the definition of laowai 老外

See glossary definition

People have their own definitions of it, but it runs something along the lines of all European decent foreigners. This means, anyone that is white and ethnically from Europe, so English people, French, Americans, Germans, Australians, Canadians, Lithuanians….whatever.  But Black people don’t count.
Old/ respectful Outside…which is the literal meaning was only used when China went through its ‘learning from foreign talent abroad’ phase, which was when China still had an Emperor.  And I don’t mean Emperor Xi.
You may have noticed that black people don’t count.  And that’s because at the time that the Chinese first coined the term ‘Laowai’ they thought they were the centre of the world in terms of civilisation and culture and knowledge.  Everyone outside the borders of China were actually called 野蛮, 野人 savages, or ….鬼子。 Devil. Yeah that whole foreign devil thing…was real.
It worked in terms of geographical distance away from the borders of China. So the further you were from the cultural reach of China, the less civilised you were. And black people in Africa was about as far away from China as you could get.

So all this was until white foreigners came across and showed Chinese astrologists up in a few competitions that the Emperor at the time set about for accurately determining certain dates etc. Also for war machines and other useful inventions.  The Chinese at the time had to admit that there were some foreigners that had not been touched by the grace of Chinese civilisation that were as smart, if not smarter than they were.  So they gave these foreigners the term Lao wai 老外.  Lao 老meaning old, but also practiced & learned much like a teacher ie. Teacher is Laoshi 老师. And Wai 外meaning outside.

At that time…laowai really was a respectful way of saying foreigner. There is of course a bit of resentment, because it was these same laowai that forced the Chinese people to realise that their place in world wasn’t sitting at the top of civilisation that there could be people equally civilised and educated sitting at exactly the same level or even higher.  So this was a rude awakening for them. Something that of course anyone in that position would not be so happy about.

So what do they say for black people?  Well one is just 黑人 literally = Black person.
But they will call this to people even if they are obviously from the UK, France, US or whatever. Its not about their cultural background or how they associate themselves as what counts, merely that they are black, therefore Chinese people call them black.
Or… which seems to be used interchangeable unfortunately is 黑鬼 black devil.  Again its anyone that is foreign that they don’t like that they add in this 鬼 = devil. 日鬼子= Japanese devils.

Foreigners of all ethnic backgrounds can be called 洋鬼子 = yang gui zi, across the sea devils. (Foreign devils)
Essentially Chinese people were feeling pretty damn good about their place and standing in the world until they actually met other people that lived in the world and then realised that …shit….well the only way forward it to resent and hate everyone that is different… because you know… that makes sense.

To be fair, many cultures do this.  Let’s just name one….the UK.

By the way, when a foreign force occupied China for an entire dynasty…ie the Mongols, why is it that the Chinese don’t refer to them as savages or barbarians?  Well its because they think that Mongolian dynasty was actually just another Chinese dynasty, that the Chinese never gave into the Mongolian culture, than instead the Mongolians actually gave in to the Chinese culture…and that the height of China being conquered by Mongolia and Kublai Khan was actually the height of China conquering the world.  Kublai Khan actually modified official history by writing into the books back then and backtracking to give himself justification to rule by saying that Genghis Khan was in fact Chinese and that he was a ruler of China.

Brilliant! So the Chinese think that Genghis Khan was Chinese, and that the good things they got from the Mongolian Empire was actually Chinese innovation at work.  This includes the grid patterned streets and the forbidden city which is famous in Beijing.

So the Mongolians weren’t barbarians in the Chinese mind, they were actually Chinese, which means they were actually incredibly civilised.  Which they were to be fair. But considering how the Chinese treat the rest of foreigners…this is quite surprising.

Basically though the word is charged with negative emotions, so even though some people will tell you ‘it just means foreigner’   this is complete crap.

外国人 is politically correct term for foreigner. This actually just means Outside country people.

There is no 内国人 inside country person because…they’re just called Chinese.

The point with Chinese people’s perceptions of other people is that it really is a case of ‘them against us’.

