Are ‘Ang Mohs’ Welcome To Live In Singapore?

After living in Singapore for some years now and integrating fairly solidly into the local community, I find most local Singaporeans to be accepting and very tolerant and friendly toward my family and me. In fact, we have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. In 2008, we received our PR (permanent resident) status.

However, prior to living here, I have never had the experience of being a part of a ‘minority’. I cannot help at times feeling somewhat paranoid as a result (of what I would consider a small percentage) of people who openly jeer, shake their heads, stare or give me dirty looks. When I first arrived in Singapore, this did make me feel quite angry and offended, but over time I have come to realize that this certainly is not the norm. As I already stated, I have found most Singaporeans are open, friendly and willing to accept my family and me into their community.

So I began to ask myself why a few people seem so angry toward me in public (most notably in the heartlands where we live). For this reason, I began participating in a few local online ‘forums’, openly letting people know where I come from and why I am here, to try and get at the real reasons.

Interestingly enough, I have made more local friends as a result of my participation, but also at times I have found myself to be extremely shocked at some of the responses and hatred that I have received in these forums (one in particular) for being an ‘ang moh’ – it has certainly opened my eyes as to the deep-seeded issues at play.

It is not the intent of this article to publicly list out the variety of reasons that some people feel are legitimate reasons for not wanting westerners in Singapore – one only needs to search a couple of forums to understand the thought processes – nor is it to try and justify my existence here. Rather, it is to try and understand the depth of the issue by asking a simple question (in the poll to the right).

The poll will be open for one month so I can elicit as many responses as possible. The question is purposely quite specific, and does not take into account ‘what ifs’ – that is, maybe the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but only under specific circumstances. Should a respondent wish to further clarify their response, please do so by adding a comment to this thread (please try and keep racial prejudices out of any clarifications – in the essence of ‘free speech’, I do not want to have to delete comments).

Furthermore, please note that the poll is not asking whether or not all ‘foreigners’ (in general) are welcome in Singapore – as locals know, this would probably bring in a huge number of other variables and concerns, and therefore add too much noise to the data that I collect. NB: This poll is anonymous.

The responses to choose from, are – ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Don’t Care’.

The question being asked, is:

Are ‘Ang Mohs’ Welcome To Live In Singapore?

Please respond using the poll on the top right of this page, and qualify any responses where necessary by adding a comment to this article.

Thanks kindly to all my regular readers, and I appreciate your candid responses. Once the month of the poll being opened has expired, I will publish another article summarizing the data and responses collected.

Read here for the meaning of ‘Ang Moh’ if you are unsure.

DISCLAIMER: We love Singapore for a variety of reasons, and open our arms in friendship to anyone who is prepared to offer the same.

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6 Responses to Are ‘Ang Mohs’ Welcome To Live In Singapore?

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a Singaporean, I'd just like to offer some input from a native perspective. Although the use of the term angmoh was once restricted to the Chinese, of late, it seems be in vogue among Malay and Indian Singaporeans as well. And yes, it has taken on a rather negative connotation. But that is inevitable, considering that the recent influx of whites into Singapore has caused great hardship for many Singaporeans. Jobs that should have been the sole preserve of Singaporeans are now going to the new migrant white workers who are blatantly favoured over Singaporeans. Moreover, many Singaporeans feel that with ever increasing numbers of whites in Singapore, our way of life and society is increasingly under threat. No society enjoys the massive invasion of peoples who bring alien values with them which are simply inimical to the welfare of the host culture. Many of your own countrymen in Australia have come to resent the growing presence of non-whites and have begun to demand their expulsion. Should it then stun you if we Singaporeans have similar sentiments about the whites who are slowly changing the racial demographics of our country? I don't mean to offend anyone but Singapore is a country where Asians form the majority of the populace and truth be told, I'd like it to stay that way.

