Death by Milk Tea

Article by: Akshay Sharathchandra

Among Cronuts, twerking, and Vine, one major trend that’s emerged in recent years is none other than milk tea. A combination of (you guessed it!) milk and tea, this popular drink has many variations present around the world, including the popular Taiwanese bubble or boba tea, Malaysian and Singaporean Teh Tarik, and Hong Kong-style milk tea. However, this craze has deteriorated within the last few weeks thanks to a series of casualties in the Philippines due to the supposed contamination of the beverage.

Suzanne Dagohoy and William Abrigo were two of three victims who consumed milk tea from ErgoCha, a road stall in Sampaloc, Manila, on April 9. Both promptly collapsed and minutes later, passed away. The third victim was Dagohoy’s boyfriend, Arnold Aydalla, who took a sip of the same beverage and collapsed, but luckily recovered. The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has responded to the incident, claiming it was an “isolated case”. However, the general public of Manila remains dissuaded as, based on multiple milk tea store reports, milk tea sales have dropped by about 60% since the incidence. DOH secretary Janette Garin has released a statement claiming that tests from the milk tea samples revealed no evidence of toxic chemicals, making the incident even more mysterious.

While the event has clearly left a mark on the rest of the city, the ISM community has not been entirely deterred by the idea of contaminated milk tea. Junior Lau Peña, an avid drinker of milk tea, states that she was shocked when she first heard the news. She believes that milk tea is largely present throughout ISM, especially among sports teams. Such teams often have team-bonding sessions and enjoy ‘winding-down’ in popular establishments such as Chatime. Lau predicts that although the event may have shocked some within the community, the hype of milk tea will return to its original intensity. “[Milk tea is] basically, like, water to me,” Lau explains. She remarks that due to her love for milk tea, her prom date ended up asking her with a milk tea-themed ‘promposal’.

News_ Death by Milk Tea (Soung Jin Yang)(2)

On the other hand, sophomore Jessica Zhang has never been a huge fan of the drink, and upon hearing the news, her opinions remained unaltered. She believes this is a rare occurrence and that there is a very low chance of it reoccurring, much less affecting anyone in the ISM community.

While the matter is certainly tragic, it is important to keep in mind that events such as these are rare. There is no real benefit into worrying about something as commonplace as drinking a beverage, so one shouldn’t be too concerned about drinking milk tea.