Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mother of baby born on China Airlines flight accused of misleading the airlines

10/18/2015 Taiwan Explorer

On October 8th on a China Airlines flight from Taipei to Los Angeles a baby was born 30000ft above the sea. This birth instantly became news in Taiwan, in the US, and soon around the globe (as well as on my page). It's a miracle, many people have thought, and the whole story was told with this narrative in the beginning, basically that it was an accidental birth. Now rumors are spreading on Taiwanese forums and social media, that something else was the case: Reckless behavior of the mother to obtain US citizenship for her newborn. This is what Taiwanese news initially reported, from the China Post:

A Taiwanese woman aboard a China Airlines (CAL) plane bound for Los Angeles gave birth to a baby girl in the air Thursday, the nation's largest air carrier confirmed Thursday. CAL said her flight took off from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 11:50 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to arrive in the U.S. at 8:35 p.m., Los Angeles time. Around six hours into the flight, the woman, who was not yet 32 weeks pregnant, reported that her water had broken. Crew members immediately asked a doctor passenger to provide assistance. The captain informed the company and asked for permission to land at the nearest airport — Anchorage — out of consideration for the safety of the woman and her baby. But about 30 minutes before the plane landed at Ted Stevens Anchorage Airport, the woman gave birth, with the assistance of the doctor. After the plane landed at Anchorage at 9:06 a.m. Thursday (Taipei time), the woman and baby were taken to a local hospital, where both of them were reported to be in good condition. The plane, after being refueled, continued its journey to Los Angeles, more than three hours later than the original arrival time. CAL reported that most of the passengers expressed understanding for the delay.

Here's a more detailed account of the situation from American media, the Washington Times:

It was a honeymoon that Dr. Angelica Zen likely won’t ever forget, and not just because of the romantic Bali vacation. On her way home to Los Angeles last week, the UCLA physician made her first unassisted delivery of a newborn baby when a passenger suddenly went into labor over the Pacific Ocean. The China Airlines flight, which had departed from Taiwan, was diverted to Alaska. Mother and newborn daughter left for a hospital, and the flight continued on to Los Angeles. “When the baby came out healthy, I was just very relieved,” Zen, back at work at UCLA on Thursday, said laughing.

These accounts however are in stark contrast to a post from a former flight attendant of China Airlines that went viral today, it has been shared over 21,000 times in Taiwan since yesterday. The person claims that her former colleagues have told her what actually happened on that flight, and before that. Her Chinese is very informal, and partly vulgar, and very difficult to translate, I had to ask my wife to help. Please forgive me if it's not perfect, but you'll get the main point. I purposely kept the vulgar parts intact to preserve authenticity, so that you can decide by yourself whether she's a credible critic. This is what she said:

Ok, I can’t bear it anymore, I almost want to explode. My ex company made giving birth on a plane look like very touching fake news, and everybody thinks that the stewardess was so great, and can help with the birth and the kids may get free tickets all their life. I want to tell you it’s enough, don’t give this woman any sympathy!!!!
The truth of this event is, this crazy woman told a huge lie at the moment when she bought the ticket. She didn’t tell the staff that she was pregnant. And when she came to the airport and checked in, she didn’t mention it as well. At that day she wore a quite a loose top and hid her tummy on purpose. Of course the staff couldn’t figure it out!! If you didn’t tell the airline company that you’re pregnant, of course there is no record in the system, so the staff would not check whether you’re pregnant or not!!! And who would ask a woman randomly whether she is pregnant or not. It’s like you just didn’t poo for one week and the tummy looks big, and people see you on the MRT and want to give seat to you!?
Moreover, when the woman came on board, she still tried to conceal herself, but according to what a stewardess told me, the plane hasn’t taken off, she already felt the contractions. The stewardess saw her and went to ask her whether she was fine, and figured out that she woman was pregnant, but the woman insisted that it was just "flatulence", and that she did not have any problems (damn, your breasts are swollen from milk crazy woman). And the problem came when they took off, and the labor pain kept coming, however the woman's first two children were both from a c-section, and were banana as well [banana is a derogatory term for American Born Taiwanese], and the woman doesn’t know how to push out the baby the natural way, and the other experienced passengers told her that it’s so urgent that she needs to give birth immediately. Even some of the flight attendants who are already mothers guided her how to push, the woman insisted to postpone, she didn’t want to lay down to give birth, and kept asking if they’re close to American air space. At last she had no choice and gave birth. And one of the passengers was doctor, who felt compelled to help, and had the obligation to know how many weeks she was pregnant - the answer was 36!!!!!!!
Do you know that from 32 weeks on, if you want to fly, you need a certificate from the doctor that says you’re able to fly?!!! But this mother who wanted the child to be banana didn’t have any single document!!! Over 36 weeks is already 9 months old fetus, you not only put yourself and your child’s life in danger, you’re also causing a lot of trouble for all the passengers!!!!!!!! Just because you want your so called “flatulence” child be American!!!!!! And then the whole flight has to land in Anchorage just because a passenger went against the rules!!! Do you know how much it costs to re-arrange those innocent passengers and the flight crew and dispatching another plane to take them to their planned destination, as well as your medical treatment?!!!?!
Now you are sent back, and your child may not have American citizenship, and plus the US will investigate you, but that’s still not retribution enough for all the trouble you caused for the passengers and the crew!!!!!! Damn news, made you look good, don’t you have a guilty conscience?!!! I’m so crazy mad!!!! Don’t you know how difficult it is to give birth safely on a plane!!!!!!
You were only asking: "Did we reach the United States yet? Did we reach the United States yet?" The flight attendant was so nice, and didn’t ask you: "Have you reached hell? Have you reached hell!!" If they told you directly that you reached Africa Kenya savanna, would you feel happy?!! And now because you hid the truth on purpose, and went against the law of entering America, you got sent back, and couldn’t go to America for a while, is it ok?!!!! (all this information is offered truly by my ex company’s colleagues, who are my good friends, this baby now has no mother to take care of, you idiot). Remark: Because baby can’t take a flight, if it’s under 14 days, so only the mother was sent back. The baby is supposed to be taken care of by the local relatives, and will stay in American hospital. I don’t know how to make a conclusion, anyway, this behavior is not to be encouraged, but the touching feeling of giving birth to a small baby is not something we outsiders can understand. Just when this child grows up and finds out about these news, will feel shocked that he was so famous when he was born, more famous than the “boat brother”.

Apple Daily has summarized the online buzz today, and other media is following suit, so this definitely hit a nerve with many netizens. For example, a blog post from May 2015 written by a Taiwanese girl, who wrote how she successfully concealed her pregnancy and gave birth in the US, is being reshared as well, and the girl is being attacked for her behavior. These things are happening in Taiwan, they're no secret. Coincidentally the same topic has been hotly discussed in the US this year, initiated by Donald Trump, and stirring up a lot of controversy. As we don't have any statement from the mother, or any conclusions from officials, we can't really be sure whether the woman has acted irresponsibly to obtain US citizenship for her baby, or weather it was just premature birth.  Once I get more information, I will update this post.

What do you think? Unexpected miracle, or a calculated stunt? Discuss on my Facebook page.