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

Jook-sing or "Zuk-sing" (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 "Zuk-gong" (竹杠; "Zhugang" in Mandarin) which means a bamboo pole or rod. Since "gong" (杠) is a Cantonese homophone of the inauspicious word 降 which means descend or downward, it’s replaced with "sing" (升) means ascend or upward.

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.[1]

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); may be used as a pejorative term or as a non-pejorative term.
  • FOB (Fresh Off the Boat): antonym of Jook-sing

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]


  • 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.

External links[edit]