A Singaporean friend of mine used an acronym a couple of days ago (or at least I thought it was an acronym) that I had never seen before: ANGMOH. From context I could tell that, whatever an ANGMOH might be, he or she could be presumed to be abnormally tall. But I couldn’t figure out what ANGMOH stood for – “Any Gigantic Man Of Height”? “An eNormous Giant Massive Overly High person”? So eventually, as I have never been very good at restraining curiosity, I went a-googling…and discovered that 红毛 hóngmáo “redhead” is Malaysian/Singaporese for “honky,” and that my friend was amusing herself with the stereotype of Westerners as great big oversized tall people. (Helen observed once when comparing the size of my hand to hers and observing that the tips of her fingers only reached to about my first knuckle, that “you’re wasting space.”)
Well, if I’d known that, then there’s an earlier blog post where I would have used it – in fact I’m going to go back and change that earlier post, now that I know that the nice young Chinese man who was trying to help me understand lyrics to a teenager-oriented Mandopop song was probably thinking not, “Well, the white dude said the tones right,” but instead, “Well, the angmoh said the tones right.” But my education wasn’t done yet, because Google also led to me to this unintentionally hilarious (albeit somewhat pathetic) online article: “The AngMoh-nising of the Singapore Man.”
I would summarise the basic gist as, “How are losers like me supposed to get the hot chicks if we have to compete with AngMohs? The government should make it illegal for our women to date those @#$#!s. And also, advice to my fellow loser Singapore dudes: when you pick a Western name to try to pass yourself off to the hot chicks as an AngMoh, don’t pick Johnson because that turns out to be a LAST name rather than a first name. Also it apparently means something naughty in English – who knew?”
Perhaps you think my summation is uncharitable…well, obviously it is uncharitable, but perhaps you think it is also inaccurate. Well, here’s the summary provided by the article itself:
It seems that our local men and new HDB five-room and executive flats share the same problem. People do not want them. A letter writer to a local paper recently lamented that there is an alarming trend of local girls marrying Caucasians because these Western men usually have better careers, live in bigger condominiums and drive bigger cars. Everything also bigger.
I just love the attempt at tactfulness in that last sentence: “Everything [carefully unspecified] also bigger.” And also, he really is complaining in one and the same letter both that Singapore girls won’t date local boys like him, and also that people won’t live in Singapore flats unless they have Western names. This is a young man of, shall we say, diverse social concerns.
Now I would perhaps feel sorry for the guy if it weren’t for something very glaringly obvious from the problem as he states it, and made outright explicit by what he goes on to say himself – which is that he is a fool, because obviously the kind of woman who is worth finding and marrying, wouldn’t be marrying you because you had so much money. When I first got to Singapore half a dozen different people went out of their way to warn me, within my first week there, “Kenny, just one warning: Singapore women don’t care about anything but money.” Well, first of all, I was already happily married and so the state of that particular market was an irrelevance to me personally; and second of all, I doubted very seriously that every woman in Singapore was a shallow and exploitative Material Girl. But as far as this sad sack is concerned, they might as well be — because that’s the only kind of girl he’s interested in.
Here’s a rhetorical question he asks early in the article: “How can these local girls not see the tremendous appeal of local men, who are family-minded and obedient?” Well, I find it hard to imagine that there are no nice family-minded young ladies in Singapore capable of seeing the appeal (to a girl of sense) of a virtuous and kind and honorable and reliable and hard-working family man. So this would be something of a mystery, all right – except that he unwittingly answers his own question when, in his closing paragraph, he makes it clear exactly WHICH local girls he’s talking about:
So if you Singapore men want to impress the girls with your Western name, Western apartment, and casino lifestyle, make sure you have your economic class sorted out. Or you will be left with the housewife who buys 4D when she is free in the afternoon, instead of the sassy young thing who plays Blackjack at Sentosa in her thong.
You know what, my fine young AngMoh Wannabe, if you’re ass enough to want to marry the sassy young thing who plays blackjack at Sentosa in her thong…yeah, you BETTER have money because she’s going to the highest bidder. But if you lose out and she marries a really truly genuine AngMoh instead of you, don’t be sad, because it could have been worse…
She could have married YOU. And the only thing worse than being the guy who doesn’t land the privilege of paying the bills for a hot and sassy young high-maintenance Material Girl, is being the guy who DOES.