From Taiwan: Hey Song Soda Bicycle

hey song soda bike.jpg

Iris and I went to the “Taipei Story House”, a colonial-era building that has been turned into an odd little tribute Taiwanese commercialism. On both stories of the house, there are Taiwanese products from the past such as “Darkie Toothpaste” along with print and/or video advertisements. The one thing Bike Huggers should find interesting was the Hey Song Soda bicycle.

(The photo is crappy because I had to take it clandestinely… no photography allowed in the Story House. The majority of it isn’t worth photographing either.)

Hey Song Soda was once a luxury item, to be consumed only on special occasions or as a self-indulgent treat. In the 1950s, a bottle of Hey Song cost about a third of a day’s wages. Hence, it was generally sold by the glass. This old bicycle here once rolled the streets of Taipei. The large wooden box over the rear wheel carried glass cups, ice and bottles of Hey Song. The Taiwanese would call out to the rider, who would pour a cold glass of Hey Song for the paying customer to drink right at the side of the road.

The horribly racially insensitive “Darkie Toothpaste” was a staple of Taiwan households for decades.

Darkie toothpaste.jpg

Only recently was the name changed to “Darlie”, and the visage on the product changed to a more generic and racially indeterminate gentleman.

Darlie toothpaste.jpg

Despite all progress, there remains some head-scratchingly odd names for toothcare products.


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