Taiwan :

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Jokes and Humor in Taiwan

The rule of thumb for jokes and humor which we at Teaching in Asia preach is that jokes and humor with foreigners in your host country don’t mix well. The risk of offending someone is always there, even with your best intentions, and you should carefully consider this when attempting humor. The fact of the matter is, ESL teachers don’t truly understand a host culture till several years experience, if ever. The ways of looking at things and events are far different from our own. 

 

This is even true when going to Europe from North America. It is easily seen how different the senses of humor are by the late night television shows. Some cultures prefer political humor, others slapstick humor and others enjoy a humor we cannot describe here. 

 

In the case that a host wishes to share a joke with you, by all means listen to it and laugh. It will make your host feel better about his English skills as well as his abilities to host a western visitor. This call for humor does not mean you should reciprocate regardless of how “open” the conversation may be or seem. That risk of offending and perhaps damaging your relationship with your host far outweighs a possible laugh.
 



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