Would You Sell One of Your Children?

Last week and this weekend, my brother and I watched the Ip Man movies (on Netflix) with my dad. Dad is really big on martial arts movies (and naturally, my brother and I fell into it. I like it so much that I wanted to do some sort of martial arts. But, Dad sad I’d break easily. That’s a different post. Nevermind.)

Anyway, we were watching the Ip Man movies with Donnie Yen (LOVE him in the first two).

The real Sifu Ip Man

SideNote: Ip Man: The Final Fight features a different actor because at the time China released Ip Man and Ip Man 2 with Donnie Yen, as it always happens – and you can see this even in publishing – the market became saturated with films on the same topic. Ip Man, for those who don’t know, is the martial arts grandmaster who taught, or taught the student who taught, Bruce Lee. Donnie Yen said he didn’t want the films to lose meaning, so after the second he wouldn’t make another. Hence, the third movie had a different lead actor. And, to be honest, I’m pretending the third never happened because it wasn’t up to par.

Ip Man was very humble and did not like asking for help, owing people favors, or being a burden on others. But, he always had friends and students who were eager to care for him because he lived a frugal, simple life and stuck to his principles.

Donnie Yen as Sifu Ip Man

By the third movie, Ip Man is still married to his young wife and they have two children. But, due to circumstances, Ip Man fled his home in FoShan, China to live in Hong Kong. His wife, Wing Sing, and their two children were able to return to FoShan, but he decided to remain in Hong Kong.

There is a scene in the third movie where Wing Sing visits Ip Man in Hong Kong. She is not used to the city life, the different environment and people, and she misses her husband. Fast forward a bit, and there is a going away dinner for Wing Sing, who is returning the FoShan to be with her children. Ip Man’s students are there (they kinds really love his wife) and they invited a longtime friend and his family.  This family, the Lees (not of the Bruce Lees), consists of a working husband who does his best, a stay at home mom, and 8 children.

During the dinner, Wing Sing tries to give the children more food (drum sticks!). The children refuse, are on the verge of tears, and plead with their mother – mom, please, we’ll save the drumsticks for our little brother. Mom, see I didn’t take any of the drumsticks. PLEASE DON’T SELL ME.

Please. Don’t. Sell. Me.

The movie takes place in 1960s Hong Kong. The economy was tanking, businesses were failing, unions were fighting with each other and their employees, and people were out of jobs.

The father had sold the 8th and youngest child in order to feed the other 7. (Me being me, I’ve already weaved a plot around a part of this story and if Khrysten is reading this, she’s shaking her head and cursing my name on a huge sigh. But, shhhh.)

It’s a tough situation. I know a lot of people are going to have strong reactions to this. (Especially with so much human trafficking in the world.) But, it’s not an easy decision.

Do you keep all 8 children and guarantee 10 people starve or do you sell one and hope they have a better life, but have the means to feed the remaining 9 people who depending on you?

In America, if a child is orphaned, abandoned, or in danger they are removed to the foster system until they are adopted or turn 18 and are released from the system.

In Guyana, there is still an orphanage system. However, it is not only for children who don’t have family or were abandoned. The system is set up in a way that if a family has one too many mouths to feed, they can leave the child at the orphanage knowing he or she will be taken care of. It’s not an ideal situation, but this way the child isn’t abandoned, the family can still visit, and the child receives food, shelter, and education.

So, I’m curious. Could you do it? What are your thoughts on the situation?

2 thoughts on “Would You Sell One of Your Children?

  1. This post just threw me a curve ball! I haven’t ever really thought about it – could have something to do with the fact that I don’t have kids. I was fortunate to grow up comfortably, but I’m not optimistic enough o believe that everyone does. I’d always decided to wait until I was well settled independently before I married and had kids so I could provide for them. But I know thst things don’t always go as planned. If it came down to it and I was struggling to raise my child, I don’t know if I’d be noble enough – cuz in a way it is noble to think about another’s future over your own grief – and give that child up. Maybe my opinion will change in a few years or if I eventually have kids.

  2. Fascinating blog (as always!) Priscilla. I never really contemplated this subject until I had my own children. (No wait… it’s not what it sounds like!) My kids wouldn’t even exist if their great-great-grandparents hadn’t sold one of their kids. My husband’s great-grandmother was from a peasant family in Finland. At age 12, her family sold her into servitude and she was stuck on a boat and sent to Ohio to work as a maid. I can’t imagine how scary that must have been for her! And I’m sure her family grieved losing her. But in the end, she made a good life in America, married, and my kids are a part of her legacy. I would never, ever sell my kids and I’m so thankful I’ve never had to make that sort of horrible decision, but I’m equally thankful that even in the face of such sadness and desperation good things can still happen. I know it doesn’t always work out so well, but at least in this case that impoverished Finn family took desperate measures to give their child a chance, and it paid off. I hope and pray it went as well for that sweet little Chinese child!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s