He who is the butt of jokes eats the chilli!

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He who is the butt of jokes eats the chilli!
By Zan Azlee

When my daughter Athena was around three years old, she was a very feisty little girl. We used to tease her a lot and make fun of her. And of course she would get angry at us.

For example, right after she takes a bath, I would call for her and when she came, I would take a big sniff of her hair or neck and say, “Eiii! You’re so smelly! Are you sure you took a bath?”

She would scream in annoyance and anger, “No pops! I’m not smelly! I smell nice!”. And I would burst out in laughter why she starts stomping her feet because she doesn’t know how to argue.

But now that she’s four and half, closing in to five years old, she’s started to develop some clever wit and a sense of humour. She has started playing jokes and teasing me now.

She would come up to me right after her bath and ask me, “Hey pops. Come and smell me. Do I smell busuk or smelly?”. When she first said that to me, I was stunned and it took me a while to get it.

And when she saw my stunned face, she just burst out in laughter! And when I got the joke, I burst out laughing too. Then both of us would be rolling on the floor hysterically. She is my daughter indeed!

It’s just how we Azlees roll. I tease you and you tease me. We laugh together and everyone has a really good time because we don’t take things too seriously and we’re all a big happy bunch.

Of course we aren’t making fun of really serious matters like, say, the 1MDB scandal. But the point is that Athena is only four years old and she understands what a sense of humour is all about.

So I totally can’t understand why the government would threaten those who make jokes about the 1MDB scandal with either a RM50,000 fine and/or jail time. No sense of humour?

But of course we all know that sticks and stones may break our bones but names will never hurt us, and if I am rubber and you are glue, what bounces off me sticks on you. That is assuming that the jokes are all baseless.

And it’s easy if it’s baseless. All the receiving party needs to do is to provide a valid argument that it isn’t true. Then the jokes will stop because, well, they would have been proven to be baseless.

Unless of course if the receiving party can’t provide any strong arguments as to why the jokes are baseless and so they resort to desperate measures – ie: threatening funny satirical jokes with jail!

That kind of reminds me of Athena when she was three years old. She really couldn’t handle people teasing her and making jokes that she resorted to getting angry and stomping her feet.

Anyway, Malaysians are a carefree and fun-loving lot (hmmm). We love making jokes to make light of the situation (we learned from the best – Datuk Lat!) and it’s all supposed to be in good fun.

But then there is also the saying that goes like this – “Siapa yang makan cili, dia yang rasa pedas.” And seeing that the 1MDB is getting worldwide attention, let me translate that – “He who eats chilli will feel hot.”

[This article originally appeared at The Malaysian Insider]

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