Where is Boon Tan?

In the 1970s and 1980s, evil had a name and that name was Boon Tan.

From a post in this alum’s blog, here’s an exerpt from an Argus article that is no longer available online:

“Boon Tan was a Malaysian student who failed to show up in 1972 and again the next year though his face was in the face book. Shortly thereafter ‘the Boon began to appear on the University walls; not a representation of the missing student, but a symbol of evil incarnate. Midnight ceremonies were held. Mass gatherings cried out the word of Boon…'”

Apparently Boon Tan was the Snakes On a Plane of Wesleyan in those days, if by “Samuel L. Jackson” you mean “sort-of racist cartoon face.”

Through the magic that is the internet, after making the above post, plainsfeminist hears from someone who was actually present at the conception of the Boon Tan legend. Here is the story of Boon Tan in all its now-forgotten glory.

What’s almost more interesting than the Boon Tan history itself are the passing mentions of how different Wes was even as recently as the 80s. For example–The Tech existed already! (Does it have the same meaning, I wonder?) Furthermore, the only co-ed freshman hall in Westco was Up 2. Coincidentally, one of the two gender-neutral freshman roommate pairings that successfully stayed together two years ago? That’s right–Lilly Dagdigian ’08 and Joshua Pavlacky ’08, also in Up 2. O pioneers!

Boon Tan was still a part of the Wes collective consciousness as recently as 2003, when an Argus article on the then-phenomenon of Friendster mentioned him in passing:

Although the exact number of Wesleyan students belonging to the Friendster community is unknown, Wesleyan itself appears to have a user account, maintained by an anonymous person who goes by the name “boon tan,” that boasts 434 friends.

However, by then it appears that the meaning of Boon Tan had been lost. Well, now you know, I guess.

If anyone can provide me a picture of the Boon Tan drawing, I’ll gladly post it here.

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