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Taiwan Pleads with Citizens to Not Change Their Names to 'Salmon' for Free Sushi

Representative photo

Representative photo

In a phenomenon that has been dubbed "Salmon Chaos" by local media, around 150 mostly young people flocked to government offices in recent days to officially register a change in their name.

A top Taiwanese official issued a plea on Thursday for people to stop changing their name to “salmon” after dozens made the unusual move to take advantage of a restaurant promotion.

In a phenomenon that has been dubbed “Salmon Chaos” by local media, around 150 mostly young people flocked to government offices in recent days to officially register a change in their name.

The cause of this sudden enthusiasm was a chain of sushi restaurants.

Under the two day promotion which ended Thursday, any customer whose ID card contained “Gui Yu” — the Chinese characters for salmon — would be entitled to an all-you-can-eat sushi meal along with five friends.

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Taiwan allows people to officially change their name up to three times.

But Taiwanese officials were not amused.

“This kind of name-change not only wastes time but causes unnecessary paperwork,” deputy interior minister Chen Tsung-yen told reporters as he urged the public to “cherish administrative resources”.

“I hope everyone can be more rational about it,” he added.

Local media ran interviews with people who took advantage of the promotion.

“I just changed my name this morning to add the characters ‘Bao Cheng Gui Yu’ and we already ate more than Tw$7,000 ($235),” a college student surnamed Ma told TVBS news channel in southern Kaohsiung city.

Roughly translated, Ma’s new moniker means: “Explosive Good Looking Salmon”.

“I’ve changed my first name to salmon and two of my friends also did,” a woman surnamed Tung told SET TV. “We’ll just change our names back afterwards.”

Other salmon-themed names reported in local media included “Salmon Prince,” “Meteor Salmon King” and “Salmon Fried Rice”

The United Daily News reported that one resident decided to add a record 36 new characters to his name, most of them seafood themed, including the characters for “abalone”, “crab” and “lobster”.

A similar case was reported recently after a woman from West Bengal has triggered a series of queries and reactions on social media after she put in an affidavit in a newspaper informing the changing of her name from Anamika Mazumder to ‘Supreme Imperium’. Although Anamaika’s act of changing her name isn’t uncommon, its the choice of the new moniker that has netizens questioning and commenting on the unique choice. The woman, a resident of Bararankua village under Ramnagar police station in the East Midnapore district posted the affidavit saying from March 1, she would be known by her new name of ‘Supreme Imperium’.

first published:March 18, 2021, 14:54 IST