  2. AussiePete says:

    Hello anonymous. Thanks for your input. All logical points of view are always welcome. I do have one point if contention in your statements… To say that 'many australians' gave grown to resent non white people is clearly inaccurate. Just as in most countries around the world, these sentiments will exist to some degree. However, in the case of Aussies (and in my experience, singaporeans) we are talking about a very small minority. Yes, sensationalist global media has been playing recent events up- but nothing new here – the same thing happened in the days of Pauline hanson… Most (and seriously the majority) of the population have no issues living side by side with different cultures and diverse races and colours, with absolutely no animosity. To be honest, we generally feel sorry for people who show such intolerance. Cheers!!

  3. Ridhwan says:

    Hey hi!-About the 'Ang moh' thing, i didnt know the actual meaning behind it (as I am no chinese), but yes, the majority of the chinese refer to caucasians as such. To think about it now, that's kinda racist.-I live near Singapore American School and i am often puzzled as to why the Americans/caucasians do not 'mix/mingle' around with us. Especially when they are monthly community events such as the ' CDC Brisk walking'. I think more should be done to integrate them into our society.Personally i do find Americans/caucasians more open than my fellow local counterparts. they would sometimes greet me when they bump into me outside.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What you descibe is perfectly normal. I'm an Indian Singaporean living in Australia and I don't really hang out with the locals. Why should I when I have almost nothing in common with them? Contrary to what the media tell us, it's not racist to prefer the company of our own.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A bit late this, but to Brown Sugar, what is so atrocious about that Anonymous' English? So you do believe that yours is par excellence? Coming from a typically miang [itchy] 20-something, that certainly is a tad arrogant.I mean, with an innuendo-loaded name like Brown Sugar.. what are you trying to tell us apart from your being of *BROWN* skinned presumedly ;)Anyways, Aussie Pete and those ultra-sensitive types: if "Ang Moh" is deemed racist, then it is. So please spare me all the superficial Politically-Correct talk. But I would like to ask these same experts what do they exactly know about Hokkien?I have this impression that some of you were NOT even born in the 1970s when "Ang Mo Kau" was rife and deemed offensive and racist. It means Red Haired Monkey. Similarly offensive as Gwei Lo – foreign devil.I am Hokkien and speak Hokkien too, so don't come and dispute with me k? Self-proclaimed half-baked experts?Thenceforth Ang Moh is a diluted almost-polite version. Similarly, I could have hit the roof if someone were to yell in my direction: "Chinky, go home". But I would certainly hit back if the tw@t in question attack me *physically*. Or spit in my direction.Sticks and stones. — so what if I'm Anonymous? Got a problem?

  6. AussiePete says:

    Hello Anonymous… I did think a little before deciding to allow your comment to be published, because although I believe completely in free speech, I don't necessarily think there's a need for personal attacks in an otherwise relatively mature discussion.Having said that, everyone to their own.I would like to clarify a couple of points however – I doubt that I am 'ultra sensitive'… I don't think I would've survived for so many years living and working in so many different countries for so many years. As the saying goes, I've 'been there, done that' and seen and heard many things and experienced more cultures than you could probably imagine. As I've mentioned (on more than one occassion – just look at a couple of the other related articles here), I personally don't find the term offensive or racist if used appropriately. Having said that, if someone spoke to my wife in the manner that you describe about yourself, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't have to wait for someone to get physical or spit in my direction for me to retaliate strongly – 'superficially politically correct' or not – if this is what you mean by 'ultra-sensitive' then so be it.Also, good for you on your mastery of Hokkien – however, let me point out that although I speak fluent Shanghai dialect (and I was well and truly around in the 70s), I would in no way claim to be an 'expert' on the historical use of any specific term – self-proclaimed or otherwise.In short, although I appreciate your invaluable contribution to the topic, I think we've digressed from the article somewhat. As I've also written before, certain terms may well be 'almost polite' in yours (and my) eyes… but when it comes to offensiveness, it is not for you or I to determine what is or what isn't – it's the person on the receiving end. It's all about respect for our fellow man, and this is a lesson that we need to be teaching our youths from the outset.Cheers!!

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