Sunday 27 December 2009

Suffer Little Children … Literally

A New York Times article shows more Hocus Pocus happenings in Asia. This time, it’s to do with parents' obsession with their children’s height.

SEOUL, South Korea — With acupuncture needles trembling from the corners of her mouth like cat’s whiskers, Moon Bo-in, 5, whined with fear. But the doctor, wearing a yellow gown patterned with cartoon characters, poked more needles into her wrists and scalp. “It’s O.K., dear,” said her mother, Seo Hye-kyong. “It will help make you pretty and tall. It will make you Cinderella.”

[Trainer Choi Hyong-jin helped Kang Hyon-sung, 5, and his sister, Kang Hyon-hee, 7, as they tried a special treadmill during a growth-spurring exercise at the Seojung growth clinic in Seoul. Pic courtesy of Woohae Cho for IHT.]

In the article, there’s the obligatory irrelevant and banal quotes. For example:
“If you think of a child as a tree, what we try to do here is to provide it with the right soil, the right wind, the right sunshine to help it grow. We help kids regain their appetite, sleep well and stay fit so they can grow better.”

Too bad these quacks conveniently avoid looking closely at the “seeds” first. Not every “seed” is a sequoia; some may be willows, cedars, elms or bauhinias, so to speak. You can feed and exercise a child as much as possible, but if the right genes are not present then there’s going to be lots of disappointment and resentment somewhere down the line. Incidentally, children don't photosynthesize either!

Here’s a banal quote:
“My dream is to open growth clinics in North Korea,” said Dr. Park [who recently opened 36 joint-venture growth clinics in China and said the quest to become taller was regionwide], “so that, once we unify, children from both sides will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder, not with one side a head taller than the other.”

Suffer Little Children … Literally.

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