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A twist in destiny, twisted mailboxes to stay put -- for now

2015/08/12 20:12:47

Lego twisted mailboxes at a toy show in Taichung

Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) Like their twisted figures, the two best-known roadside mailboxes in Taiwan experienced Wednesday a new twist in the story of where they should be put, with the chairman of Chunghwa Post Co., which owns the boxes, calling off a plan to relocate them.

Philip Ong (翁文祺) decided during an internal meeting earlier in the day that the mailboxes, which were bent over in the same direction by a falling sign when Typhoon Soudelor made landfall Aug. 8, will remain in their current spot at the intersection of Nanjing East Road and Longjiang Road in downtown Taipei, at least for the moment.

[Current location of the mailboxes]

Ong retracted the company's earlier plan to decommission and relocate the twisted mailboxes to a new home on the left side of the entrance to the Postal Museum Taipei Beimen Branch, where they were to have been put on display, after their sudden popularity as a photo prop began to hamper traffic in the area.

Expressing surprise over the heated debate about the mailboxes' whereabouts, Ong said he decided to shelve the relocation plan and wait for the boxes' popularity to fade before reconsidering the plan, based on public opinion.

The twisted sheet-iron letter boxes have become a big tourist draw since their photos went viral on the Internet Saturday, attracting crowds of locals and foreign tourists prepared to actually stand in line to have their photos taken with the "cute" boxes every day.

Because of the crowds, Chunghwa Post, Taiwan's official postal service, have had to send postmen and office employees to the scene every day to maintain order and even pose for photos with the tourists.

For the sake of traffic safety, the company decided Tuesday to relocate the mailboxes, nicknamed "Xiao Hong" (little red)" and "Xiao Lu" (little green) by their fans, on Aug. 13, but drew opposition from the boxes' online fans, who said that once they are relocated, "no one will pay attention to them."

Even former Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) expressed her disapproval concerning the planned relocation.

Calling for the Taipei city government to help Chunghwa maintain traffic order and safety, Ong said the company has hired security guards who were set to begin round-the-clock patrols later Wednesday.

After their unexpected popularity, the two mailboxes have also become a design feature, with one luxury hotel in downtown Taipei producing cup cakes in the shape of the unique boxes to entice customers.

(By Wang Shu-fen, Chang Ming-hsuan and Elizabeth Hsu)