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January 26, 2008



So nigga! With what purpose was 'laowai' deliberately chosen?

Rebecca MacKinnon

Actually in my original draft I wrote "gweilo" but they changed it to "laowai."


@Rebecca MacKinnon: Perhaps that's due to the "Mandarin" hedgemony of the formal written Chinese in Hong Kong such that they changed it from "gweilo" to "laowai"? ;) Did you put "gweipo" as well to refer to yourself? :)

Your argument is very cogent and gives justice to this book. :)

@Seamus: Jocular usage?

Rebecca MacKinnon

@28481k, yup I also used "gweipo" to refer to myself. Jocular usage, exactly. :)


One minor point: Hmmm, I see no point in using the Mandarin version. "Gweilo" and "gweipo" are commonly used terms to refer to foreigners in especially Hong Kong. And using the Cantonese equivalents will give the preface a local taste. Or are we going to use "Beijing duck", "Chinese Gongfu" and so on instead of "Peking duck" and "Chinese Kungfu"? These are already loan words in the English speaking world, aren't they? Welcome to Xianggang!

Rebecca MacKinnon

@Nevin I would be inclined to agree with you but didn't see the point of getting into a thing about it since that's really not central to the piece's argument.

Charles Mok

Thank you so much for your kindness and support!!


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