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The use of the word farang
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  1. #1
    rcrowe Guest
    I know the term farang is used a lot in Thailand without any offence being intended but I get the impression that sometimes it is used as an insult. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    From what I know,'Farang' is also the name of a fruit,a guava I think. I suppose the term isn't that condescending,as farang may have originated from the Thai word for the French ,farangset.

    You can have fun with children when they shout farang at you,by replying with mamuang (mango) and saporot (pineapple) and pointing back! This is absolutely guaranteed to suprise!

  3. #3
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    You're right about the word 'farang' being used a lot. For some reason, the word itself has this odd ear-piercing quality. For example, once I was standing on the top platform of the siam skytrain station in a crowd of people, all of them talking at once. Suddenly, out of all the noise I hear it--the word--fa-lang. Like an uncontrollable reaction, I turn to the direction the noise came from and find two Thai women looking right at me from 25 feet away. As soon as I catch them, they freeze up, and finally look away. "Haha, gotcha!"

    Anyways, using the term 'farang' in Thailand could be like using the term "asian" in the west. The word itself simply classifies a region someone may come from. However, the word 'asian' can be used in an offensive way if the person saying the word truly believes that he or she is superior to all asians. I believe with the word "farang," the actual meaning depends on the speakers attitude towards "farangs."

    Bear in mind, if someone really wanted to offend a westerner, they'd call him/her something else besides farang. For example, they could refer to him/her as bird-poo.
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  4. #4
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    question

    Just for the record: "farang" does not mean "foreigner" per se, but refers merely to Caucasian foreigners, right? So, what are other non-Thai races/ethnic groups called? (I am interested in non-pejorative names)

  5. #5
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    I believe Indian and Middle-Eastern = khon khaek

    ...and I've heard Thai's use the term "khon asia" for asians.
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  6. #6
    D80 Guest

    Oopsie...

    If Thais want to refer to someone as a national of certain country then they will say 'Khon...(Ang-grid =English, Fa-rang-sate=French etc.)

    But sometimes, there are slangs like the word 'farang'.

    Generally, this is not meant to be an insult but I think it an be used in such a way just because of how it can sound so discriminating.

    Other (sort of) slang words for nationalities are, for examples,:

    'Kake' = Indian (or Central Asian in general)

    'Jek' = Chinese/Chinese-Thai (this has got an insulting connotation)

    'yun' = Japanese (this is rarely used now)

    Hmmm... I can't think of anymore....

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    I think that it can be equated to the use of Gaijin in Japan. It depends on how it is used. You have to listen to the context and the tone of how it is used. It can, and often is, used as a resenting insult. But brush it off, do not take it too personally.

  8. #8
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    As a citizen of Singapore, my impression of the term "farang" is similar to another word used commonly by locals to describe caucasians, which is "Ang moh". This term holds absolutely no derogatory meaning. We even have a residential area of considerable size called "Ang Mo Kio" which literally translates to "Red-haired Bridge".

  9. #9
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    i feel its more of a slang rather than an insult.
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    Wanna

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  10. #10
    courtenay Guest
    It really dependes on how they say it . When i talk to thais in thai or english and they tell me about english people it depends on how they say falang.
    If they have a angry tone it is meant to be offensive otherwise it is just a term for westerners

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