I’m going to write the delicate words that no-one else seems to have the guts to write, either that or they’re just happy with the hits and clicks that have come from the seemingly humorous story of a young Vietnamese-Australian with a name that when read phonetically seems a little naughty.
So the story goes that “Phuc Dat Bich” has been told numerous times by Facebook to change his name. Facebook you see has a “real name” policy that prevents people using crazy names on the site.
Frustrated, Mr Bich posted a photo of his Passport, pleading for the Facebook rules to allow him to use his real name on the account.
For the record, the name “Phuc Dat Bich” would be pronounced in Vietnamese as Foo Da Bick (or there abouts).
His story has met with a swarm of media coverage. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age ran this story with a simple like that they had “approached Phuc Dat Bich for comment”
The BBC Ran a story, with a video explaining how to pronounce the name in Vietnamese
Melbourne’s Herald Sun – looking for the inside line on a local Melbourne man ran the story too, adding a line to their story that he had told the Herald Sun “Fame’s fame to be honest I don’t really care.” – No word on if they met up with the man, or if this happened via a Facebook message.
So, here’s the question that everyone’s scared to ask. Is it real?
And no, this is not a racist question. This is a question of “internet evidence” leading the media on a wild goose chase.
What is the evidence? His Passport. Not that a journalist from any of the above organisation have sighted his Passport – that he posted a photo of his passport on Facebook.
My view is that the photo on Facebook is curious at best. I mean have a look at his name, the weight of the font on the passport page is entirely different to the rest of the page.
I’ve examined with my own eyes several other Australian passports in the last day or so. None suffers from this same font issue.
Could this be a great but not perfect photoshop attempt? Possibly.
So, has anyone spoken to the man? Nope.
Has anyone filmed his passport? Nope. A video is much much harder to digitally alter.
Has anyone seen his drivers licence? Nope. He loves cars, so he’s got one – we know that.
Rumour busting site Snopes have an article on the story which points to his birth-date as evidence that he’s telling the truth.
But, ahh, just FYI – anyone can edit their birthdate on Facebook, and – perhaps more critically, his birthdate is not in question. It’s his Name.
I mean have a look at his professional skills on Facebook:
And no, there’s no record of him winning the World Snooker Championship.
He’s now got over 40,000 followers on Facebook. And good on him for that. No person should be discriminated against because of their name.
But knowing the media like I do, he’s got about 100 or more interview requests in his Facebook inbox. He hasn’t accepted one of them. If he wants to change Facebook’s policy on this he can do a lot by adding his voice to the argument.
I’ve spoken to several people in the Vietnamese community. They tell me that Phuc, Dat, and Bich are all first names in Vietnamese. Given (judging by his year of birth) he was most likely born in Australia it’s a long stretch to assume his parents would not see the potential for the name to cause him some concern at school let alone any other time.
As one Vietnamese man said to me, “I think this boy is having the last laugh ”
Photoshop is an amazing thing. Right now, I think that Passport photo is photoshopped. And I’m happy, in fact I’d be delighted to be proven wrong. But to do that, I’d like to see a journalist take the time to track him down, sight that document and something else and then we’ve got a story.
Until then, it could well be a case of a young fella having a lend of us all, one hell of a solid trolling of the worldwide media.
If Mr Bich would like to get in touch with me, I’d love to be set straight – you can email me here.
UPDATE: No Need – he’s confirmed it – all a gee up.