Friday, 9 March 2018

Ice Boy's Woes Continue

Wang Fuman at home and back to where he started, but with much more cash
Remember "Ice Boy", the eight-year-old from Yunnan province who had to walk to school for over an hour each way and his hair and eyelashes were covered in snow?

After the boy and his father were taken on a free trip to Beijing, a private school with boarding accepted him, as the headmaster took pity on the boy and took him in.

However, after one week in the school, the headmaster told Wang Fuman's father to take him home because of the intense scrutiny from the authorities and the media.

Zhuanshanbao Primary School is an hour away by foot
It was hoped that by enrolling in Xinhua School Fuman could try to catch up on his studies, but his father Wang Gangkui was told to come pick up his son and put him back in the state school.

"i'm illiterate and I don't understand why this school has kicked us out," the frustrated father said Wednesday.

Fuman was confused as he liked his new school.

"The teachers taught better than those at Zhuanshanbao Primary School. Pupils don't talk in class and everyone is focused on studying," he said.

"I ate better too. Unlike at home, when my grandma is busy, my sister and I need to find food for ourselves... because we don't know how to cook, we just boil potatoes, but at Xinhua School I ate so many different things."

The headmaster of Xinhua School, surnamed Yang, said he offered to take the boy for free because he wanted to "do some good".

But the intense media attention and scrutiny from authorities put the school under a lot of pressure.

Fuman with his sister (left)
"At first, I didn't know... but later, I found out that Fuman had been identified by the Ministry of Education as a key figure to be helped in the government's poverty alleviation efforts. There are very few such pupils in the whole Yunnan province," Yang said.

"As a result, during these days of having him in my school, we have received numerous requests from various levels of government departments to inspect us. Many media outlets also insisted on interviewing us."

He said the school could not cope with the extra demands placed on it because of Fuman's attendance.

Yang said he still wanted to help the boy, but in a more low-profile manner.

When Yang sent the boy back, he gave his father 15,000 yuan and offered to help the family if they encountered more problems in the future.

Meanwhile Wang Gangkui isn't doing well either. He had been promised a job at a state-owned construction company in Zhaotong, But the company says it doesn't have any work for him at the moment.

It's really sad to hear Ice Boy isn't getting the help he really needs, let alone his entire family. It's understandable that while the headmaster wants to help, he doesn't want to be constantly monitored because he has such a high profile student. There were probably lots of expectations for Fuman to do well so that he could be used as a poster child for a poor kid who did well.

Wang Gangkui was promised a job and then no word
But surely someone can help the boy get a decent education -- at least he sounds interested in learning, which is not what could be said of some students these days.

And also how can a company at first claim to offer a job to his father and then later rescind it? How professional is that? Sounds absolutely ridiculous and a publicity stunt on the part of the state-owned construction company. Wang Gangkui had quit his job in Kunming because he had been promised work and now he has nothing to do.

So now the family is back to where it started, though it does have donations pouring in. But it's not money they need, they want jobs and an education. Is it that hard to help in that way? This fiasco proves that throwing money at the problem doesn't really solve it.

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