The Aussies and the British share an awful lot and one of the better things is the ability to share each others humour. Sit down with a group of Aussie drunks and British drunks and you will hear the insults go back and forth all night. To those not understanding the banter it may seem it is leading up to big fist fight, or at least it will show that these people do not like each other. Wrong!
Living in the Philippines it is easy to offend the locals with the British style humour as the jokes are full of sarcasm and what seems to be insults. Many Filipinos share the American style humour where sarcasm and irony are not as fully understood or used. In most cases slapstick comedy is the comedy of choice for most Filipinos. Hence Mr Bean that is shown thousands of times a year, even-though it ended in the UK over 25 years ago.
My sarcasm which works wonderfully at home dies a death here. Here is an example of when I joined a small queue to pay for two note pads and four pens. Twenty minutes later after the checkout operator wrapped every individual item in a bag and signed numerous pieces of paper for the customers ahead of me it was my turn to be served.
Feeling very annoyed at this huge delay I decided to keep my mouth shut as the cashier moved at snails pace and put every pen through the scanner one by one even knowing they were all the same price. Amazingly one of the pens would not scan and the cashier stopped called for n assistant who went to get another pen. The fact that all she had to was scan another of the pens already scanned seemed to miss her.
When finally she gave me a bag containing my 8 items I could not help but say something.
“Thank you so much for allowing me to spend 25 minutes in a queue for no reason at all. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you work the checkout at a pace equal to a snail on vacation. I have also enjoyed standing looking at the back of peoples heads for so long”.
Her reply”Thank You sir. Please come again” She was not reacting to my sarcasm, she just did not understand it was even sarcasm. Honestly although very acceptable in our own country sarcasm and irony just does not work here and can get you into a lot of trouble if someone takes your words as an insult and not a tongue in cheek comment. Be warned as a black eye is just not worth it.
These questions about Australia were posted on an Australian
Tourism Website and obviously the answers came from fellow Aussies.
1. Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it
rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around
watching them die.
2. Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you’ve been drinking.
3. Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the
railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it’s only three thousand miles, take lots of water…
4. Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: So its true what they say about Swedes.
5. Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of
places to contact for a stuffed porpoise. (Italy)
A: Let’s not touch this one.
6. Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send
me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: And your last slave died of……..?