Fairies and Spirits among Us

It always cheers me up to see fairies around us, on the streets, in the market whenever one feels like it. The Chinese place dressing up on par with wearing normal clothing. I've never seen a nation that's more free on this front.

Here's how birthdays won't put one off from coming to school and playing a word game with her colleagues. I wonder if it's a good idea to organise dressing up events on certain Saturdays... Should that include me, as a teacher?

I managed to capture two so far, on a road trip with my colleagues to the old town of Yaowan, at nearly two hours distance from my place.

The state of them, however colourful they were dressed up, made me think a little about the spirit inhabiting the little creature. I mean… what spirit?!, as you shall see. It’s wrong to have expectations, I know, but I did have this idea before coming to China, that parents would adore and glorify their children to the max, given the limitations imposed onto the size of their families. I wasn’t far out from the truth -  the spirit of adulation is quite dense in the air, when a child is around, but in a very contained manner on behalf of the parents. I shall take the liberty to change what I’m describing here, if I come to observe that things are different, but so far this is what I’ve noticed in just a little over the half a year of my stay here.

The strong family ties ensure that the traditional system of the grandparents raising the offsprings is very rigidly adhered to, leading to families of three or even maybe four generations living together, or at least spending their days at each other’s homes. Whilst parents are busy working, it’s the grandparents who fulfil daily chores such as taking the babies to the kindergarten and back home, taking them to the park or the green areas in their urbanisations, cooking and feeding them, always lifting them from the ground, should they fall – in short, doting around the little princes and princesses as if they were the most important creatures in the world.

Well, of course they are!… and, so that the world gets the idea as well, the younglings are sometimes dressed up literally as princes, princesses and fairies, although this applies more to girls than to boys, who usually get the racing cars and the machine guns as the most popular disguise in order to exhibit their importance.

The show isn’t internalised – it stays as a battle of images that’s so important to the parents and grandparents. Costumes like these are a penny a dozen, so they’ll be changed just like undies and the children are not taught about the spirits they personify – that’d be considered as too much to take on board for the infants.

Oh, Granny ~do I have to...?

The result is a discrepancy between the overly proud child minders and the underwhelmed creatures. The question remains open – is this adulation healthy or not? I don't want to risk sounding judgemental, so I shall leave this point of view for a later discussion. You can participate! Don't be shy.

Did you know that Earthling fairies can get hungry and thirsty, just like we do?

I wouldn’t know if dressing up means anything magical to the kids or not, but they behave normally on occasions like this – a pool of dirt is just as attractive as it is normally, playing like usual tomboys is still on the cards for the little fairy-lokking creatures, as is making money in their parents' shop!

When they get the munchies, a fairy will eat - lots, as well, by the look of it...