KUALA LUMPUR: Humour is usually used to ‘break the ice’ between individuals or groups such as before the start of a seminar or lecture.Jokes and humour can be used to reduce stress particularly at the workplace.
But sometimes ‘bad’ or ‘tasteless’ jokes could create friction and anger for those who are at the receiving end.
Among these jokes are those that ridiculed or made fun at the expense of others.
“Avoid cracking jokes or creating humour that targeted and ridiculed other people. It is not a good thing to poke fun on the shortcomings and weakness of others.”
“Refrain from mocking and deriding, among others, the gender, ethnic origin, language, political affiliation, religion and personality of others,” said social activist Fatimah Mansur.
According to Fatimah, there are jokes that actually have no sense of humour and considered ‘tasteless’. These are the jokes that do not take into account the sensitivity of others.
“For those who created such jokes, they would not be bothered by the effect imposed on the other people as long as they could get the response that they want,” she said.
“Unfortunately, we are living in a culture where the boundary of respect and honour for others has blurred.
“For example, why there should ‘double meaning’ in jokes and why the tasteless humour be directed to a particular person?” she asked.
Who should take the blame for this? Are those who started the tasteless jokes or those who laughed after hearing them.
“Both sides should share the blame,” she said.
For university lecturer Muhd Ameen Nashruddin, humour is something worthwhile as it depicts friendliness apart from being able to enhance the relationship between individuals.
But there are limits to creating humour, he cautioned.
“We have heard reports on untoward incidents that happened in the western nations where a person can resort to extreme acts like running amok and killing when he could not take it anymore after being the brunt of ridicule over a certain period.
“You will be under severe stress if you are continuously being the target of ridicule either in the school or office or anywhere else,” he said.
For Muhd Ameen, an unhealthy development is the shows on television where comedians would poke fun and mimic those from other ethnic groups trying to speak Bahasa Malaysia.
“Children and youngsters copy the comedians style. How do we encourage others to speak our language and practice our culture when we ridiculed their way of speaking our language.
“We should feel proud over their effort to speak our mother tongue,” said Muhd Ameen. — Bernama