Therefore, this combined with above is why you can often hear Chinese people saying ‘laowai, laowai’ , ‘laowai’s food is so bad’  even though they may be in a foreign country.

Laowai doesn’t actually mean foreigner to them, it’s not respective of where THEY are.  It just means anyone that is not Chinese.  Ethnically Chinese.

So in saying that, my Dutch friend who has grown up in the Netherlands, speaks Dutch and considers herself Dutch, is not Dutch in the Chinese people’s minds, because she is ethnically Chinese. Therefore, even when Chinese people are in the Netherlands, the Netherland native people are still ‘laowai’.

Brilliant right?

I hope this explains a bit about the logic of Chinese people, and shines some light onto the actual meaning of the word Laowai, and shows a bit of how Chinese see themselves in the world in terms of culture and civility.

I hope it also sets the record straight for any Chinese person who maybe not so surprisingly hasn’t thought enough about the words they use and that saying a word with a negative tone conveys a negative meaning.




Yep, this is a thing in China.

To be fair, there’s a lot of normal Chinese people that think this is stupid too.

And others calmly explain to you that they don’t want their face burnt.

To quote John Mearshiemer on this – I’m like a mosquito in a nudist colony… I don’t know where to start.

Let me assure you when they calmly explain this to you, there’s no smirk on their face…its just… Yep. I can understand that.

Well, what about understanding the fact that you look ridiculous?!?

I love that this photo is clearly taken in Beidahe (a coastal formerly Russian colony of China), the beach is terrible.  Well I’m from a country that has some of the most pristine beaches in the world, but for Chinese the beach is a novelty, yet despite being such a novelty, rarely anyone actually goes in the water.  Apparently when they do, they want to be as far removed from it as possible- full body wetsuit, little booties and this ridiculous facekini that completely covers up their face.

Feel that nice cool water on your body.

Ah no, I can just vaguely feel that I’m floating in some liquid.


Also, this is another situation where some Chinese people have forgotten the original meanings behind their cultural adversities and inclinations.

You’d be right to assume that they’re wearing the facekini to stop themselves from getting burnt on the face.

But I mean, seriously… look at the sky… look how polluted that is, you’re not going to get burnt anyway.

But the original thought process behind trying to not get burnt/ tanned was (as I’m sure many of you already know) that those that worked the fields were the ones that got tanned, while those that were wealthy, or educated and therefore respected, stayed indoors and their faces were not tanned.  These people enjoyed the leisurely life, and so it came to be that having paler/ fairer skin was a sign that you were someone to be respected because of your intellect or that your family had lots of money and that you didn’t need to work outside, that basically you had a comfortable life.

China has always been a society that has craved wealth, and the ‘desiring of white skin’ is simply a very neat representation of this cultural inclination.

But, we take a look at nowadays. Sure peasants (I always laugh when I use this word- it sounds so bad, but here that’s what they use) are going to have brown skin… but they’re also going to dress like shit. And therein lies the biggest difference.

In fact if Chinese people were sticking to their original inclinations without paying attention to the reasons behind it, they would still desire the whiter skinned individuals, but the fact is that the common people now have white skin.
Why is that?
Because it is now the common people that spend all their days inside, stuck in some terrible office environment, and when they do go outside they’re met with blanket pollution which stops them from getting tanned anyway.
Are they wealthy, well-learned, or even priviledged in anyway just because they have whiter skin?
In fact they’re just common.

The ones with the money are travelling, getting out and about and …getting tanned.

In that way as well they are different from the majority of the people.

So these idiots wearing their facekinis….they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.

At least if they got some kind of a tan, this would spark a conversation of ‘oh your face is more brown, what happened?’

‘nothing happened, I just took a trip to the beach on the weekend, because I don’t have to work at the office on weekends, I have enough free-time’


‘I went to Thailand last week, because I’m not stuck at a deadbeat office job like others…’


Chinese spoons

How could a spoon by illogical I hear you asking?

Take a look at this….  (red)spoon

And then take a look at this….. (silver)soupspoonwestern

What are each of them used for?   Soup… yes you’d be right, but you might also be thinking.. what happens if I needed to eat something other than soup?

