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Palauan president sports ambigram cap during visit to Taiwan

Same inscription can be read 'Hello Taiwan' in English or 'Taiwan' in Mandarin

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Palauan President Surangel Whipps, Jr. (front left) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wearing the design caps (Twitter, MOFA photo) 

Palauan President Surangel Whipps, Jr. (front left) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu wearing the design caps (Twitter, MOFA photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Palau President Surangel Whipps, Jr. was spotted on Wednesday (March 31) wearing a cap showing the English words “Hello Taiwan,” which also displayed the Chinese characters for “Taiwan” (台灣) when turned 90 degrees.

Whipps, his wife, and an accompanying government delegation are visiting Taiwan to launch a “travel bubble” between the two diplomatic allies on April 1. Travelers will be allowed to fly from Taiwan to Palau without having to undergo quarantine. The East Asian country has only recorded 1,030 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, while Palau has zero cases.

When President Whipps and Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) traveled south to Kaohsiung via high-speed train Wednesday, they were both seen wearing the ambigram caps, the Liberty Times reported.

If the hat is rotated 90 degrees, the letters of the word “Hello” can be read as the Chinese character “tai (台)," and the word “Taiwan” looks like the Chinese “wan (灣).” The design is reminiscent of the ambigrams popularized by “The Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown, where a word can be read exactly the same upside down.

Wu reportedly presented Whipps with the hat during an official lunch Tuesday (March 30). The foreign minister went on to show the decorative headwear on his Twitter feed the following day.