Without googling, do native speakers know what 'joss paper' is in the joke below?

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Matthew Wai

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Without googling, do native speakers know what 'joss paper' is in the following joke, which was sent to me by WhatsApp?

Last night, after dinner, I was taking a walk on the road.
When I walked past a convenient store I thought of going in to buy something.
Then I realised that I didn't have money with me.
So I phoned my family to bring some money to me.
While waiting for my money, I saw an old man burning joss paper by the road side.
I went to have a chat with him.
"What are you doing here?” I asked him.
"I’m sending money to my family” he said.
Then he asked me, “What are you doing here?"
“I’m waiting for my family to send money to me.”
On hearing this, his face turned pale and he ran away quickly.
I shouted to him, “Hey, don't run! I’m just waiting for my family to send money to me!"
Suddenly, all the people burning joss paper nearby also ran away.
 

emsr2d2

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I would guess it's a type of incense. I am more familiar with "joss sticks" which are sticks made of resin and are fragranced. You set light to one end, blow out the flame and the stick continues to burn down, fragrancing the room. I have never heard of "joss paper" but I would have to assume it's a similar concept.

(I don't get the joke, by the way.)
 

Matthew Wai

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You guessed wrong.
I think the joke was not written by and not intended for a native English speaker.
It was meaningless to write it in English.
 

Tdol

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I do, but only because I have lived in places where they do it. I would have made the same connection as Emsr2d2 before I came to SE Asia.

Does the joke work in Chinese?
 

Matthew Wai

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I have not received a Chinese version of it. The English version works for me, a native Chinese person.
 

emsr2d2

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So can a non-native speaker put me out of my misery? What on earth is "joss paper"? I know I could Google it but I'm giving a non-native speaker the opportunity to try and explain it in English.
 

probus

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I swear I have not googled it. It is a kind of obviously fake money that some people of Chinese heritage burn in a religious ceremony for the supposed benefit of their ancestors in the afterlife. When I was a child in Canada in the mid-1950s my father showed me some of these notes. They had an illustration of a female character named Tu Yung Fa Foo Lin. Obviously, at the time, I didn't get it.

On another occasion, when John Diefenbaker was briefly our Conservative prime minister, the notes contained Liberal propaganda referring to him as Thiefenfaker.

@MathewWai: Can you tell us more about the usual content of joss paper?
 
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Matthew Wai

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http://www.chineseamericanfamily.com/how-to-buy-and-burn-joss-paper/

Burning joss paper is a traditional Chinese-Taoist practice that sends money and materials goods to deceased relatives in the afterlife.
[...]
Collectively, joss paper offerings are physical representations of money and daily necessities like clothing, personal electronics and household goods. The basic notion behind burning joss paper is that an offering is conveyed into the spirit world through the fire’s smoke.
 

Tdol

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They burn fake 100-dollar bills in some places in Cambodia.
 

Skrej

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My guess was paper for rolling tobacco or other smokeable substances.
 

Tdol

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In the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime, there was a great demand for the Bibles that missionaries were distributing. At first, they thought they were making progress, but then they found out that the paper the books were printed on was good for rolling cigarettes.
 

probus

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http://www.chineseamericanfamily.com/how-to-buy-and-burn-joss-paper/

Burning joss paper is a traditional Chinese-Taoist practice that sends money and materials goods to deceased relatives in the afterlife.
[...]
Collectively, joss paper offerings are physical representations of money and daily necessities like clothing, personal electronics and household goods. The basic notion behind burning joss paper is that an offering is conveyed into the spirit world through the fire’s smoke.

My goodness! Think what my Chinese-Canadian compatriots were trying to send to their ancestors: 1) underage girls for sex, and 2) conservative political victory.
 

Tdol

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I've not seen the cars before. ;-)
 
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