#1: What the Heck is a Laowai?


No VPN? Listen on Libsyn or Ximalaya.

Here it is, the inaugural episode of Looking for Laowai! Through interviews with a diverse range of people, your hosts Hannah and Toni ask: what is a “laowai”? We hear different opinions on the use of the term “laowai” from expatriates from Europe and the US, Chinese locals like Zhang Ximing, a street vendor at People’s Square, Professor Feng from Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies, and more.

Brought to you by the Looking for Laowai team — Hannah, Toni, Ali and Averill — we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it! Special thanks to Kathy, Christine, Mike M, and all our wonderful interviewees, who took the time to tell us their stories and share their thoughts.

Episode producer: Toni Friedman
Music credits: Sergio, freesound.org users: corsica-s, setuniman, kodack
Theme song: 4barrelcarb, “Ambient Strings and Synth Mix”

These works, licensed under the Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0), were changed from their original form and used in this podcast.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0).

Get in touch and send us your stories by email, or leave us a review on iTunes, and stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter and following our Facebook page. We love to hear from you!

Fat Shady, August, 2017. “瓜老外” (“Stupid Foreigners”). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIzSHvpMupw.

Further reading:
de Mente, Boye. The Chinese Have a Word for It: The Complete Guide to Chinese Thought and Culture. New York: McGraw Hill Professional, 2000.
Farrer, James. “Chapter 1, Foreigner Street: Urban Citizenship in Multicultural Shanghai,” in Multicultural Challenges and Redefining Identity in East Asia, ed. Nam-Kook Kim (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), 17-44.
Fechter, Anne and Katie Walsh. The New Expatriates: Postcolonial Approaches to Mobile Professionals. Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2012.
Lee, Keekok. Warp and Weft, Chinese Language and Culture. New York: Eloquent Books, 2008.
Mair, Victor. “Laowai: the old furriner.” http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=11626. Language Log, April 9, 2014.

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