Tuesday, December 09, 2008

EastCoastLife couldn't save a little girl from her fate - WW

One chilly afternoon in China, I was rushing to collect my laundry when I passed a little girl crying on a pedestrian walk. She looked no more than 5 years old, tears were streaming down her dirty face.

A young boy of about 9 years old was shouting at her. I thought it was a normal quarrel between siblings but something was wrong. The busybody EastCoastLife turned back to check on the little girl.

As I stood watching, the little girl dried her tears on her dirty sleeves and approached a tripod. A towel was wrapped over the top of it. The little girl moved her head forward, placed her hands firmly on the ground, bit the towel-covered top with her mouth and viola!

She threw her legs over her head and started spinning round and round! Her body was so flexible. She was trained to do this. I wondered how much sufferings she endured to achieve this.

I was attracted by the little girl's performance but was startled by the young boy when he thrust a plastic container in my face.

"Must pay money! Must pay money!"

I dropped 10 renminbi into the container. Others who were approached did the same thing. The young boy was a natural at this. He's too matured for his age. I can imagine how street-smart he's going to become.

These kids should be in school but here they were performing on the streets for a living. I waited for the girl to finish her act and tried to speak to her. Before I could start a conversation, two fierce-looking men came from nowhere and told me to get lost.

I left reluctantly, constantly turning back to look at the little girl. Tears started streaming down her face again. She watched me walk away. Did I see a look of despair? My heart was breaking into pieces.

When I made enquiry at the laundry shop, the owner told me to mind my own business. The kids were probably kidnapped or bought from their poor parents to work as street performers. They are controlled by a syndicate that owns this territory.

The con artist eating from a garbage bin I saw a few days back, she too was controlled by a syndicate.

How sad! What a miserable life they must be leading! Are they waiting for someone to save them from their terrible fate?

I went back with a few of my male staff the next day to look for the kids, they were not there any more. There is not a day I don't think of the teary eyes of the little girl.....




84 comments:

  1. wilfrid,
    She's haunting me everyday. I have to go back to look for her.

    I feel terrible to not be able to do anything.

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  2. Ecl,

    Not only the image of that pififul little girl was haunting you, your description of that event must have saddened a lot of your readers. To be able to witness it first hand yourself I can imagine how painful it is for you to feel the poor girl's plight knowing that you are powerless to save her. She was clearly under the control of a syndicate.

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  3. Awww I feel sad now too for the little girl. Unfortunately their story is rampant across the globe. It is one of the reasons why I support World Vision and help get children the proper education. Sigh I do hope someone with a big heart comes and rescues those kids you featured here today.

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  4. That is so sad. Hard to see such things and know of the suffering.

    Thanks for your visit to my blog. To answer your question the berries are edible for birds but I don't think for humans.

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  5. stanley,
    I cannot understand why some men can be so cruel and unfeeling towards helpless little children.

    The kids were wearing dirty clothes and so skinny. They were not well fed. I know how strict the training is for gymnasts in China. The poor girl was obviously put through a lot of hardship.

    I try hard not to think of her but in one corner of my heart, she exists. The pain is always there. I regret not doing more to help.

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  6. Empty Streets,
    I see many such cases in China. I'm sad that passers-by turn a blind eye to such things. They are numb.

    Can't they feel the pain of these kids? Can't they be in the shoes of those poor kids? I wonder why the authority don't do something. It's very sad.

    I hope it doesn't happen in Singapore one day.

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  7. Carver,
    Yes, I thought such things exist in movies. I live a blessed life.

    It's tough on my conscience to see such things and not help.

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  8. Sad indeed.

    It serves as a reminder to us that we are indeed very blessed and lucky.

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  9. What a sad story ECL, looks like u experienced many things in China eh? How long were u staying there?

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  10. Very sad story ECL and what's even worse is that it goes on all over the world.

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  11. The only difference is here in America they are prostitutes and controlled by pimps.

    Some are grown, some are very very young, and yes some are even duped by syndicates in other countries.

    Russia is infamous for promising young girls a way to America and then when they get here they are virtually prisoners.

    It's very very sad!

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  12. This is sad. It's happening in Malaysia too. There are kidnapping syndicates that forced these kids to be a beggar. It's sad and the government should do something

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  13. I totally agree with Shinade. They just like prostitutes with their pimps

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  14. ECL,
    This always happened in poor countries. If they are not made to do some performances, they would be made to beg for $. It's all controlled by syndicate... Sad...

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  15. You feel, for the girl. Maybe the strong sense of injustice that you feel is trying urge you to do something, even if the action may seem small.

    I am contemplating whether this world would start to become a better place if each of us try to practise kindness and integrity in our every-day life?

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  16. Let's hope someone does something based on this blog post then. It's the least you can do.

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  17. Reading all these stories from China, I can't help but feel China is a lot more corrupted than we know it to be.

