A Fresh Approach to Studying Chinese Culture

In a Chinese city, surplus funds were left over after a project was completed and the local Party standing committee met to decide whether to use them to renovate the elementary school or the prison. Everyone had a different opinion.

Finally, one experience committee member set everyone straight: “In this life, how many of us are likely to have to attend elementary school again?”

There was silence. Some people wiped sweat from their brows. Others drank tea.

Soon after, everyone reached an agreement: Fix up the prison.

This is an example of Chinese humour and studying humour can be a good means of learning a language and understanding the local situation.

Is Oriental humour much different from Western? You can judge from the above.

It might be a help to know that Party leaders are under constant threat of investigation to test their loyalty, often the reason given is corruption.

However it may be hard to collect other examples of Chinese humour. The government takes it very seriously. Humour is now almost absent from the annual Chinese New Year TV extravaganza knows as ‘the Gala’.

Humorous sites are also quickly shut down. One had an estimated 200 million followers, mostly workers.      

Sadly, that window for studying Chinese language and local culture is unavailable for the present.

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