I get stared at a lot when I’m out and about in Henan Province, China. In many places in China, westerners are still a rarity. In Anyang City, where I live, there are only a handful of westerners. On the day this picture was taken, I was walking in a local park in Anyang. A group of kids saw me and started saying, “hello,” “hello,” and asking, “Where are you from?” So I stopped and said a few things to them while they smiled and giggled. I managed to get one of the adults accompanying them to take my camera and snap a group photo of us. It wasn’t until I returned home and uploaded the photos to my computer that I saw the kid in the back hoisting the middle finger.
People in China don’t give each other the middle finger when angry. In fact, the kid in the photo is the only Chinese person I’ve seen raise the middle finger. I have to say, for a place where people don’t flip each other the bird, the kid in the photo pulled it off like a well-practiced finger flipper. His presentation was excellent. Maybe he watches a lot of American movies.
When I first saw this photo, I somehow imagined the kid in the back as a Chinese version of Bart Simpson. My mind even conjured him having at home a metal case of “Lil’ Bastard” devices for creating high jinks in his daily life.
On the whole, kids in China are very well behaved.