Taiwan gives leaning postboxes stamp of stardom
A pair of roadside postboxes uniformly bent by a falling signboard during a typhoon have become celebrities in Taiwan, with people lining up to take photos and inspiring fan merchandise.
Many Taiwanese think the postboxes resemble faces, and this side-by-side pair - one green and one red - now look especially cute because their poles are bent in their mid-section at similar angles.
"They look like they're smiling," said Taiwan's Chunghwa Post mail service publicity officer, surnamed Huang. "That's pretty special. So we see a lot of people out taking photos."
The boxes, two of 10,986 around Taiwan, gained fame after Typhoon Soudelor ripped across the island on August 8, killing eight and injuring 420 before claiming another 21 lives in China. Strong winds tore a signboard from a building in central Taipei, bending the boxes to the right on their poles as it fell.
Security guards now protect the boxes while chuckling fans pose next to them, either bending themselves or pretending to push the boxes.
"The typhoon wasn't really that bad after all," said Ting Po-yi, 17, a high school pupil who came from a Taipei suburb to get his photo taken.
Some fans have created memorabilia including key chains and mobile phone shells and a website has an app that lets users superimpose the postboxes on to photos in phones and computers.
Chunghwa Post originally planned to remove the boxes over safety concerns. But after a public outcry the service said it would let the boxes stay pending an internal review. In a statement, it has advised crowds not to push or squeeze.
The postboxes can still take letters, which Chunghwa Post is stamping with a special postmark showing the two leaning celebrities, said public relations officer Weng Yao-kuang.