Well here’s a normal spoon from other countries. I want to try to refrain from saying ‘Western countries’, because its basically all countries except for China.

spoon-03Easy for scooping up pretty much anything, apart from soup.

But the Chinese spoon is still the same red one.

I understand that they of course use chopsticks for anything including rice, but that’s usually for white rice that is sticky. For fried rice you often get the spoon.

It is incredibly difficult to eat with this, unless you somehow manage to scoop up the food from inside the spoon with your top lip.

Scooping is why we wanted the spoon in the first place, we don’t want to do it again!

However, it seems some people here have simply got used to this and do exactly what I described above, and their top lips have become very good at scooping food from their spoon.


Or… just …get another spoon!

Not everything has to remain traditional. Audis, skyscrapers, and KFC weren’t traditional Chinese culture, so my questions is:
If you can change everything else, why do you have to keep these stupid spoons?

Here’s a lovely little link, quite funny. (it’s from youtube, & the video quality is terrible but its the audio that counts)

Jerry Seinfeld – the Chinese & spoons

or…. just listen to it below, audio taken from the same youtube video


pao jiu 泡酒

A friend of mine once told me about a certain kind of alcohol they home-brew in her hometown. This is meant to be a speciality of this place, and as your mind is inevitably thinking…’alcohol….chinese….wierd….i hope it’s the one with the..’

Yes it’s the one with the snake in it.

Its called Paojiu (泡酒)

They put different things in the alcohol each time depending on the effects they want to achieve.

For instance put a donkey penis inside, increases virility. Sure I mean that makes sense… if I had vision problems the first thing I’d do is eat a hawks eyeballs. Easy, moving on.

Ok so according to my friend, it can cure gout, rheumatism (I had to look that one up- basically just discomfort in the muscles/ joints/ nerves etc), and other joint pains. 能治风湿, 通风,关节痛

It… can cure? Or it alleviates you of pain for a while? Because I’m pretty sure any alcohol can numb the pain for a little while. It doesn’t necessarily have to have snake scales floating inside.

Here’s a lovely little picture: pao jiu

So the point is, is that this alcohol is … to quote a common Chinese phrase “good for healthy” because it revitalizes different parts of the body.

My friend first described it to me as not just a donkey penis, or a snake, but many different things that have been stuffed in.
To which I responded, it sounds a bit like a 5 year old making ‘soup’ in his backyard with leaves, a bit of dirt, a few mashed up snails and whatever else he can find and throw into his bucket.

Anyway, this concoction is good for you, but as my friend said ‘only if you drink a little bit, if you drink lots of it, you get a nosebleed’

To which I was just staring at her.

And then I said, ‘did you hear yourself out loud just then?’ ‘Did you hear what you said?’

‘What kind of thing that is so good for you gives you nosebleeds?, in fact what kind of thing in general gives you nosebleeds?’

It can’t be good for you, only drinking poison could possibly have that kind of effect.

This is when she started laughing, and saying… oh yeah. That does make sense.

She later recounted this story to one of her Chinese friends, to which this girl apparently just shook her head… saying ‘…pff foreigners have different logic’

Yeah? In the way that some logic is different from no logic.

Shitness & un-originality of music videos in china

Its like 80% of music videos play out like this

1.) There is a couple and they love each other, everything is easy at first
2.) Then the couple have a fight
3.) and then the girl runs away….being a little bitch
4.) it starts raining…. and she gets really angry… now she’s in the rain and doesn’t know what to do
5.) the guy decides to chase after her with an umbrella..
6.) …..but then to show her his love….he drops the umbrella & now he is also getting wet…. (because, you know…apparently this makes him a man)
7.) As he’s wet in the rain but didn’t have to be, and had come to find his child of a girlfriend….this is what shows her that he really does love her… and then they live happily ever after

But I guess that’s what you get when you grow up in an education system that doesn’t stress creative thinking.

Passive aggresive un-needed insults

In my experience Chinese people seem to be pretty good at ‘by-the-way insults’

For example–

“hey you’re pretty good at Chinese….. you’re so much better than john.”

