Last Christmas, my Chinese tutor gave me a book of "Humorous Stories" to read as part of my studies. Until last week, it's just been sitting on my shelf waiting to be picked up by anyone looking for some mild-mannered Chinese amusement. Opening it, I discovered the editor "manage[d] to collect the lively and standard spoken materials to enable readers to get in touch with the real, modern life of the Chinese."
That's great! Learning about the modern China is exactly why I'm here and throwing a little humorous story or two out there is just the thing to really drive those life lessons home. For example:
A businessman tried to bribe a government official with a car. The official said: "Mister, I can't accept your present according to the government rules."
"Well, how about this?" the businessman lowed [sp?] his voice, "I'll sell you this car for 10 bucks, how does it sound?"
The official thought for a while and said: "If so, I'd like to buy two."
Moral of the story: Chinese government officials are above reproach and could never be bribed, yet do possess a keen knack for negotiating!
What about those Chinese girls we hear about so much? Is there a lesson to be shared here as well? Well, let's take a look:
Father: My daughter, why don't you get married?
Daughter: I've had 20 boyfriends, but none of them satisfied me. I would rather wait some more time to find the ideal one.
Father: You better hurry up.
Daughter: Don't worry, dad, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and there must be at least one to swallow the bait.
Father: But my dear, the bait will lose its smell if kept too long.
Moral: Personal hygiene may be a problem for some girls in China. Also, this girl has never dated a foreigner. Just kidding about that last one...so just keep your lynch mob at home. I'll try to be nicer with the next story, very sweetly named "Aunty":
Have you and Mary been married at a registry?
No, she changed her mind.
Why? Didn't you tell her that your uncle is a millionaire?
It's not necessary any more -- she's my aunty now.
Moral: Many Chinese girls like rich, older men. If you're reading this, you are neither old or rich. Also, I believe Mary is an airline stewardess...but I could be a little biased on that one.
At this point, I'm sure you've "busted a gut" over these stories. Almost Seinfeld-ian in its humor, I had to wonder how the editor was able to collect such a wide variety of stories. Luckily, the editor admits:
"Many materials have been passed through many hands or places which are not indicated with the authors or origins, and some are even foreign materials. We've tried to get in touch with all the writers involved, but failed to reach all of them due to various reasons. We'd like to ask the original authors to contact Beijing Language and Culture University Press to get the pay."
If only the rest of the book could be as funny as the editors.