubted, there is a word for foreigner in Taiwanese…)

I much prefer the “Waiguoren” yellers to the whisperers. How can you do anything but laugh when someone yells out something upon seeing you? I hate it when people can’t wait until they get out of earshot before they start talking about you. For some reason, I find that many people in Taiwan think you can only hear them if you are looking at them. People will have a conversation about you one foot away if your back is turned.

BTW. WTF is “narli”? What is that “r” all about? Is Tongyong once again rearing its ugly head?

Whaoooo! Here’s an original topic for discussion!

Does anybody else find that, no matter where you are or how many conversations are going on around you, or what you yourself are doing at the moment, you always hear the words “waiguoren” loud and clear through everything?

Whaoooo! Here’s an original topic for discussion![/quote]

Another pearl of wisdom :smiling_imp: from Tigerman. Back in your basket. :laughing:
If you don’t have anything to contribute find another thread. :sunglasses: :wink:
Perhaps this post is another desperate attempt to get more Karma points :unamused:

Actually Tigerman I usually quite enjoy what you write in response to my posts. What happened this time, did your hand have a cramp and couldn’t type anymore??? :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh and “Nar li” is Pinyin Na + er = nar , sorry about using Beijing style. :blush:

Original I may not be, but this is turning out to be a fairly good thread.

As far as I know, that’s not Beijing style. Nar is used or Nali, no narli. It does sound pretty funny though so maybe it will catch on.