Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 22:26:13 PST
Sender: Internationally-Oriented Computer-Assisted Reporting List <INTCAR-L@AMERICAN.EDU>
From: Dan Bloom <nadmoolb@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Taiwan UFO suicide cult in Texas

Taiwan UFO suicide cult in Texas

By Dan Bloom <nadmoolb@HOTMAIL.COM>, 25 December 1997

As you know from the newspapers and TV, a Taiwan-based UFO cults led by a sociology professor from Taipei, has moved to Garland, Texas USA to await the end of the world on March 31, 1998. According to the leader of the cult, a 40ish kook who wears a white banana leaf peasant way, white clothes and white sneakers, Mr Hon Ming Chen, God is going to enter his body at 10 am on that day. You've probably seen the AP and Reuters stories in your hometown papers already. What you haven't seen is the lead editorial in yesterday's edition of the China Post, one of the two English language dailies in Taiwan. As public relations professionals and journalist, some of you on the list might appreciate the wisdom of the editorial, which as usual comes unsigned and could have been written be either a Taiwan national or a foreign staff writer. I don't know, but given the quote that I am going to post now, I believe it was written by a Taiwanese.

The editoral (not a commentary, not an op-ed piece, not a humor column, but the real editorial) was titled THE UFO CULT SAYS A LOT ABOUT TAIWAN and began by explaining the entire situation and pointing out how Western culture had sort of messed up Taiwanese minds with imported religious ideas and material values and charactering the UFO cult's activities as weird. So far so good. But in the next to last paragraph, the editorial pulled back and declared: It is too early to tell whether Chen's prediction that God will show up at the end of March is correct. We won't know, in fact, until that very moment. Maybe his prophecy will turn out to be true.....Let's wait and see.

Yes, let's wait and see, right? Could be this guy Chen is dead right and God is going to enter his body at 10 am in Garland Texas. It's too early to tell, let's not rush to judgment.

If you were a PR official advising the China Post over this unbelievable gaffe BEFORE word leaks out to the international press, what would you advise the paper to do? Issue a retraction? Apologize for a stupid analysis? Fold the paper and move to Garland Texas? Any thoughts?

DAN BLOOM (in Taiwan)

PS - By the way, Mr Chen said he chose GARLAND Texas to base his cult in the USA because it sounds like GOD LAND to his ears.

NOTE: This is a MAJOR print and TV story here in Taiwan now. I don't know how it is playing in your part of the world, but I'd be curious to hear what other media are saying about this affair. It could be a replay of Heaven's Gate all over again. The trouble with these cults is that they don't have any spin doctors on staff.