The following is an example of one of things I’ve learned during my time living and teaching in China.

“Peanuts.” “Penis?” “No.” “PenIS?” “Yes.”

Of the meals I’ve shared and enjoyed, I’d say a good majority of them are accompanied by peanuts.

No, not those Peanuts, these:

Yum, right?

Just remember to be careful eating ‘em because if you’re dining with other Chinese folks and they attempt to call ‘em by their English name — you’re likely to choke. Not only on your laughter, but on peanuts.

The basic problem here is pronunciation. A native English speaker says “peanuts,” a Chinese person says “penis.”


Every chance I get I use the word “peanuts.” Yeah, I’m totally baiting folks into using the word, but I need to amuse myself somehow…

Based on these fact, I’m confident that a Chinese person would win “the penis game” they never even knew they were playing.


edit @ 8:47AM, 10/23/12:

It was pointed out on this Tumblr blog that I’m a superior white person racist dick because I’m not Asian so I’m not allowed to make fun of the way Asians speak.

What I failed to mention in the post above is that any and every time someone (regardless of their race or background) mispronounces a word I correct them. I show and/or tell them why it is wrong and we practice saying the word correctly. And yes, when the speaker learns what they said versus what they should’ve said, it’s hilarious. Not just for me, but for everyone else that’s learning as well.

No, I cannot speak conversational Chinese nor do I have all the tones and proper pronunciation. However, I try to speak Mandarin. And would you believe it, I’m laughed at by the Asians in earshot too. I should write a post about how racist Asians are… Also, I don’t love Margaret Cho.

Yes, I know what I wrote was inappropriate. Just as inappropriate as saying “penis” at the dinner table six times. It was funny. I laughed. The other people, Chinese and Americans alike, laughed too. I wrote the above because it was something I observed and wanted to share it.

However, now that I know I can’t make light of things that aren’t intrinsically related to me, I’ll stop posting about women in binders… While I’m at it, you and the rest of the comedy police ought to post some diatribes about how late night talk show hosts shouldn’t make fun of the President because they’re not President.

Michael VenskeMICHAEL VENSKE is an expert mistake-maker whose faith and enthusiasm cause him to leap without looking. One such jump landed him in China where he’s currently teaching kindness, compassion, and the fine art of physical comedy.

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About Michael Venske

Since 2012 Michael Venske has been teaching English in Zibo, Shandong, China. When not in the classroom he's busy writing his next solo performance endeavor chronicling (mis)adventures in The People’s Republic of China.
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