If you thought your kids were bad, think again. A 15-year-old Chinese boy scrawled his name on a 3,500-year-old Egyptian sculpture during a visit to the country with his family. The internet was none to pleased with tagging of the ancient work of art history. The parents of the kid shook off the drama with a slight apology. Ding Jinhao’s parents apologized publicly for their son’s actions. They only did so after he become the most popular trending topic on Weibo this past weekend. Weibo is China’s version of Twitter. Ding’s parents said he was much younger when he visited Luxor. They also said that they had not been watching their son during his vandalism of the sculpture.
His mother said that “When we were told by our son about it, we disciplined him immediately and he realized his wrong doing then.” The parents also said that they blamed themselves for their son’s actions. What I however find most disturbing and concerning is that the mother said that “When he was little, we often took him traveling. When we saw similar situations [of graffiti], we never told him it was wrong.”
So does that mean he has done this before? Are there other priceless history pieces out there that have his tag on them? Ding’s primary school was hacked so that visitors had to click on an image saying “Ding Jinhao was here” before continuing to the homepage. One person on Weibo wrote “It is the parents’ fault, children should be taught what cannot be done.” However some thing that cultural sensitivity and bad manners have increasingly become the norm Chinese tourists. Those high up in the government are taking note of this issue. This month, Vice-Premier Wang Yang warned that “uncivilized behavior” of some Chinese tourists was harming the nation’s image. That image has a big impact on the rest of the world. The Chinese took over 83 million trips overseas last year and spent spent a record $102 billion overseas last year. Ding may be the first to get public exposure but surely will not be the last.