Do your students joke about BIN LADEN too?

A rather strange trend has surfaced on this fair island, and I think some posters might know what I mean. It seems that many Taiwanese people, especially among the lower classes or uneducated classes, think that saying the words BIN LADEN out loud to a foreigner they see on the street, especially if the foreigner seems to be, or is known to be an American, is FUNNY. Huh?

We all know about the baseball “fan” in Kaohsiung during the recent world cup tournament who held up a picture of BIN LADEN during a game there laSt week with the words “America you will lose” on the bottom of the poster in English. Not only that, but the TV screen in the stadium continually played the scene over and over again, panning to the guy in the bleachers with the offensive sign. This made the news bigtime. Ugh.

During the baseball finals, another fan, maybe the same one, tried to sneak in another BIN LADEN poster but it was confiscated by the police as being in poor taste for Taipei stadium fans. In addition, in announcement was made on the PA system during the team USA game not to hold up any BIN LADEN pictures out of respect for the players from the USA.

Yesterday I attended a family affair in Taipei and one of the uncles began laughing at me and saying BIN LADEN out loud several times when he learned I was American. I just didn’t get the joke. Why do Taiwanese, some Taiwanese, think this is FUNNY? And why, instead of showing empathy with the 911 tragedy, do they laugh in our faces, as if saying the two words BIN LADEN is some kind of very funny joke. The uncle I mentioned above, kept laughing and laughing, thinking this was so funny, to say these words to me.

I bought some takoyaki at a night market stall the other day and the bossman kept saying BIN LADEN BIN LADEn to me over and over again, and laughing.

So my question to the forum here is, are some taiwanese lacking in a gene for empathy ? Or are some Taiwanese so stupid that they think it is funny to mentioon BIN LADEN name to every foreigner they see? And why is this funny?

I cannot imagine this happening in Japan, where I am sure Japanese people who show empathy to what the 911 attack waS All about. But here in Taiwan, a very perverse kind of humor has surfaced that i fear reveals a very sick, immature state of mind in some Taiwnese of the lower, uneducated classes.

Can anyone EXPLAIN what this is funny – mentioning the words BIN LADEN out loud and laughing??? I fear for Taiwan if this is a national sense of humor…

I await serious explanations…

Ive never known it to happen in Japan, in fact i found that they were afraid to talk about it at first…when i came in to work the day after it happened, they were all huddled around the tv watching coverage of bodies falling out of windows in slow motion…they saw me and immediatly switched of the tv…Im british.
In contrast , i did experience it in bankok over the christmas period. Many people working at stalls were wearing bin laden t-shirts, and were pointing to it when i walked past. The impression i got was that they werent so much pleased about it butted were caught up in the sensation of it all.wearing t-shirts because it was a world changing event.

I got so many comments from folks here about my resemblance that I shaved off my beard and mustache.

I ran into this same situation. I’m an Aussie, but I pretended to be a Yank for a few seconds. Conversation went something like this …

Cockhead - ah ah “Bin Laden” hehehe
Me - eh ah “Mao Zedong” hehehe. Strangly enough, he didn’t get it.

Yeah, I wouldn’t expect them to get that one. Maybe you should use a name more hated by the Taiwanese; maybe one of the more ruthless Japanese oppressers from the occupation… Of course, even if they got mad about it, they still wouldn’t …get it.

I don’t think this is some perverse form of attack. I think its just another example of cluelessness. Its the same as when people on the street see you and yell out, “F*** your mother!” They’re never trying to start a fight, as I’ve proven many times. They just find it…funny (until I have a nice conversation with them explaining the lack of politeness they are displaying… heehee…) If they had any clue about how rude it was (or if they thought about it for half a second), I’d imagine they wouldn’t be doing it.

I think its just something you run into a lot unfortunately; just plain lack of common sense, especially when thinking of others. They’re trying to be mean or evil.

(Try this one; next time someone yells out, ‘a-do-ah’ (Taiwanese for pointy nose), yell back ‘Mo-pi-YA’ (Taiwanese for flat nose)… they never seem to like it, yet they never seem to see the connection…)

I don’t think Mao really stirs up much emotion in the Taiwanese anymore. I even saw Mao t-shirts for sale the other day…
I used to wonder more about the swastika fad a few years back than this Bin Laden weirdness. But after recording (and transcribing)one of my classes for a research project in which there happened to be a discussion on this topic, I drew different conclusions as to why the Taiwanese seem a bit insensitive to such issues.
Below, see the transcript from this conversation with three adults and decide for yourselves.

Wi: male student
An, Ch, Li: female students
T: Teacher

Student has drawn buddhist symbol on board, then the swastika beside it:

T: Yeah, like that. ok, so this one is called a swastika, this is the symbol that they used. Or Hitler used this symbol (pointing at swastika). When I first came to taiwan I was confused because I didn