In 1999 the Singapore Straits Times
reported that a 17-year-old student from Singapore called Jack Hon Si Yue had one-upped all the major software corporations of the world by creating a small computer program that would easily solve the Y2K bug (caused by the inability of older computers to distinguish between 1900 and 2000).
The teenager, described as a camera-shy C student, was said to have worked out the Y2K solution in 29 minutes while solving an algebra problem for his homework. Jack showed the solution to his father who, in turn, presented it to the Gardner technology consulting group. The student's family and the Gardner group then, according to the Straits Times
, formed a joint venture called Polo Flair in order to commercialize the solution. Revenues from the joint venture were expected to top $50 million by September, 1999.
The Straits Times
received numerous calls from journalists and computer specialists seeking more information about the story. One television journalist wanted to know if Jack Hon Si Yue could be persuaded to go on TV, despite the fact that he was camera-shy.
Clues that the article was a joke included the name of the joint venture, Polo Flair (an anagram for April Fool) and Jack's name, Si Yue, which means "April" in Chinese.
- "Media, experts fall for Y2K solution tale," Straits Times, April 2, 1999, Page 55.
- Chua Mui Hoong, "Singapore teenager hits on solution to beat the Y2K bug," Straits Times, April 1, 1999, Page 27.
Text copyright © 2002 Alex Boese