Another inspiring story of the hardship and struggle that is often faced by young children in rural China has emerged to touch the hearts of people across the country.
Liu Minghui is 8 years old. He goes to school, comes home, and does his homework. He lives outside of Ruijin city in Jiangxi province. His family consists of himself and his 6-year-old sister, his mother, father, grandmother and grandfather.
However, to make enough money to support their family, Liu’s parents work in a garment factory far away, and can only return home during Chinese New Year, China Daily reports.
To help make ends meet, Liu’s grandfather and grandmother work in a local garment factory doing odd jobs since they’re too old for difficult farm work.
Each month, Ruijin holds nine trade fairs in which Liu’s grandparents set up a wonton stand to help add to their meager income. Whenever Liu isn’t occupied with his homework, he helps his grandparents make wontons, occasionally alongside his younger sister.
While many children around China slept in during the week-long National Day public holiday earlier this month, Liu, his sister, and his grandparents awoke at the crack of dawn each morning to work at the wonton stand, South China Morning Post reports.
In just a single day, Liu would sit by a table and hand-make at least 10,000 wontons. To put that into perspective, an average wonton soup dish consists of 10-20 wontons. That would mean that Liu’s wontons could serve as many as 500-1000 people a day!
As Liu busies himself with making wontons, his younger sister clears the table as customers finish their meals.
Both children have been praised by netizens and attendees as having a strong sense of filial piety.
When asked about his parents, Liu replied, “My parents work in a garment factory and they can only come back home during Spring Festival.” In the future, Liu hopes to go to university, so that he can support his family and buy clothes for his younger sister.
Inspiring? Sure. But there’s one important thing to remember. In China, Liu and his sister are one among many millions of liushou ertong (留守儿童), literally translated into “left behind children.” They are the kids that have been left in the care of grandparents or no one at all, while their parents go to the cities to find jobs in order to support them. It’s an impossible choice that millions of parents have been forced to make. While it has accelerated China’s drive toward the future, it has also left millions of kids behind — with mental health problems and thousands of wontons to make.
Experiencing some hardship during childhood can sometimes be a good thing. It can help young children develop a sense of maturity and a shrewd perspective on the world at an early age. However, they shouldn’t have to experience being abandoned by their parents, and parents shouldn’t have to experience abandoning their kids.
Yet again, there are many things in this world which “shouldn’t be.”
By Christopher Shi
[Images via People’s Daily]