I have seen it so many times and in so many countries, when a child is forced somehow into a the role of caregiver. You see in them an unnatural maturity and a weight of responsibility that will influence them for the rest of their lives. This scene today in the french concession area of Shanghai made me stop in my tracks. A child driving another child on a moped in the middle of the afternoon traffic… and when you have a child yourself it makes you think even more and wonder at the dire circumstances that would require that parents allow a risk like this to be taken.
On an afternoon stroll in today’s very windy and cold streets of Shanghai with my friend Sabrina, we met these really sweet Shanghainese young men who most certainly have a story to tell. They loved the attention and the camera pointed at them and they carried on to pose, straighten their matching jackets, and smile shyly as I clicked away. Tufic later thought they reminded him of a Chinese version of the “Beatles” on their way to furnish their first set before a concert… Whatever their story is, they were totally charming in their shy giggly way.
Today I was having lunch in a Shanghai neighborhood where many expatriates reside. I was stunned to see at what a young age children are starting to smoke cigarettes these days, or was it always like this? These skaters looked so young, and so “cool” with the whole attitude of “look at me I am totally grown up now”.. and yet I felt that a lollypop would me much more fitting at their tender young age.