Tuesday, September 18, 2007

When I was YOUR age...

Younger readers have probably heard it countless times from old geezers like yours truly. "You kids these days are spoiled and lazy. Why, in MY day we had to...." You will then be treated to tales of childhood hardship which include, but are not limited to:
  • Having to do chores every day before and/or after school
  • Not being allowed to watch / not having a television
  • Being spanked
  • Killing a grizzly bear with their loose leaf notebook
  • Having to walk to school
  • Uphill
  • Both ways
  • In a snowstorm
Many of these stories may be true, of course, but I think we can all be a bit happier about our own situations when you hear how things are going for some of the children in China.

A bridge is to be built in a Chinese village where children are forced to cross a raging torrent on a steel cable to get to school. Nearly 500 children, from Maji village in Fugong town, Yunnan province, cross the most dangerous stretch of the Nujiang River each day.They fasten themselves to the cable with a metal carabiner and a rope and slide across the 200 metre wide canyon.

The youngest student, A Qia, 4, has to go over by herself each day.The villagers say that usually four-year-old children are taken by their parents, and begin to go by themselves from the age of five.

A Pu, five, who was stuck in the middle of the cable for nearly 20 minutes once, said: “I used to dream of having a bridge, but then I learned that my dream was too expensive.”

Things are looking up, however.
But officials finally agreed to spend £35,000 on a bridge after a TV programme was made about the children’s dangerous daily journey.

I had it pretty tough at times back in my day. I had to work after school, my parents were strict disciplinarians and we lived out in the country with few modern amenities. However, I clearly was living the life of the high and mighty compared to these kids.

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