No, this isn’t the youngest member of the Dick Tracy fan club – it’s a Beijing student wearing a wrist-mounted GPS-enabled phone given out to students citywide to help their parents keep tabs on them. Photo from Xinhuanet
Tune into the beijingkids blog each Thursday as we take you on a quick tour of items from around the web, all relating (however tangentially) to parenthood and family life in Beijing. Previous posts can be viewed here.
1. So maybe Junior is a bit too young for an iPhone (or your child’s school doesn’t allow them). Beijing parents worried about their kid’s whereabouts in this era of school stampedes, kidnappings and stabbings can keep tabs on them with this handy limited-use cellphone distributed free by the Beijing Red Cross (parents need only to pay for two years of service at RMB 840). According to this People’s Daily article, parents can apply to receive one of these phones on this Chinese-language only website: www.hongxianjijin.com.
2. Who knew Beijing has one of the world’s best under-12 recreational hockey teams? The Beijing Little Wolf hockey team just won their division in Canada’s Bell Capital Cup (the "holy grail" of youth hockey), outscoring their opponents 35-4 and remaining undefeated throughout the tournament. Despite their success, most of the players will hang up their skates once returning to Beijing to focus on preparing for the fate-altering college entrance exam they’ll take when in high school.
3. Surprise, surprise: A poll conducted of China’s singles by the All-China Women’s Federation indicates that most female singles pay much more attention to economic power, while male singles care much more about looks. Perhaps more surprising is that 70.8 percent of women say they would only marry a man if he has a house. Start saving, guys!
4. Ahh, sex education in the schools. Two weeks ago we showed you how one Beijing school is teaching the birds and the bees by having their students pretend to be sperm. Now comes this news that third graders in one Chaoyang primary school are touring the bathrooms of the opposite sex to learn what makes boys and girls different.
5. Pregnant moms have it rough. Not only do they have to deal with the physical and emotional trial of 9 months of carrying a baby, but it seems like there’s a neverending string of news stories out there saying that if they eat the wrong things, stress out, or even listen to the wrong music during their pregnancy, it’s going to determine the fate of their baby. Now dads can share a little bit of the blame, as this new study suggests that what papa’s eating before creating his offspring could influence his child’s risk of disease in the future.
6. Former beijingkids columnist Alan Paul releases his memoir Big in China about raising kids and playing in the Beijing-based blues band Woodie Alan on March 1. Former Beijing resident and writer James Fallows has this to say about the forthcoming release: "Alan Paul’s evolution from expat-village ‘trailing spouse’ to star of the Chinese music scene stands for countless similar developments underway in China. I hope many people read this book — and consider a similar adventure themselves." Pre-order it on Amazon here (Kindle edition available) and get ready for it by reading some of Paul’s columns from the beijingkids archive here. Congrats Alan!
7. Anyone who’s visited a local hospital in China knows how big antibiotics use is here — and rampant misuse and overuse of antibiotics is taking its toll on the population here. According to the director of the behavioral medicine branch of the Chinese Medical Association, of the 1.8 million deaf children in China, 60 percent lost their hearing because of improper drug use, largely related to antibiotics. Wow.
8. Good luck enforcing that one: A draft law being considered in China will "require adult children of elderly parents to visit their parents regularly and must care for their spiritual needs and cannot neglect or isolate them," according to this article in the China Daily.
9. Do your kids take a bus to school every day? Might want to check that. According to this piece from the Global Times, even Beijing is rampant with dangerous school buses, mainly due to the fact that new standards in school bus safety enacted in February last year have proven impossible to enforce.
10. Caixin Online’s English website gives us this interesting and even quite artistic personal essay about the history of marriage licenses in China from a professor emeritus of Yale University.