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  18. What a fascinating and touching story here at WW.
    Excellent;)

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  19. day dreamer,
    We are blessed. You have wonderful parents. Count your blessings. :)

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  20. Mariuca,
    I was there for two weeks, with a few day trips to HK.

    For work, not holiday. :)

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  21. shinade,
    I know there are such pitiful cases all over the world. There's only so much we could do.

    Poverty is scary. The poor gets abused and bullied.

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  22. shinade,
    Imagine such things happening in a 1st world, civilised country! The dirt is worst in under-developed countries.

    The evil that some humans are capable of.
    *shudders*

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  23. bluecrystaldude,
    I heard about the begging kids in Malaysia too but have not seen them. Where? In KL? Bukit Bintang area?

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  24. Kok,
    Some are made to carry or sell drugs.

    While their countries' politicians are feasting and dining, these poor kids are being treated like slaves.... no, animals.

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  25. wow. This is a heart wrenching story.
    How awful a life it must be for this little girl, and no one able to save her. And the attitudes of all the adults around (i.e. the laundry shopkeeper) are inexcusable. How heartless are some people able to be?
    Sure, it might be something they see all the time, but where is the compassion? This makes me both angry and sad.

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  26. oceanskies,
    The world would be a better place if each one of us show some kindness and consideration for our own kind.

    Start from our homes and then schools, workplace....

    The education in our schools are so twisted these days. Students are taught to wayang at a young age.

    School Inspector coming, be in your best behaviour. Put up your hands to ask questions.

    Top MOE officer visiting! Prepare programmes. Make the officer feel like a VIP. All students must buy a uniform themed T-shirt..... etc.

    Wayang.

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  27. giddy tigress,
    Yes, I hope something can be done. No matter how small the effort.

    My Chinese staff is helping me to find them.

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  28. Ed,
    This is the surface, beneath this is worse.

    Imagine this culture here in Singapore and it's spreading.... from the schools, to the community, our ex-MPs also not spared. haha....

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  29. The Fitness Diva,
    According to the laundry shopkeeper, such cases are rampant. There is little they could do.

    As a business owner, they have to stay on the side because these powerful triad members could burn their shops down. The authority turns a blind eye, some people probably were bribed to do so.

    Many syndicates bring such kids from the village on a round-the-country performance. They make the kids trained hard, give them little to eat and wear. They sleep on the streets, live in deplorable conditions. The kids are too young and weak to do anything.

    China is too huge. It's hard to catch criminals.

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  30. there are injustice everyway. hope the kid grows up fast and can fend for herself. :(

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  31. misti,
    It will still be many more years before she can fend for herself. Just pray that she doesn't get into a worse fate. She's pretty. :(

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  32. Sad story indeed. We are so blessed in so many ways! Have a great afternoon!

    ReplyDelete
  33. That's very, very sad...and to know so many children are living (if you call this a living!) this way is devastating...

    About my pic: not a church, a regular building but it was impossible to photograph the real one from where I was standing.

    Despite all the sadness in this world...happy ww, ECL!!
    May you have an eyecandy today and run into George's look-alike :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. poor little kids hope the government can help them. thanks for visiting. :)

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  35. Ecl,

    Few years ago I and a few friends were visiting Wuxi in Central China. After a stroll along the famed scenic lakes and the exotic rock gardens we settled down at a nearby restaurant to have dinner. About 15 minutes into the dinner, I saw a group of children wearing torn and tattered clothes led by a dishevelled and heavily wrinkled woman of 80 plus years. They were waiting at the entrance of the restaurant with their eyes trained at the diners. As soon as the diners had their fill and ready to leave, the pitiful old lady and her children quickly decended on the just vacated table and scooped up whatever was left on the table into their aluminium pots. It was a heart wrenching sight and it brought tears to my eyes.

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  36. poor kids....mine is up as well

    http://butcholle.blogspot.com/2008/12/ww-yum.html

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  37. Unfortunately you alone can do anything. I have seen a lot of child misery in Egypt and Morocco too.

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  38. The scene is same here. I try spending few moments talking to these girls under the hawk eyes of her so called elders.

    Reading this brought a lump to my throat.:(

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  39. Yen,
    You must be sleeping with a smile on your face every night since coming back from Tokyo DisneyLand! :)

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  40. Mar,
    Those children are practically living in Hell!

    haha... thanks Mar.

    I have recorded the advertisement of George in Nespresso for my viewing pleasure.

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  41. Aniqueanik,
    I hope their Government will take note and save these poor kids from the clutches of the evil people.

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  42. stanley,
    I see this scene on my China trips too. There are too many poor people in that huge country.

    The rich are filthy rich while the poor are dirt poor.

    Many of the poor were robbed because of corruption.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Gattina,
    I might not be able to do much alone but at least I could save one child from Hell. That's also a human life. I cannot sit around and do nothing.

