Sunday, April 24, 2011

Would You Turn Your Child in if They Committed a Crime?

My husband and I ran into an interesting difference of opinion the other night. He said the parents of a confessed murderer who escorted their son to turn himself into the police should have done more to protect their son.

My response: “What? They were bad parents because they made their son own up to killing somebody?” Seriously, I didn’t think there would even be much thought there. But the case is more complicated than that. As a brief background, the young art student’s car hit a young mother riding her bike, and then he stabbed her to death when she started writing down his license number.  The act was witnessed and he injured more people on his escape.

As for his parents, it seems they escorted him to the police after investigation and witnesses had already led in his direction, making their act far less noble than it would seem. The family was reportedly affluent and with connections, though just how much is being debated all over the Internet. At least, it wasn’t enough to avoid the death penalty. Compensation offered the victim’s family was rejected.

But, whatever went on with his parents, my husband’s reaction brings up, to me, an aspect of a single-child society that isn’t usually addressed. That even the idea of protecting your child who has taken someone’s life could be supported shows a high level of protectiveness that some Chinese might call a sacrifice along the lines of spending all their life’s savings to guarantee a good future for their child (in this case, it seems the seemed affluence came from his parents spending what money they did have giving their son a comfortable life, i.e. the car).  

Now, Chinese parents certainly don’t corner the market on this level of protectiveness and I’m sure there are plenty of parents in other countries who hide their child’s criminal behavior. But it's probably not an attitude that would be publicly voiced (as much as my husband's opinion is "public"!) And in fact, is the only-child sense of entitlement leading to the greater possibility of criminality? Many netizens believe this killer was justified and might have done the same themselves.  

We all say we just want our kids to be happy, while all the while planning for them to become doctors, lawyers, presidents (goodness knows why for the latter two… J). We look at cases like this and shake our heads, but I won’t deny the horrible possibility hasn’t crossed my mind  of any of my children doing, well, something I would be less than proud of. What would I do if it were a case like this? What I believe is the right thing, I hope. But I hope and pray none of my sons ever makes his parents have to have this debate for real!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Win $150 from American Airlines

It's the time of year to start planning summer family vacations. But for many of us, finding the money to afford a vacation is difficult. American Airlines is hoping to help someone out with that with a contest to win a $150 dollar voucher. The contest is to promote new routes including Shanghai to Los Angeles and 9 other US cities. Check out this flash mob video  they filmed in LA.

You can enter the contest at TravelingMom

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sand Gets in Your Eyes: Spring in Beijing

Spring is windy and stormy in much of the world. But in Beijing it brings with it the added curse of sand. A common news topic this time of year is tree planting – trying to stop the evil Gobi desert from sending its sand our way. Recently, we looked out our window and saw our English-Polish neighbor kids digging a hole to plant trees, while hotel staff looked on.

I assumed this was hotel sand-fighting propaganda, but after we ventured outside we discovered the neighbor boys had themselves requested and chosen these trees – one cherry blossom and one peach. The kids all had fun digging and pouring water. And we big people all had fun toasting it with neighbor Kasha’s cherry brandy.

But the belief the trees were a sort of symbolic sand-fighting effort at all was all my assumption on first glance out the window. Flipping through hotel channels soon after, my attention was arrested by a photo on the hotel channel. It was us and the neighbors in full digging mode.  Turns out the hotel is promoting the act as planting “memorial trees” for “departed foreign experts”, presumably referring to the man who dug up his own trees on moving.