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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.
In Singapore, they're usually found hanging 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, Sunway Pyramid (Asian Avenue), or SS2.
Ah Lians, or sometimes referred as Lala-lui are stereotyped as uneducated & sexually promiscuous. They are commonly stereotyped as having hair dyed in bright colours, and wearing outdated Japanese fashion, although how much of this is true is debatable. Most of them also like to wear hot pants or mini skirts. Most Ah Lians have straightened long hair, usually with thick fringes. They like walking in big groups where most of the people in the group are Ah Lians or Ah Bengs and make their presence known by talking loudly. Ah Lians often have flower, butterfly, stars or heart shaped tattoos around their waist, behind their ear or at the back of their body. This allows the other Ah Lians to easily recognize each other.
They usually have very thick eye make-up, manicured nails & dyed, rebonded hair. They're typically dressed in flip-flops, low-cut singlets with contrasting push-up bras and short shorts (usually bought short enough to deliberately expose part of their buttocks or “bum slip”.) They also enjoy taking selfies and usually imitate the way Japanese girls take their pictures, making their eyes look big and puffing out their cheeks. They take pictures by putting a horizontal 'peace sign' over their eyes, pressing a fist facing outwards against their puffed cheek.
They behave in a boisterously assertive & crude manner, talking loudly and spouting vulgarities. They're fond of squatting and sit in unlady-like positions either with their legs spread apart or with one foot on top of the chair. Daily activities involve heavy drinking sessions in coffeeshops with their fellow Ah Bengs. Other common pastimes include playing pool, karaoke and clubbing.
Ah Lians commonly speak a kind of hybrid mix of English, Malay, Mandarin and other Chinese dialects referred to as Singlish or Manglish. It is also common for the grammar from these dialects to cross over to English usage, creating English phrases with Chinese grammar. In front of males, they sometimes apply a very sharp tone in their speech which they classify as “cute".
The term "Lao Lian" is sometimes applied to older women ("lao" means old in Chinese) who exhibit similar characteristics as Ah Lians.
- 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':