Sunday, April 03, 2005

April Fool's Pranks Go Wrong

As if to prove that Taiwanese people have a failed sense of humour, April Fool's Day 'gags' have been spectacularly backfiring all across the heavily-polluted island.

In Tainan, 45 year-old Rang Toh-Yah donned a JFK mask, entered a police station brandishing a plastic AK-47 and roared, "Give me the money! Free the imprisoned gang bosses!" Panicked officers shot him 20 times.

On flight EVA1276 from Hong Kong to Taipei, startled passengers overwhelmed an elderly woman who announced she had a grenade and wanted to be taken to Mexico City. After a brief brawl in which the woman, who cannot be freed for legal reasons, was beaten unconscious by her contemporaries, flight attendants found a mouldy papaya in her hand.

Meanwhile, in Taipei, the American company Hewlett Packard reinstated three suspended employees who were among the victims of a particularly malicious prank. Mean-spirited Tiffany Yen couldnt understand the English editions of Harry Potter and, stretching her language skills to the limit, directed her rage upon the letters HP. She asked her boyfriend, a software engineer, to hack into the HP website, and he changed HPs slogan from HP Invent to Harry Potter isn't even good. More than 700 angry Harry Potter fans complained to Hewlett Packard, who suspended three webmasters before they discovered Ms. Yen's involvement. Their legal team continues to investigate, and have found that Ms. Yen remains unmarried.


  1. When we stay in another country, it seems inevitable to have a certain degree of culture shock. But how can we better cope with it? I think it is an absolute must to understand the culture differences between your country and the one you are visiting, and then try to respect the culture in the foreign land no matter how different it is from yours. The worst, pessimistic way to deal with our culture shock is to refuse to respect the culture differences (if we cannot appreciate its culture, at the very least we should show our respect) and to keep whining about our miserable life.

    Humor, deeply rooted in one's culture, of course differs from culture to culture. Mocking people who failed to understand our jokes due to culture differences simply shows our arrogance, snobbishness, and self-centeredness. Accusing them of having no sense of humor indicates nothing but our ignorance and narrow-mindedness.

    When we are not enjoying our life on foreign soil, shouldn't we reflect upon ourselves to see if we have ever made any attempts to understand its culture and its people, instead of pointing the finger at them?

    I believe there is always an explanation why people hold a certain belief and behave accordingly. A stingy person might have suffered from poverty when he or she was still a kid. A Latino student rarely makes eye contact with the teacher simply because avoiding looking directly at authority figures is the way to show respect in his or her culture; however, a teacher from another culture might interpret it as a sign of inattention or disrespect. Without knowing asking personal questions is a way to show our friendliness and concern in the Chinese society, foreigners might think we are invading their privacies. We can be much more open-minded and tolerant if we spend some time investigating why certain people behave in a certain way.

    Since western cultures/countries are more dominant than Asian countries in the world, it seems to me some westerners are quick to jump to the conclusion that our customs and behaviors are "weird" whenever they go against western norms. But are they?

    I am getting very serious here. Is it because I cannot appreciate Andrew's British humor?

  2. So you are the culprit, the furious customer bombarded HP's head office with angry emails!

    You did keep your promise. I "got blogged" again!

    Sweet-spirited Tiffany Yen, who has read Harry Potter's English editions and has no problem differentiating between Harry Potter and Hewlett Packard


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