(Johns sitting right there)

With John thinking….wow, you just gave a compliment to someone, and apparently you couldn’t resist insulting me in the same sentence….. what a dick!

Ah… but these pills are natural

Take a look at a box of western medicine, .. for headaches for example and you can note 2 things straight off   It says…

1.)  Active ingredient: Paracetamol Chlorphenamine 500mg  or something like this,  &
2.) Take 2 pills every 12 hours

Now take a look at a Chinese box of medicine… apparently meant to cure the same ailment

  • Contains…. Something….  (perhaps deer antler or something)
  • Take 4 pills every 4 hours
  • The pills are some strange shade of green that you’ve never seen in your life

You will have people saying, Chinese, and foreigners alike..  “ah but it’s natural so it’s better!
All the ingredients can be found naturally in the world, so therefore its better”

Yeah…  sure.   And you don’t think western medicine was based on the same principle?
It’s about the active ingredient you morons!

For example Asprin’s active ingredient is salicylic acid found in 1763 in the bark of a willow tree.  Found… in… nature.

Now would it be logical to just eat the bark of a willow tree, or…  would it be better to take the active ingredient out… replicate it and then consume that?

Now on the rare occasion that these pills do actually work… (although something tells me that deer antler is not a good active ingredient),    it is because there is still an active ingredient that exists somewhere. 

And while it might not compare to the real medical equivalent in which the active ingredient has been solely replicated so that you don’t have any of the bad shit that might be detrimental to your health in the natural substance, It is enough to influence those hippy nut-jobs that  this alternative medicine is in fact working, and that because it doesn’t work quite as well as the ‘real medicine’ equivalent, and because it for some unknown reason has an off-green colour, it must undoubtedly be more natural…
which for some reason in their vacuous minds of theirs almost always translates to better.

[Death by quick bullet to the head, or death by vicious bear attack….concentrated mainly on the face and genital region. ….  Well the bear option… is more natural, therefore it must be better.]

So yes,   the active ingredient may still be there…. but the fact that you have to take so much of it means that it’s nowhere near efficient.

Sure I CoUld eat 3 platefuls of spinach, or… I could eat a steak and get the same amount of protein.

Check out Tim Minchins 10 minutes beat poem on this kind of subject called ‘Storm’

On youku here     (i’m sorry for the ads… its youku, and they’re dicks)

or for you lucky people on youtube here

Quote from Tim Minchin via his ‘Storm’ beat track:

“By definition, alternative medicine has either Not been proved to work… OR…. has been proved not to work….  Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has been proved to work??…

Hot-cold medicine

You may get the feeling that China is backwards in thinking for a lot of things.

Not true.    Chinese people are just as intelligent as anyone else, and in modern times a lot of them don’t believe in the general shit that their culture once led them to believe.

However, because China has relatively recently joined the modern world, there exists a conflict between their traditional beliefs and their modern thought processes which ….this time luckily involves a bit of reasoning.

For instance I’ve met very intelligent people .. (well at least I presumed they were), that when offered a glass of cold water  have stated. “Oh no I can’t drink cold water at the moment”

And when asked,  “Why???”

“Oh because I have my period, and I can’t eat or drinking anything cold”

“Again…. Why??”

And then they turn to me… and they have this look as if it’s the first time that they’ve actually thought about it …..pause and then start on some illogical reasoning, that when the body is hot, if they have cold stuff, then it will make the blood solid, and make it difficult for the blood to flow… or  something.


Have we got stuff we can learn from Chinese medicine?    Maybe…  yes.

But from these people?, incapable of thinking rationally by themselves for 2 minutes?…..  NO.


Ah Chinese medicine..   Traditional… fine,
Cheap … sure,
historical …fantastic,
natural…  yep whatever.

But using it for actually trying to cure ailments…. Mmmmm?  Not the greatest idea in the world.

I imagine this post might get a few comments … let me just start out by saying:
This is not only a Chinese thing—Some western people are equally as stupid when it comes to understanding via rational thinking of logic how different kinds of techniques might actually help, or rather, not help   ailments.

