BANGKOK — Are you smarter than a first grader? Test yourself with the following math homework from an elementary school in eastern Thailand.
Joy picks up 12 mangoes. Joe picks up eight more mangoes than Joy. How many mangoes does Joe have?
If you answered 20 – BUZZ – you’d be wrong, at least in one Chonburi school, where the correct answer was four.
That according to the correction a teacher made to one of the student’s work. Perplexed by the mangled math, a relative of one of the students took to social media Tuesday to ask what the mangoes was going on.
“The teacher said it was a wrong answer. I’m confused,” Phuan Pennapa wrote in a caption to a photo of the Pathom 1 math problem, which soon went viral and captivated the nation.
The original photo was later deleted, but for a whole day, it seemed as if Thai social media talked of nothing other than mango math.
“As if the stress from Mangkhut wasn’t enough,” wrote Twitter user Biim_buum, referring to Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which means mangosteeen in Thai. “After I saw Joe’s and Joy’s mangoes, my brain is fried.”
Another Twitter user, Prodpn, tried mental gymnastics to find a poetic explanation for the answer the teacher gave.
“Joe: I only picked up four mangoes. How come you have eight fewer mangoes than I do? Joy: Because I love you Joe. Love can make anything happen,” Prodpn tweeted.
“It really reflects the problems in our national education,” Twitter user Oodas concluded.
“Who did Joe and Joy steal the mangoes from?” Facebook user Nucha Vtecstory asked, addressing the real question here.
Pitchforks were raised briefly after a website doxxed someone it said was the teacher. It later turned to be a clickbait article on a hoax news site – one of many that strike whenever controversy churns.
Perhaps to reassure the country that mathematics hadn’t changed, some media agencies went even interviewed math teachers – including the textbook author himself – who maintained that – yes – the answer should have been 20.
So how did it go so wrong? In a follow-up post, Pennapa said she talked to the director of the school, who she did not name, and was told the teacher was grading a lot of homework and was confused by the question.
“The teacher was grading the homework of more than 30 children,” Pennapa wrote. “The teacher mistook the question as subtraction … the teacher has explained the situation and admitted fault in this case.”
A parody cartoon depicts Joe taunting Joy, “I have eight more mangoes than you!”
This cartoon suggests Joe only has four mangoes left because he had to surrender the rest to Joy, who turned out to be his wife.
Just shut up about the mangoes already!