Back in the 1960s, Andy Warhol prophetically professed, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” What he never mentioned, however, is what people would be world-famous for. As a woman in Taiwan recently found out, it could be something as seemingly innocuous as eating a pork bun.
On Tuesday, as a typhoon made landfall in Asia, the Wall Street Journal ran a story entitled “Typhoon Megi Slams Into Taiwan.” As the lead image to the story, the paper’s website included a bit of a lighthearted snapshot from Associated Press photographer Chiang Ying-ying featuring a woman in Taipei eating a pork bun in the street despite heavy rains and wind having trashed the umbrella she is futilely using to try to keep herself dry.
Needless to say, social media in Taiwan and the world over took note of this woman’s determination in the face of a typhoon and she went viral – with many even declaring her a hero. “Aren't we all just trying 2 eat a pork bun during a deadly typhoon,” one Twitter user wrote. She even got the full BuzzFeed treatment – solidifying her Internet fame.
But don’t forget, there is, in fact, a real woman behind the photograph – and a Taiwanese news organization called Apple Daily was eventually able to hunt her down. Unsurprisingly, the 53-year-old who runs a fruit stand at a Taipei market said she wasn’t particularly thrilled to now be best known as the woman in an unflattering photo eating a pork bun under a broken umbrella in the pouring rain. “Unlucky” was the word she used (though I could think of some more aggressive words she should have considered.) Reportedly, she said, on the bright side, she was hoping her fame might increase business at her fruit stand. Might I suggest selling some pork buns there while she’s at it?