Sunday, June 05, 2005

Becoming a Young Pioneer

PICT0044, originally uploaded by dadapunk80.
In China, you'll see most Chinese school students wear a red scarf around their necks. This means that the child has attained the status of "Young Pioneer," the party equivalent of having received first communion.

Up to rather recently, children had to prove themselves fit for the honor by demonstrating their academic prowess and mastery of all things Young Pioneerness, but now, especially at my school where the children come from affluent families, all of the students receive the title.

On Children's Day, all of our first graders received the stamp of Young Pioneer and in this photograph you can see the older students bequeathing the little ones with the red scarves.

The children, of course, take all of this rather seriously. If my third and fourth graders are any indication of what's to come, I'm sure the little ones will wait almost a week before they start wrapping their scarves around their heads, their waists and sucking on the ends until they're gooey and frayed.

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