Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jokes about eggs / stereotypes

Stereotypes are useful things, because they can save you a lot of time. But they don't always cohere with reality so well. From a comedic point of view, they can be useful things to build a joke around, but when the joke itself just reinforces a particular stereotype, you're not adding anything to the corpus of human knowledge. There's various food-based similes (it's a struggle to call them jokes when they're not even at the level of one-liners) that just reveal some racial prejudice on the basis of the speaker. [When I was growing up, one term of abuse was that somebody was a coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) - an accusation of inauthenticity and perhaps having the temerity to behave in a way that wasn't true to your skin colour, as if that was the only way to define yourself. And that to act in a way contradictory to some social norm or other was a betrayal of your race (as if race wasn't itself a mutable and convenient-for-whatever-agenda-you-might-want-to-propound concept). As if you enjoyed a debt to all other people with the same skin type. The coconut isn't the only example; there's also the banana (white on the inside, yellow on the outside) and in reverse, the egg - white on the outside, yellow on the inside.]

Although I've lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years, I've still yet to meet a yellow Chinese person. Perhaps I should spend more time hanging around victims of jaundice, but if somebody were to show you a picture of lots of Chinese people milling around Causeway Bay, the most common skin colour there wouldn't be yellow. A light beige, perhaps, in some cases, but in some cases much more translucent than those words suggest. But then I doubt you could get many people het up about the impending attack of the Light Beige Peril, eh? Racist rabble-rousing aside, I wanted to have my own egg-based similes that I could employ. Perhaps I'm just jealous of other people wtih food based humour. But undaunted, I'll give it a go:

I'm like an egg. I'm full of toxic chemicals produced by a factory in Shenzhen.

I'm like an egg. I like nestling underneath penguins.

I'm like a kiwi fruit. Hairy, but sweet on the inside.

(My girlfriend disagrees with that one, and points out I'm more like a durian. I stink, and it's illegal for me to travel on public transport in Singapore.)

But I can't digress from the egg material, not when Mr Dorsher came up with some more for me:

I'm like an egg. Sometimes I'm likely to kill you slowly via high cholesterol artery clogging - and other times I'm pleasant to have on your kitchen table, next to a piece of bacon.

I'm like an egg.  Children put me into homemade contraptions and drop me from great heights to test wild hypotheses.

I'm like an egg.  Because none of you have any appetite for me at the moment.

I'm like an egg.  In China, I'm transported on a bicycle, stuck in a crate balanced on the end of a bamboo pole, whereas in the Western world I'm moved around in climate-controlled vehicles.

And my favourite, a combination of Dorsher, Grella and myself:

I'm like an egg.  If you want an omelette, you're going to have to whip me for five minutes.


Mr Lai Wong said...

Prefer mango mochi or lai wong bao, myself:
hard to find a good one, but once you do you'll
always come back for more...

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