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  44. Indrani,
    I'm glad you understand how I felt since you went through this experience.

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  45. This is rather sad. They are so young and this is the childhood they have. I condemn those people behind this and what they do makes me puke!

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  46. Doreen,
    They have practically no childhood. The kids were made to work at such a young age. They act like adults.

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  47. Maybe we could start a blog movement to write about genuine stories of kindness and integrity?

    People at times need inspirations to guide them?

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  48. Definitely a sad state of affairs for these kids :(

    Thank you for visiting my WW ECL

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  49. oh, the poor little girl. Your description of her and her tear streak face made me sad. What future holds for her? :(

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  50. How sad! my heart breaks as well for them and others like them!

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  51. What a terribly tragic story. I cannot imagine the poor girl having to live her life like that. It's heart breaking.

    Thanks for stopping by my WW.

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  52. That is truly sad, and yet you hear about this type thing in so many places.... We are so blessed. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

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  53. ECL, your story is very sad and it touched my heart too. Living in Beijing I sometimes witnessed begging children and was always told not to give them money as it just went to these gangs who controlled them. So I would give them fruit or whatever I had. Their little faces will always stay with me.

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  54. It's really sad. We are really living a blessed life! I've also heard of children in Malaysia being kidnapped and their arms or legs chopped off so that they would be made to beg and look pitiful in the streets of Thailand. It's heartbreaking thinking about it.

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  55. Reminds me of a discussion about child labour I had the other day with a colleague. As we seek to eradicate child labour, we must think of alternative means of these children getting income. Otherwise, these children might be better off working in sweatshops than living off the streets.

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  56. That is just awful and unfair.. Kids should be kids no matter what.

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  57. Heartbreaking. When we lived in Jakarta we were repeatedly warned not to give money to beggars but I simply couldn't walk by and do nothing so I gave them whatever change I had in my pocket.

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  58. that's so sad ....
    i hope that the little girl will break free someday.

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  59. That is so heartbreaking and eye opening. I can't imagine what that poor little girl is going through.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  60. Mostly around Bukit Bintang area. They never stay at one place for a long time. Once people start noticing, they change their bagging area to somewhere else. I have noticed that sometimes they even have a woman (introduce herself as the kid's mother) but I feel it's hard to believe it

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  61. Sad scene you witness. I'm feeling so sad for the young hearts !!

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  62. Very cool...Happy WW and thanks for stopping by:)

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  63. Ecl,

    Your blog on the exploitation of children by the syndicate to earn money for them has attracted a record number of commentators, all of whom have empathised with the desperate plight of the children.The fact that you were told to get lost by the two fierce-looking men clearly showed that the syndicate was in complete control of the situation. The problem is that we are impotent to do anything about it!!

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  64. Thx for sharing ECL. It sadden me that such things really still exist in part of the world...We need a higher power...

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  65. It's not unique to Singapore EC. It happens all over the world, even here in the US. Not in exactly the same way I suppose, but it's still a very real problem. And it will probably continue to be as long as there's money to be made by it. Which, unfortunately, there will be. Except for those forced to do the actual performing.

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  66. so pitiful, thanks for sharing the eye opening story.

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  67. I feel sorry for that young girl. It's sad how someone so young is subjected to work that way. That must be terribly exhausting.

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  68. That means the community at the place is sick. How come at the neighborhood not care about that young girl as if they don't have children them self.

    So if their children is kidnap and took away from them by the gangster at their territory they should not be sad because the also allowed this to happen to other kids.

    What kind of community is this? Why the news, the reporter don't cover this story so the politicians can't wake up?.

    It't like the police, the community leader, the tv station all not functioning properly at that place. Something wrong in the system.

    Pity the community!

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  69. No wonder those china "talents" in Sg like to mouth us behind our backs that we (singaporeans), are "native", and easy to cheat...

    where they come from,it's really the survival of the fittest and they really rely on their wits just to get through the day and live...

    Oh well, hope something really rotten happens to those syndictates

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  70. Oh my goodness! That is terribly sad! :( I am sorry you were unable to help them. It is a very sad situation for those children...

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  71. Very sad and touching. Human can be very cruel, using small kids to make money.

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  72. Reading this do bring tears to my eyes too. Using children to make a living is just so sick and heartless. They could not fight back and so suffer in silence.

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  73. i hope that somebody will be able to help her soon.

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  74. YAY! MPG is here at ECL today woo hoo! :):):)

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  75. I am cooking something at Mariuca now, later I ajak u makan kay? He he! ;)

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  76. You just broke my heart, EastCostLife. She's five... same as my daughter. How can I sleep now...

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  77. This is just so sad. I wish I could save her too and all the other people who are in this situation.

    These cases are very rampant in Manila - that's one reason I don't give to all beggars I see. It doesn't benefit them at all but instead makes the syndicats grow stronger and do more bad things.

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