Monday, January 07, 2008

Now, take these scissors from Mommy and run as fast as you can...

For nearly ten years now, I've been watching Korean parenting with one hand covering my eyes. While mothers in the US may at times seem to think children can die of a stubbed toe, Korean moms tend to behave as though their children are bullet proof.

I've grown accustomed to kids jumping on and off curbs while their mothers look for the bus and toddlers wandering unattended in shops. Usually, the mothers are just oblivious to their children's near brushes with death/ dismemberment/ doom. Yesterday, I actually saw one applauding her child for his death-defying derring-do.

So, I was walking through Kangnam Station in Seoul, which as usual was so packed a person could probably die and just be swept along by the crowd. A little boy and his mother were completely lost in their own world, though. He was pirouetting on one foot while practicing his roundhouse kicks with the other all while eating street food (served on a sharpened stake, of course) all at the same time. His mother was competing for parent of the year by... cheering him along.

I really wanted to hang around and watch for the inevitable, but crowds like that make me want to hurt people.

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