Confucious Say...


Confucious lived in Ancient China (then called "China") between 551 and 479 BC. He sometimes went by the names "Kong Zi", but his parents named him "Kong Qiu" when he was borne.

Confucious was a philosopher for most of his life. After his death, Confucious's teachings became very influential in Chinese culture, which in turn influenced neighbouring countries such as Japan. This is called "Confucianism". "Confucianism" is a major system of thought in China, and is concerned with the principles of good conduct, practical wisdom, and proper social relationships. It is not to be confused with "Confunkianism", which I hope is a band specializing in alternative-rock musics.

The problem with "Confuscious Say..." jokes are two-fold:

But this is all tangental to understanding the jokes. Most Confucious jokes rely on a double-meaning or double-entendre of key words in the sentence, which, upon reflection, reveal a new meaning in the sentence. For example:

"Man who run behind car get exhausted."
"Man who run in front of car get tired."
"Boy who go to bed with sexual problem wake up with solution in hand."
"It take many nail to build crib, but one screw to fill it."
"Panties not best thing on earth, but next to it."

The words or phrases with the double-meanings are underlined to ease identification. With practise you will be able to identify them quickly enough to make your responses seem natural. Notice how when you contemplate the alternative meanings of these words, the sentences take on a new, humourous, aspect. Also, notice how the first two jokes deal with the same theme, an example of the powerful technique "repetition" - present in many forms of humour.

The advantage of Confucious jokes is that you can easily appear to understand the humour even when you do not. Since they almost exclusively2 deal with double-meanings, faking a laugh and repeating a key phrase in the joke (hint: it is usually the last clause) is usually enough to satisfy the person telling the joke that you are with it.

An example:
Alice:Confucious say... "Man who walk through airport turnstile backward going to Bangkok."
Bob:Hah! "Bangkok."

Back to the list of Jokes Explained

1 Short for "Confucious"
2 Beware: some sentences in the "Confucious Say..." form are not actually jokes. The real-life Confucious said many non-humourous things, some of which are still quoted today. Do not laugh at the following:
  1. Confucious say... "He who merely knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them."
  2. Confucious say... "The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions."
  3. Confucious say... "To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness."