Ghoulish gaffe: Danish cyclist sits for pic on Taiwanese family tomb altar

Danish cyclist incenses Taiwanese for posing for photo on family tomb altar

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(Photo from Facebook page 爆笑公社)

(Photo from Facebook page 爆笑公社)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Danish cyclist raised hackles in Taiwan over a strict taboo he violated by posing for a photo while sitting on the alter of a Taiwanese family's tomb.

Taiwanese observe many taboos regarding the respect for spirits of ancestors and lost souls, more politely referred to as "Good Brothers" (好兄弟). On Tuesday (Oct. 29), a Taiwanese netizen posted an Instagram photo on Baoxiao Commune (爆笑公社) showing a foreign cyclist sitting on a family's tomb.

In the photo, a man can be seen wearing biker shorts and a helmet as he sits on the altar. The man posed for the photo with his legs splayed open and his arms on top of the wall as if he is sitting in a recliner or throne.

The cyclist placed his feet on either side of the incense burner, which still has sticks of incense in it. He had also placed bicycles on both sides of the front of the tomb.


Screenshot of original post on Baoxiao Commune.

Over the photo, the netizen added the caption "Oh no, I need to tell this foreigner that it is not a chair. I'm very nervous." Later, a netizen familiar with the matter identified the man in the photo as 21-year-old Danish cyclist Anthon Charmig, reported ETtoday.

Charmig had recently visited Taiwan to take part in the Taiwan KOM Challenge, which he finished in impressive fashion in first place, reported Liberty Times. After completing the race, he toured all over Taiwan and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Taiwan's mountains and forests.

After his tomb photo went viral on the internet, Charmig was informed of the actual purpose of the altar. Once he realized he had committed a phantom faux pas, he immediately deleted it from Instagram.

Many Taiwanese netizens were spooked by the cyclist's photo:

"He's done for. At night, he's going to have scary nightmares."

"My grandfather told me that if I sat like that my butt would rot."

"He doesn't feel a chill in his spine?"

"I have a foreign friend who did this. It blew my mind."

"Eastern and Western cultures are very different. He really didn't know."