In a time when most schoolwork is done on computers and even exams and projects are submitted online, the last thing you want is to have your machine crash just before your deadline. To make sure that doesn’t happen, the Taiwanese have just the amulet to make sure your tech behaves properly, and according to locals, they’re super effective.
Enter 乖乖 (kuai kuai) – a popular corn puff snack.
A modern Taiwanese tradition
Taiwan may be a high tech nation, and like Singapore, it is also a superstitious one. In Singapore, we’re used to seeing Chinese residents still adhering to the old custom of burning paper offerings. In Taiwan, the locals have a rather curious – but not ancient – custom of ‘blessing’ their machines with 乖乖 (kuai kuai).
“Kuai Kuai” means “obedient” or “well-behaved,” so it’s believed that it will make a device function without errors.
Ask any Taiwanese, and they’ll tell you that they – or someone they know – will keep a packet of the snack on or near electronic devices like laptops, desktops or game consoles so that they don’t go kaputz.
You can also see them in office, commercial and government settings, placed next to the devices of server rooms (they’re usually the only items of food allowed into these sensitive rooms), on ATMs, in examination halls, and even in toll booths. News reports in Taiwan have placed the blame for some accidents on improper kuai kuai usage.
Kuai kuai versions?
Not just any kuai kuai will do – it needs to be the green packet version (coconut flavour), and the snacks cannot be expired. And no one is allowed to eat the packet that’s placed for ‘protection’.
Obviously seeing a great opportunity, the company that makes kuai kuai has come up with some colour guidelines: Green bags are for electronic devices, yellow bags for gold and fortunes (for banking industry), and red bags for love, which the company sells for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.
Of course, it may not always be feasible to get your hands on these snacks, so some savvy Taiwanese have circumvented the need to constantly purchase these green packets by printing an image of the snack and sticking that onto their tech! It’s not uncommon to see Taiwanese students put kuai kuai stickers on their laptops.
Kuai Kuai has also collaborated with the EasyCard company (Taiwan’s version of EZ Link) to produce a keychain of the beloved green packet.
There have been many stories of how the snack has performed miracles. According to a Taiwanese in Singapore: “Once I forgot to put the snack on my new PC, and the motherboard died in 6 months. Now I have it on my current PC and it’s been working fine!”
Will you be partaking in this curious Taiwanese custom?