At the beginning of January, Chinese boy Wang Fuman walked more than 3 miles in 15°F, in a thin coat without a hat, to take an exam. When he entered the classroom, his classmates started laughing: his eyebrows and his hair were covered in ice and his cheeks were red because of the cold. The teacher took a photo of Wang and posted it online. After that, the boy became famous all around the world: thousands of people shared his photo and the boy’s story received an amazing follow-up.
ViralSection is going to tell you the story of the “ice boy,” whose photo went viral on the internet.
8-year-old Wang lives in a small village in the Chinese province Yúnnán with his grandmother and sister. His mother left his family and his father works far from home and comes to visit only once every few months. Wang experiences hypothermia often — a lack of heat makes him feel cold all the time, and makes his hands swell and his fingers stop functioning. His small school doesn’t have heat and all the students have to wear warm clothes during their lessons.
Wang really wants to get a good education, because this is his only way out of poverty. He scored 99 out of 100 on the exam he walked to the day the photo was taken.
The photo of the “ice boy” melted the hearts of many internet users and the media called him “a symbol of persistence and bravery of the Chinese nation.”
Besides, the photo led to a discussion of the difficult situation Chinese students are in. They have to live with their grandfathers and grandmothers, while their parents have to travel to big cities to earn money. The children live in dilapidated houses, don’t get enough to eat, and can’t reach their schools by bus. All the things we see as ordinary (food, heat, and education) are inaccessible to them.
“冰花男孩”让全中国飙泪。在云南海拔2800多米的山村里，寒冬时气温降至零下十多度。8岁的王福满每天步行近5公里上学，手生冻疮，头发落满冰花…… January 13, 2018
At the end of January, Wang, his sister, and his father were invited to Beijing. Policemen took him for a ride in a car and let him ride a scooter. Wang visited a climbing wall, toured Mao Zedong’s mausoleum, and took part in a press conference where he said that he hopes to enter Beijing University and that he wants to become a doctor or a policeman. “It’s cold at home, we have to use charcoal all the time, and we sleep in coats. And here, the houses are so warm that I can wear just a single shirt! I’m seeing this for the first time in my life. Central heating is a miracle,” Wang told journalists.
Internet users were so moved by the boy’s story that they raised $450,000 for him. This money will be used to repair the central heating in Wang’s school, and to buy heaters and warm clothes for the children from the poor families of the Yúnnán province.
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Preview photo credit Rhys Williamson/Twitter