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For the noodles, see Jook-sing noodle.
Chinese 竹升
Cantonese Jyutping zuk1 sing1

Jook-sing or "Zuk-xing" (竹升) is a Cantonese term for an overseas Chinese person who was born in a Western environment and/or a Chinese person who more readily or strongly identifies with Western culture than traditional Chinese culture.


The term "Jook-sing" evolved from 竹杠 which pronounce: Zuk-gong (in Cantonese) or Zhu-gang (in Mandarin) means a bamboo pole or rod. Since 杠 (gong) is a homophone of another word 降 which means descend or downward, it’s replaced with 升 (sing) means ascend or upward. [1] [2]

Bamboo is hollow and compartmentalized, thus water poured in one end does not flow out of the other end. The metaphor is that jook-sings are not part of either culture: water within the jook-sing does not flow and connect to either end. It may or may not be derogatory. Use of the term predates World War II.[3]

Modern term[edit]

North American usage[edit]

In the United States and Canada, the term is pejorative and refers to fully Westernized American-born or Canadian-born Chinese. The term originates from Cantonese slang in the United States. Jook-sing are categorised as having Western-centric identities, values and culture. This term also refers to similar Chinese individuals in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand.[citation needed]

Related colloquialisms[edit]

  • Banana (Chinese: 香蕉人/香蕉仔; pinyin: xiāngjiāo rén / xiāngjiāo zi; Jyutping: hoeng1 ziu1 jan4/hoeng1 ziu1 zi2) (referencing the yellow skin and white innings of the fruit when fully matured) and Twinkie (based on the snack produced by American company Hostess - again, it denotes something that is "yellow" on the outside and "white" on the inside): often pejorative.
  • FOB (Fresh Off the Boat): antonym of Jook-sing

See also[edit]


  • Emma Woo Louie, Chinese American Names, McFarland & Company, 1998, ISBN 0-7864-0418-3
  • Douglas W Lee, Chinese American history and historiography: The musings of a Jook-Sing, 1980.


  1. ^ "竹升". 
  2. ^ Sung, Victoria (28 June 2011). "Caught Between Worlds: In Defense of the Jook-Sing". 
  3. ^ [1]

External links[edit]