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Ah Lian (Chinese: 阿莲; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: a-lián) is a pejorative term applied to a certain group of ethnic Chinese girls in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore and Malaysia. These Chinese girls, in their teens and twenties, are usually found in larger cities in the region. Ah Lians are regarded as bimbos, and are stereotyped as anti-intellectual, superficial, materialistic, and shallow. They are the rough equivalent of the English Essex girl or chav stereotypes.
Ah Lians usually have very thick eye make-up, manicured nails & straightened hair. Their typical attire consists of flip-flops, low-cut singlets with contrasting bras and shorts (usually short enough to expose part of their butt cheeks or “underbutt”.) They behave in a boisterously assertive & crude manner, smoke and engage in heavy drinking sessions in coffeeshops. They tend to sit in unlady-like positions either with their legs spread apart or with one foot on top of the chair. They enjoy taking selfies and usually imitate the way Japanese girls take their pictures, making their eyes look big and puffing out their cheeks. They also take pictures by putting a horizontal 'peace sign' over their eyes, pressing a fist facing outwards against their puffed cheek. They sometimes apply a very sharp tone in their speech which they classify as “cute". Other common pastimes include playing pool, karaoke and clubbing. Another distinct feature of an Ah Lian is that they swear in most of their conversations similarly to their male counterparts, Ah Bengs. Ah Lians are stereotyped as sexually promiscuous.
Ah Lians commonly speak a kind of hybrid mix of Singlish or Manglish and Chinese, or Chinese-related dialects. It is also common for the grammar from these dialects to cross over to English usage, creating English phrases with Chinese grammar.
The term "Lao Lian" is sometimes applied to older women ("lao" means old in Chinese) who exhibit similar characteristics as Ah Lians.
In Singapore, they usually hang out in Bugis Junction, Bugis Street, Orchard Road, especially Cineleisure, and shopping malls throughout the country. In Malaysia, they are usually found around Midvalley, Sungai Wang Plaza, Low Yat Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, or SS2.
- Ladette (England)
- Millie (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
- Naco (Mexico)
- Ned (Scotland)
- Scanger (Dublin, Ireland)
- White Trash (United States)
- Xiaxue (Singapore)
- Beng Huat Chua (2003) Life is not complete without shopping for bimbo products: consumption culture in Singapore, Singapore University Press
Definitions of 'Ah Lian':