Of Note

I have enjoyed these recent(ish) entries:

Tom Vamvanij writes about the term 老外, driving home the point that it does not connote respect. Very interesting discussion ensues. I agree it’s inherently neutral. People that don’t like the term should leave China, because it’s not going away. Don’t miss Todd‘s great comments. He says what I would, but better.

– Speaking of leaving China… Mr. Morris (previously of Brainysmurf.org) says that he’s leaving China for Vietnam, and he is elated: “Why am I elated? Here comes the ironic part. Because I am leaving….

Alf is back! He’s in rare form, talking about bad Western music in China. I haven’t seen him writing like this in a loooong time.

Greg got the last word about the anti-Japanese riots: Things the Chinese Really Wanted to Protest Before They Settled on Japan.

As long as I’m linking to those blogs above, I should mention something about Blogger. When Blogger upgrades, it upgrades its templates too. If you’re using a custom template on Blogger, you don’t get the benefit of the upgrades. You need to modify your custom template to take advantage of the upgrades, or do a redesign based on a new template.

Example: Alf’s blog still uses the old individual entry linking method, and has no RSS feed. Greg’s blog uses the new archive linking method (his blog is newer), but his feeds don’t work. These two blogs would especially benefit from having working feeds, as they are not frequently updated. Blogger can do it for them with a few simple configuration changes.

I don’t mean to just criticise. I’m willing to help with this, of course.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. The term 老外: negative, positive, or neutral? Very interesting discussion. I still say it’s inherently neutral, and that people that don’t like it can leave China. Don’t miss Todd’s great comments. He says what I would, but better.

    I think you’re mischaracterizing my post, which sets out to debunk the prevalent myth that laowai is a term of respect. The ensuing comment thread’s proceeded in all eight directions, but so far no commenter has disagreed with my original point.

  2. Tom,

    Sorry, didn’t mean to mischaracterize your post. (That’s what I get for not rereading before linking.) I also didn’t mean to suggest that the original post itself was inferior in any way to the comments on it. I agree with your premise too. I edited the original post to reflect this.

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