吉姆 JIM HOFMAN | Photography Faces & places in China

Chinese Daycare RANT

I was riding my bike around our village early on Saturday morning and rounded the corner in a new technology park and found a 3 year old girl sleeping on the sidewalk.  She was alone with only a bag next to her.  She was clutching a plastic toy sword.  Now it’s fairly common to see Chinese people sleeping on the sidewalks, but not 3 year olds by herself!  I tested my horrible Chinese language skills on her to determine if her mother or father were near, but didn’t get a reply.  I looked around to see if anyone was watching her.  No one.  I gave her all of the money I had in my pocket for some food, then I took a couple photos and started riding around to a couple factories nearby, but none of the guards at the factory gates recognized her.

I was feeling helpless because of the language barrier. I knew I couldn’t pick her up and take her to the police station – I’d get arrested for kidnapping (a Chinese prison isn’t a very desirable retirement solution).  I decided to call my daughter in the US to see if she had any suggestions for my moral dilemma.  As I was talking to her, an old woman who was sweeping the street ran up and started talking to me in Chinese.  It was her grandmother, who was all smiles.  UN – FREAKING – BELIEVABLE.  She had left her granddaughter on the sidewalk unattended in the bright sun while she worked.

I could write a VERY long post about the problems in China, but this one really disturbed me. Most of my kids are older, but I also have a 6 year old.  I envisioned him sleeping on the sidewalk and it enraged me.

Typically the grandparents raise a Chinese couple’s small children while the parents work in factories.  But what happens if the grandparents also work??  There’s a serious flaw in the cultural pattern when EVERYONE works and there’s no one left to watch the kids!!!  ARRRHHH!!!

Photos taken with an iPhone 4.

 

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