For instance check out homeopathic medicine.  Apparently the less of the active ingredient it has in it …the better.

Fantastic!  That makes perfect sense!

So it can help you because the water has a long term memory of some onion juice (which is supposedly good for you?), but…luckily it has forgotten that there was once poo swimming around in it….that might just be bad for you.

Logic is not strong with these people…. But anyway.

Let’s get back to the Chinese stuff.

They have something here called ‘Cupping’    It basically involves putting a cup over a piece of skin, creating a vacuum inside the cup so that your skin rises up, and then when your skin goes purple…because all the blood as come to the surface, it is released.


The justification is that this process draws the bad blood to the surface and then….makes you feel better.

Hmmmm.. this sounds similar to some 15th century something English medicine where they would drain the body….by cutting you, of ‘bad blood’, and then when you heal, it is the ‘bad blood’ that has gone away, and therefore no more disease.
Same process with putting leeches everywhere it was a way to take out the ‘bad blood’

Now most people in China , and the world, should be aware, …. That in medicine we’ve moved on from such primitive tactics.  .. because

1.) it was bullshit   &

2.) even in the cases where it is useful..  there are better techniques

For instance we’ve also moved on from deciding to cut off a leg, because it was painful.

The point on this cupping thing is that they often say… “Ah you see… if the skin bruises, it means that you’ve got something bad in your blood”  (or whatever these duck-anuses say)

No it doesn’t…    it bruises…, you turd-burger, because you’ve applied a vacuum for no fucking reason… it’s because YOU are damaging the skin!

Now I understand that some people get it done …because …’it looks cool’?? .. Wait.. is that right?

I’m not sure about that.  Sure.. you may have gained the respect from other equally stupid people, incapable of logical reasoning..   But I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.

Even if there was some credit to this process ….it hasn’t even gone to the extent of removing “the bad blood” .  It’s just brought it to the surface, and then I guess it sinks back down..
They’ve even failed in their own logic…  hmmmm

Morning Laduzi rush

(27th October 2014)

At work this morning, had to go to the bathroom… and I was privileged to hear the morning exploits of Laduzi from neighbouring stalls.

Laduzi for our non-China Laowai friends can basically be translated as diarrhea.
Or at the very least – sloppy shit
(not a good image in your mind?  I don’t care.  This is a common part of Chinese way of life, so get ready for some education)

Many people remember this word as ‘spicy stomach’     but in fact it translates to 拉肚子 – pull stomach.   Either way, it’s not something you want to be having.
It is however, something that you usually get when you first arrive in china, because you’re trying all the food under the guise of…”oh let’s try to be cultural, ….perhaps my eyes and nose are deceiving me … when I look at this ‘interesting’ food in front of me”

And then it eventually stops, but not when you would be expecting….. like for instance when you’ve got used to it… but quite coincidentally when you decide… perhaps I wasn’t meant to eat so much oily food and you start cooking for yourself.

oily gongbaojiding

The thing is, Chinese food is incredibly oily    [you would assume that glistening stuff is just sauce…..but that sauce is also mainly oil]

And I’m thinking this is the reason why they use chopsticks, rather than spoons… if you scooped up all that oil and ate it, you would be sick for sure.

But you may be thinking… ‘yes, well you grew up in a western country without this oily food, but they’ve grown up with it , surely they’re used to it.’

Ironically… no.

Which is what leads to the morning, & after lunch ritual of laduzi stall warriors… or something like that.   Although they are probably not trying to compete for the much coveted title of ‘most disgusting sound’…. It definitely sounds like it.

I have a friend that has lived here more than 5 years, and he’s just resigned himself to , ‘I live in China, I eat Chinese food everyday.. therefore I get laduzi…. Oh well’

Oh well?

Not oh well!

Change your diet!    Laduzi is not healthy   (actually …maybe I’m missing something… maybe it is!?  *dodgy eyes*

Anyway, it’s not that hard to figure out… if what you’re eating is making you sick…
Stop eating it.

See not that hard.