Mongolian political jokes: Chicken or the egg?

Once, a train full of parliament members was in an accident. When police and investigators came, the local people told them that everyone had already been buried. The police asked, “They all died?” The local people said, “Some of them said they weren’t dead, and tried to prove they were alive, but parliament members always lie. Nothing they ever say is true, so we did not believe them.”
A fifty year-old woman who works as a translator says, “I never heard of political jokes twenty years ago. Our culture is different from Western culture, because people say, ‘Soul of State, forgive me’. It is a kind of prayer believed to protect one from harm and bad things. We followed every rule or resolution that the state released without complaint, until the Mongolian democratic revolution came.”
Before the revolution, Mongolians never shared their opinions and believed they were without the right to think and say something negative about politicians. All women wore the same clothes and boots, and if someone wore another design and handmade clothes, they faced mistreatment and insults.
When a man who saw the drama theater burning said it was nice and that the burning fire looked fabulous and grand, he went to prison for insulting state property. Citizens had no chance at making fun of politicians.
When our translator was 40 years old, young people in Mongolia wanted a change in society and the way the government was conducting its business. They began to secretly meet and talk about change. During their studies in the USSR, that old name of Russia, they learned about Glasnost, and concepts such as freedom of speech and economic liberty.
After the democratic revolution, Mongolians felt free but faced too many mythical and strange things, such as unemployment, alcoholism, and the start of political crimes they had never heard of before.
An 80 year-old woman who was a doctor said, “When I was young, for people who worked in state jobs and represented the government, it was an honor and something to be proud of. But today it has become something of shame and the image of a corrupt liar and fat, rich robber.”
Recently investigated crimes prove this image, yesterday one court presented its decision on the case involving Ch.Gansukh, who was the former Head of the Department of Inspection and Control of the General Department of Taxation, Ch.Enkhbat, who was the Head of the Department of State Budget Income Assembly, and 13 other state employees. This past Monday, the Bayanzurkh District Court began the trial of Ch.Gansukh, which lasted for five days. In primary court, Ch.Gansukh and Ch.Enkhbat were sentenced to eight years in a maximum security prison, and the other state employees were sentenced with three years.
Recently, the Anti Corruption Agency arrested some state employees at the General Intelligence Agency for taking advantage of their positions and stealing huge amounts of money. Nowadays, every month people hear about some corruption trial involving state employees or parliament members.
Even President Ts.Elbegdorj focused last year’s election campaign on “The battle with corruption”, and several times he spoke about how much money state employees eat and their failures.
Another popular joke is about a dead politician’s funeral, and mourners saying he was hard working, genuine, honest, friendly, smart and obliging. “We will be remember him forever and he will stay in our hearts forever.” But the dead politician’s parents listened and burst out, “Please stop this talk! It seems like we’re burying another person, not my son.”
Two housewives are talking each other. The first woman says, “Did you hear about that new income source? If you leave some good comments about the former president on some website, you can earn 5,000 MNT. Why am I joining an online beauty product business?”
Her friend replies, “Five thousand is nothing. They paid me one million to participate in a hunger strike for the former president at Sukhbaatar Square. I took the money and lost weight. Before, we paid money for slimming products, but now we’re earning money to lose weight. The state is developing.”
A bear, fox, and a donkey wanted to build a bridge, but a ranger told them they needed a license to cut wood from the Ministry of Nature. If they could not show him a license, the ranger would not allow them to build. They talked and sent the bear to the ministry. Soon after, the bear came back without a license from the ministry. The bear said all the woods was going to be imported to China and the money would be going to the millennium road. They discussed it again and sent the fox to trick the ministry, but the fox also came back without a license. He said we can get one only through corruption and they were very eager to take bribe, but I didn’t have any money to give them. When the donkey said, “I am going to the ministry,” the bear and the fox started laughing. “We couldn’t get one and we are smart. How can you get one when you are such a loser and just a stupid donkey?” But the donkey went to the ministry, and soon came back in the big black jeep of the minister. “Did you get the license?” the bear and fox asked. “Sure, after the last election, all my relatives started working there. It was easy to get one.”
A parliament member was going home and some hooligans didn’t recognize him and beat him up, demanding vodka money. After they went away, the parliament member stood up and cleaned his clothes. “It’s good that they didn’t recognize me. If they knew I was a parliament member, they would have killed me,” he mumbled.
The former president tweeted: When I was arrested, 4,000 people participated in a hunger strike. The Head of the General Police Department tweeted back: You’re lying. Half of them were our plainclothes police.
One of ministers made a statement about a teacher’s strike, and said about the demands for increasing teacher salaries, “Fifty teachers participated in the strike and all 500 teachers will be taking responsibility.”
These jokes are funny, but for how many more years will we be laughing at these failures of our government? Only the voters can decide.
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