Jump to content

Farang, insult or not?


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 84
  • Created
  • Last Reply



Yes, it's actually in the article.


However, more recent studies have shown this to be untrue. The most widely accepted theory now is that the word is derived from the word 'Frank', and spread from Europe through the Middle East to Asia. The Thais most likely borrowed the word 'farang' from the Persian and Indian traders in the 17th century. The Persian word was 'farangg', and was probably used to refer to early Portuguese traders and subsequently to all Europeans (ie., non-Muslims).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...
  • 3 months later...
Thought they used "Mak-see-da" a lot as well...? More of an Issaarn thing?


I believe the "mak sii daa" thing started in Isaan as a kind of joke/code..."mak sii daa" being Lao for "farang" (the fruit).


the joke is that while "farang," the word for the fruit (guava) also is used to mean "white foreigner," "mak sii daa" originally had no such connotation in Lao, it *only* meant "guava"...though it arguably does have the double meaning now. and it's caught on with Central Thais, who often like to ape Isaan (Lao) speech to sound "cool" much the way that African American dialect or Ebonics is mimicked by whites in the US and elsewhere.


the "code" part is because while probably a majority of farangs know the word "farang" has a double meaning, not as many know about "mak sii daa," though that is most likely changing.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


With Thai friends, I was not enthused about always being referred to a the 'farang'.

With my ex-GF, who I am still good friends with, is now married to a Thai and has a young daughter. I've always been welcomed by the family and their relatives...but still referred to as the 'farang'.

One day I was chatting with my Ex and intentionally mentioned that she was 'Khun Asian'. She said 'no', I'm a Thai. I explained that, yes, and I am not just a farang...but also am from a country...I am an 'American'. She understood what I was trying to point out about the word 'farang'. Now she avoids the 'farang' word (at least in my presence) and has her husband and daughter address me as 'loong Jay' (uncle Jay). I kinda like that!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first Europeans here were the Portuguese. They brought the guava (or at least the seeds) from South America in the late 1500s. The Portuguese were called Farang (and they're not French), so the guava was called the 'look farang' and the tree the 'dton farang'.


The "makseeda" joke was probably started by the BGs in Isaan during the USAF base days in the VN War. I know I never heard it used for a Farang in the 1970s.


As to Farang being an insult, I'm not sure. But I'd hardly consider it a compliment. Sort of like being called whitey or Chuck by an African-American. I reduces all individuals to their skin colour alone, in which case it's not a lot different from the N-word.


p.s. And when I was a kid I didn't know the N-word was insulting. I just thought that's what people sometimes called black folks! It seemed sort of a low class term to use though.




Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...