April Fools’ Jokes


Special Focus - - Contents - Wang Huiyun 王辉云

Ev­ery time April Fools’ jokes come up, I can’t help but think­ing of the story of the “cow­tomato.”

I re­mem­ber some­time af­ter the re­forms and open­ing- up of the coun­try, the me­dia re­ported on a sci­en­tific dis­cov­ery that caused quite the sen­sa­tion: “cow­toma­toes.” Ap­par­ently a pro­fes­sor at some col­lege in Ger­many had mixed tomato cells to­gether with cow cells and had suc­cess­fully grown “cow- toma­toes.” These toma­toes con­tained ten times the amount of vitamin C that the orig­i­nal toma­toes had and were high in pro­tein, mak­ing this in­cred­i­ble com­bi­na­tion of meat and veg­etable into a brand- new su­per-food.

This news caused quite the stir in China at the time. Back then, the coun­try had only just opened up its doors, we opened our eyes to take a look and: Wow! Com­pared with de­vel­oped coun­tries we were re­ally lag­ging be­hind by a large dis­tance. If we wanted to eat beef and toma­toes, we would need to buy toma­toes and some beef, then we would need to stir- fry them to­gether to make a sin­gle dish. Other coun­tries, though, had al­ready made a hy­brid of the two; you can eat a tomato and chew on it like you’d chew on a piece of soy­braised beef. Giv­ing you vi­ta­mins and high pro­tein all in one bite. If ev­ery­one had this kind of tomato, then they wouldn’t need to tend so many cows any­more.

Ap­par­ently, in order to get these toma­toes ac­ces­si­ble to the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion as soon as pos­si­ble, pro­fes­sional tech­ni­cians made a spe­cial trip, over a great dis­tance, to Ger­many to visit the pro­fes­sor who in­vented the “cow­tomato.” But it was all for noth­ing. No such out­stand­ing pro­fes­sor ever ex­isted. It was only later that they found out, the whole thing was an April Fools’ joke cookedup by the British mag­a­zine New

Sci­en­tist .

This kind of hu­mor was cer­tainly new for peo­ple who had re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced med­i­cal treat­ments like in­ject­ing chicken blood, drink­ing cold wa­ter, arm swing­ing ther­apy and drink­ing fer­mented tea. The joke in New

Sci­en­tist , left Chi­nese peo­ple ex­cited for quite a while.

If we say that “lies” like the “cow-tomato” were able to de­ceive the Chi­nese pub­lic who were to­tally un­fa­mil­iar with West­ern cul­ture. Then, can it be said that ev­ery­one who lives in the West is im­mune to April Fools’ jokes? The an­swer is: no.

West­ern­ers mainly just use April Fools’ Day as a way to have some fun. Very often you will see jokes played on fa­mous peo­ple to en­ter­tain the pub­lic. In re­cent years, even Mi­crosoft’s CEO, Bill Gates, was pranked on April Fools’ Day.

In 2002, two news­read­ers at a French TV Sta­tion, in Mon­treal, Québec, Canada, were bored out of their minds. They came up with the idea to find a fa­mous per­son who was in­tel­li­gent and hard to fool, to prank for fun

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