About the Gweilo


I’m Rob. I’m the Gweilo in question. Gweilo is a Cantonese slang term for white man. It’s what I am called when I visit family and friends in southern China. It is sometimes used as an insult, but with my personal experience, it’s been a term of endearment.

My wife, Shuk, is from Kaiping in the province of Guangdong. I have visited there many times and love Kaiping and the villages, the people, the customs, the culture, the history and especially the Cantonese food.

Despite having been there often, I am still a fish out of water, this Aussie who can’t speak Kaipingese and struggles with Cantonese. But the people of this city and the surrounding villages are warm, open and friendly and I have never been made to feel more welcome.

I’ve witnessed a great feast in the village, where the whole population gathers as one; the Qing Ming festival where the villagers trek up the mountain to maintain the graves and pay homage to their ancestors. I’ve seen woks a metre in diameter, fiery hot, much too hot to get close; an ancient kitchen long since abandoned and a decaying dragon, long past its final days of dancing in the village. I’ve also seen the communal toilet…

I have been so charmed by this place, these people, that I have written of my clumsy attempts to fit in, my discovery of the food, the traditions and the history. It is documented in my book, Gweilo in the Diaolou, which you can pick up through Amazon, either in paperback or Kindle.

This web site is really me just showing gratitude and homage to the wonderful people I’ve met by offering more insights, photos, videos and more. You’ll see the sights and sounds and hopefully, between the book and this blog, you’ll get a taste of my China, which is Kaiping, the villages and the Diaolou.


  1. Reply

    Rachael Mills

    January 12, 2017

    I am curious why the mountain, does it mean the dead are always buried on the mountains? Are there no graves elsewhere apart from the mountains?

    • Rob Harvey

      Rob Harvey

      January 12, 2017

      It used to be all about the mountains, but nowadays it is forbidden. Everyone is being cremated. The old process of burial used to take about a year…