04 April 2008

Flying penguins on April Fool's Day

I don't think April Fool's Day would be an official holiday in any country but it's indeed celebrated in many by making practical jokes on colleagues, friends, family members or, on a larger scale, all the people in the country.

However, it appears to me that although we see petty jests in Taiwan, Taiwanese people are far less enthusiastic about April Fool's Day pranks than Westerners. Having spent nearly five years in Britain, I found that British institutions, particularly big companies, are quite willing to blow their money on April Fool's advertisements.

For example, each year BMW produces an April Fool's Day advert in the broadsheet press, such as The Times and The Telegraph, to provide their customers, of course as well as the broad readership of these newspapers, with good laughter. The car manufacture proudly takes this as a tradition primarily aimed at BMW drivers as a once-a-year opportunity for them to drop their guard and have a laugh at themselves. Visit BMW Education website in the UK to see some April Fool's ads.

Although I've moved back in Taipei last summer, I'm still watching and reading about what the Briton's are doing. What really captivates me this year is a spoof footage of flying penguins produced by BBC as part of its new natural history series and as a promo for its website for streamed video clip content iPlayer (unfortunately, due to rights agreements, iPlayer is only available in the UK).

It's a classic! As commented in The Telegraph, it is accomplished work of this kind that guarantees the BBC its unique status.

A comment on YouTube even makes me laugh for another five minutes
It is REAL guys! They are already HERE!!! I can see them flying through my windows right now, I meant my Microsoft Windows :P
I have to say that this is really British. I will see nothing in Taiwan comparable to BMW's annual April Fool's Day broadsheet adverts, never ever to mention BBC's footage.

The idiom '... and pigs might fly' expresses that there is no chance at all of something happening. I suggest that BBC produce another spoof of flying pigs next year, and probably a new usage of this idiom will be introduced.

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