Thursday, March 10, 2011

There Really Can Be Cultural Differences

A Twitter posting from @obitsman delivers posthumous recognition that the comedian Alan King might have really been Alan Kung, or at least someone more closely related to Confucius than anyone at the Friar's Club might have suspected.

One of Alan King's routines was to clearly point out that dead men are survived by their wives; that guys die before their spouses, and that perhaps, by inference, being married had something to do with shuffling off the mortal coil before the other half does.

It's a famous routine, available I'm sure on You Tube, that has Alan working his way through the assembled while reading death notices that, sure enough, point out that even octogenarians and older can be survived by equally elderly wives. "Survived by..." is the ongoing punch line.

Well, in China, it seems that even a bachelor male can be buried next to his wife. In fact, they like it like this. It keeps the descendants from having bad luck, even if the deceased male never even knew the interred member of the opposite sex while he drew earthly breath. "Survived by..." in Cantonese.

"Women are worth more money than men even after their death" is the axiom in certain Chinese regions. This of course implies they are worth more than men even when they're alive. This flies in the face of their logic and preference for male births over female births. The gender skewing over time can only create more gender disparity, to the point that statistically it will be even less likely that a male can ever have a female buried next to him.

Whether he's met her or not.

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