Why are BIN LADEN jokes funny in Taiwan?

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…

Ask David.



Taipei Times


oh my god! i cant believe that! the local taiwanese actually do make fun of it? thats just wrong


Wrong about Japan. I came back from Japan a couple weeks ago from a 5 day trip. Fully 1/3 of the Japanese guys I was doing business with gave me endless crap about being bin Laden myself, or that bin was out there looking for me, or not to worry cuz they weren’t bin Laden.

I didn’t think it was very tactful, but I wasn’t offended.

The time before was in July - about the same time Pearl Harbor came out. Me being from Arizona contributed to the teasing. I never mentioned Hiroshima or Nagasaki. I wonder how they would have reacted to that.

I think you can attribute a lot of this to the “rednecks” of Taiwan. They are simply uneducated, ignorant, or simply naive on the subject. To them, it was an event that happened in a faraway place, to faraway people. They think it’s funny because it happened to the big bad Americans, who everyone loves to hate. Basically if weather this “fad”, it’ll go away, as with all Taiwanese fads.