Self-Deprecating Humour

Hi Everyone,

My own personal experience of living in Asia (not only / necessarily Taiwan), is that this form of humour is non-existant and that the only thing one can hope for in return is an awkward sort of embarrased sympathy. Perhaps though, it’s simply that I’ve not experienced enough depth of the culture and that my severe lack of fluency in the language has completely shut me off to a world I never knew existed.

Thoughts?

I learnt today that my jokes do not work on the Asian market. My humour is mostly based on self-deprecation, puns, and word play. Just don’t roll with these EFL coworkers.

Jokes that aren’t really funny to start with are even less funny when you have to explain them.

I feel for you both. You are so right. I miss the sarcastic,witty Humour( even Humor, can be funny sometimes) Unfortunately ,it misses me most of the time. :ponder: Smiling keeps me going and I think it’s a vital part of Life.
It seems that sarcasm can be seen as a criticism,and loss of “Face” in some Asian Countries.It is not "normal,to criticize oneself and is rarely understood,although the Taiwanese do have “wordplay” jokes and many forms of humour…most of which ,although, actually unfunny ,using “Western” reasoning are quite clever and would be amusing if only I spoke fluently. A lot of what we find funny,is built up around a Culture of TV, Film and books,which ,I suppose,are specific for each Culture,maybe.
I enjoy self-deprecating,sometimes :whistle: but actually, I miss not being able to have a sarcastic “Banter” with friends,in terms of humorous criticism.
I have had to change my Instruction method,here,when on a Racetrack. Compliments about their driving, seem to raise a smile. I have,therefore,stopped using many terms,I used in the USA or Europe. Examples thst I dare not use here,are:
“My Gran,used to brake like that,but She is oK now”…normally results in my face being pressed up against the Windscreen,at the next attempt…
“You couldn’t drive a greasy spoon, up a Dog’s arse”
“Stop “wanking” the wheel”
“If there were prizes for driving , completely out of control,you would be World Champion.”
and finally,for those Brits that may remember,the Huge Cyril Smith, “You are to Rallying,what Cyril smith is,to Hang Gliding”
Obviously ,I only use these terms,when Teaching friends.
Hope you can find the “funnies” again…Good Luck.

[quote=“Staceycolleena”]I learnt today that my jokes do not work on the Asian market. My humour is mostly based on self-deprecation, puns, and word play. Just don’t roll with these EFL coworkers.

Jokes that aren’t really funny to start with are even less funny when you have to explain them.[/quote]

That’s odd as I find a lot of the local humour is based on puns and word-play.

You can’t translate them into another language, generally.

[quote=“Tyc00n”]Hi Everyone,

My own personal experience of living in Asia (not only / necessarily Taiwan), is that this form of humour is non-existant and that the only thing one can hope for in return is an awkward sort of embarrased sympathy. Perhaps though, it’s simply that I’ve not experienced enough depth of the culture and that my severe lack of fluency in the language has completely shut me off to a world I never knew existed.

Thoughts?[/quote]
Your delivery must suck. I’m a hoot in Taiwan. :whistle:

[quote=“rodeo”][quote=“Tyc00n”]Hi Everyone,

My own personal experience of living in Asia (not only / necessarily Taiwan), is that this form of humour is non-existant and that the only thing one can hope for in return is an awkward sort of embarrased sympathy. Perhaps though, it’s simply that I’ve not experienced enough depth of the culture and that my severe lack of fluency in the language has completely shut me off to a world I never knew existed.

Thoughts?[/quote]
Your delivery must suck. I’m a hoot in Taiwan. :whistle:[/quote]
Is that the fact, Jack?
:neutral:
I wouldn’t know, as I never use sarcasm, being merely an angel in a devil’s disguise.

[quote=“TheGingerMan”][quote=“rodeo”][quote=“Tyc00n”]Hi Everyone,

My own personal experience of living in Asia (not only / necessarily Taiwan), is that this form of humour is non-existant and that the only thing one can hope for in return is an awkward sort of embarrased sympathy. Perhaps though, it’s simply that I’ve not experienced enough depth of the culture and that my severe lack of fluency in the language has completely shut me off to a world I never knew existed.

Thoughts?[/quote]
Your delivery must suck. I’m a hoot in Taiwan. :whistle:[/quote]
Is that the fact, Jack?
:neutral:
I wouldn’t know, as I never use sarcasm, being merely an angel in a devil’s disguise.[/quote]
Oh the disservice!

“Look at how fat his belly is, is he pregnant?”
:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

“Your hair is a mess today Ms. Lin, you look like you got very little sleep!”
:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

“What you just did doesn’t follow typical behavior for that scenario!”
:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

wow I was just thinking about this another day, I also felt like an alien because of it. Often I don’t understand Taiwanese humor, and they don’t understand mine. I’m a comedy nerd and my hero is George Carlin, Louis CK, etc. So maybe the sarcastic and self-deprecating stuff doesn’t work here?

