Beyond the usual socialist jokes, this strand has all the complex nuances of minorities wrestling with modern identities.
As with all jokes, they can reveal something about society while simultaneously being either politically incorrect, culturally and contextually specific, lost in translation or just not that funny.
Can you speak Chinese?
How could I? I have not been in the army and I have never been to jail!
“An American, a Japanese and a Tibetan…” jokes make a niche variant to the “an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman…” topos, or three leaders jokes. Here we even get “Three Tibetans, one from U-Tsang, one from Amdo and one from Kham”:
The Qinghai-Tibet railway reached Tibet. Three Tibetans from different provinces were in the same passenger car, one from U-Tsang, one from Amdo and one from Kham.
The train suddenly stopped on the way. The short-tempered Khampa immediately jumped up, yelling: “Why did the train suddenly stop? I swear to Buddha I will teach the train conductor a lesson!”
The Amdo Tibetan tried to stop him by persuading: “Aro, let’s wait. It does not help to threaten the train conductor.” Meanwhile, he sighed and said with great regret, shaking his head: “What a shame that we Tibetans do not know how to drive a train!”
The Tibetan from U-Tsang responded: “Come on brothers! It is not a big deal. Look! Isn’t it fine as long as we close our eyes and pretend the train is still running?”
I look forward eagerly to further contributions on the site.