I got my first piece of hate mail / posting today. It's taking issue with labeling the term "Ang Moh" for what it is: a racial slur.
Anyway, my response is as below:
I suggest you research the history of racial slurs before you suggest to start telling people of a minority what they should think of a name.
For example, the word "Nigger" originally was only a descriptive name without any negatiave conotations but quickly became to be percieved by the people to whom it was applied too as derogatory.
Likewise the term "Ang Moh" is increasingly seen for what it is: a racial slur.
It doesn't matter how it is INTENDED, it matters how it is recieved and PERCIEVED.
As a cursory glance at both the internet and archives of the singapore staits times shows, many people of caucasian / slavic / baltic background who are described by this word find it offensive.
Indeed, even a number of singaporean bloggers have commented on the need to be careful when and where to use it as they have found through personal experience that it can, and does, cause offence to the people to whom it is used to describe.
Secondly, the origin of the term is it's self racist. It originally means "red-haired foriegn devil", which in the dialect it comes from had specific negative quasi-religious overtones.
This is not in dispute, any number of empirically based sources can cofirm this. It doesn't matter that the 'gui' has been dropped from the end, most caucasians / slavs / baltic people who spend some time in the areas of asia where this term is used quickly learn of it's origin and original meaning. As such, the term has baggage and lots of it.
A similar example is the phrase "Nip". Today this term is used as a racial slur against asians. It originally started as a simplification of NIPPON (name for Japan as a nation, in Japanese) but quickly became a negative name for all east-asians.
Like wise with the phrases "yellow man" (a simple physical description, yet offensive, just like Ang Moh), Nigger, Chink and a host of others have, at one stage or another, been used by a majority on the premise that they are a simple and inoffensive label.
They are not.
Ang Moh is a term that deeply offends an increaing proportion of non-asians in Singapore and Malaysia. The simple fact that even discussions about the words racist overtones crop up in official government controlled press in Singapore speaks volumes about the changing perception of the word.
I politely suggest it is you that need to polish up on your Hokkien language history before you defend a racial slur as something it isn't.