Also I think the locals here just enjoy slapstick more…(?)

I think humour is a pretty subjective thing in the first place and you can’t be sure the other person is laughing for the reason you want them to laugh. I have some Mongolians, some Koreans and some Japanese in my class. They seem to get the self deprecating stuff, especially when it’s about money or choices. I was doing some vocab today and ‘keen on’ and ‘poor at’ came up. I put in a few jokes about ‘I’m always keen on girls who aren’t keen on me,’ and ‘I’m poor at choosing the right materials for my students, but my students are poor at telling me my lessons suck’ and they got laughs. Maybe laughter is contagious…? I was also talking about my friends wife and said, ‘trust me, she’s a bitch, but that’s probably because she thinks I’m an arsehole,’ and that went down well too. Yeah, my lessons aren’t always clean. :laughing: (it was the last day of the class, so I could push it a little with them…) Maybe they went home and thought… “Why is teacher talking about his bottom?”

[quote=“Deuce Dropper”]“What you just did doesn’t follow typical behavior for that scenario!”
:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:[/quote]

A class of mine became uproarious after I related how I boiled a zongzi. You destroyed the food! They are supposed to be steamed, not boiled! :roflmao: I thought: steaming is not so very different from boiling, and it still tasted pretty good. :s

Then later I found out that, actually, people in southern Taiwan boil them. So I raised this with my class and some students said: This is Taipei and we steam them in Taipei.

I still think it is really interesting why they found it so funny that I boiled a zongzi. At the time I was completely naive in the ways of the zongzi. Immediately after knock off a staff member at my school pressed a box into my hands and said, ‘For Dragon Boat Festival!’ then hurried away. When I got home and opened the box I found it full of bound leaf-triangle things. They looked like some kind of food item but there were no cooking instructions. I was hungry. I figured if I baked one it might catch fire or at least start smoking. Also, it seemed too thick to fry, plus the thick leaf on the outside didn’t seem at all amenable to that anway. I considered just opening one up first to see what I was dealing with but then I thought - and this was my exact thought - fuck it, I’ll just boil one of the bastards so when I eat whatever is inside it will be cooked/sterilized and I won’t die of food poisoning. So I boiled it for about as long as you would do for a potato of such a size.

And I was correct in my assumption! People can, and do, boil zongzi. Even Taiwanese!

So why did they find it so funny?

Let me go out on a limb and say it’s because you’re not from around here. :-/

My GF told me of a story Taiwanese were amused about ,recently. A Taiwanese Tour bus,full of “Mainland” tourists,were having a full Tour of Taiwan,when one of them asked what the Steel Cylinders were on every Rooftop. The Guide told them that they were Missiles ,pointed at Beijing,just in case! Mmmm?. :ponder:

I hear that old Abbott & Costello “Who’s On First” routine translates well…

[quote=“antarcticbeech”][quote=“Deuce Dropper”]“What you just did doesn’t follow typical behavior for that scenario!”
:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:[/quote]

A class of mine became uproarious after I related how I boiled a zongzi. You destroyed the food! They are supposed to be steamed, not boiled! :roflmao: I thought: steaming is not so very different from boiling, and it still tasted pretty good. :s

Then later I found out that, actually, people in southern Taiwan boil them. So I raised this with my class and some students said: This is Taipei and we steam them in Taipei.

I still think it is really interesting why they found it so funny that I boiled a zongzi. At the time I was completely naive in the ways of the zongzi. Immediately after knock off a staff member at my school pressed a box into my hands and said, ‘For Dragon Boat Festival!’ then hurried away. When I got home and opened the box I found it full of bound leaf-triangle things. They looked like some kind of food item but there were no cooking instructions. I was hungry. I figured if I baked one it might catch fire or at least start smoking. Also, it seemed too thick to fry, plus the thick leaf on the outside didn’t seem at all amenable to that anway. I considered just opening one up first to see what I was dealing with but then I thought - and this was my exact thought - fuck it, I’ll just boil one of the bastards so when I eat whatever is inside it will be cooked/sterilized and I won’t die of food poisoning. So I boiled it for about as long as you would do for a potato of such a size.

And I was correct in my assumption! People can, and do, boil zongzi. Even Taiwanese!

So why did they find it so funny?[/quote]

That’ll explain why my flatmate kept looking at me strange when I boiled mine. When I was back home we always boiled them, I’ve never known to steam them…

I should have laughed at her and been like…you steam these?!? Bahahaha…you so silly. :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I had this once. I kept telling self-deprecating jokes and they didn’t get it.

Eventually they got it. They joined in by telling jokes which insulted me as stupid and incompetent.