One of the big issues in the Taiwan media this week is the controversy over ‘Three Siblings Pudding’. The Kaohsiung based brand was created by a teenage girl and her twin younger brothers. The siblings were orphaned when their mother died a few years ago. They lived with their grandmother who couldn’t afford to keep them so they learned how to make pudding, created the brand, and marketed their product on Facebook.
Controversy erupted when the brand became too successful. The Three Siblings brand had been built on compassion. The sad story of three orphans, living with their poor grandmother was the essential thread in the marketing campaign. The thread began to unravel when the money came in. Pictures began to surface on Facebook, PTT, and other popular social media channels. The older sister was seen riding a brand new scooter. She had the latest i-phone. The kids were wearing ‘Tide’ brand clothing. The girl and her grandmother were spotted in a high-end Kaohsiung restaurant, and the absent father had suddenly reappeared.
The father, it had turned out, had left to hide from debts, but has recently opened a brokerage firm. The siblings who had claimed money raised by the pudding business would help pay for their school fees, had enrolled in acting classes. There is a growing suspicion among netizens that the father was never really absent, but hiding and directing the business, like a puppet-master hidden behind a screen.
The market place that was so supportive turned vituperative. On their Facebook page today, the siblings apologized to people who had tried to call them. They weren’t answering the phone due to the amount of abuse being poured on them by callers, many of whom were using the Taiwanese ‘three-character classic’ (a Taiwanese insult the equivalent of ‘F## your mother’). The grandmother was found unconscious yesterday after burning charcoal in a suicide attempt and is recovering in hospital.
Pictures from user-contributed images on PTT bulletin board.