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Touchdown
See how Chinese boys did it

23 April 2007
 

A few days ago, while chatting with her neighbour downstairs, a Shanghai lady registered a dark mass falling from the sky and landing in shrubs. At first she thought it must be someone upstairs throwing rubbish out of the balcony, but then she noticed two tiny hands raised from the shrub waving.

“Heavens!” she cried out to her neighbour, “See that? There are hands over there!” But before she had finished her exclamation, the dark mass came out of the shrub and transformed into a human. It was a five-year old boy living on the 7th floor of her block.

It turned out that a few minutes ago this naughty boy playing in the balcony suddenly had a strong urge to explore what the life would be like on the other side of the balustrade. He decided to see it for himself and climbed over the barrier. The world in the other side happened to be ruled by Isaac Newton’s classic physics and have a very strong gravity force. Once he crossed over the line he was immediate attracted to the earth, well, almost – he first landed on the caravan canopy on the third floor then had a brush with electricity lines on the second floor before touching down on the shrubs.

By the time his distraught mom dashed down through the conventional passage, the boy was up and running again. But the little superman has his weak point too. When he was told by his mother that he would be sent to hospital for a check up, he was scared as hell. “I don’t’ want a jab!” he protested.

And he is not the only tiny superman in China.

Some weeks ago, another five-year old in Hubei province flew out of a second floor window.

The boy visited his relatives in a village with his mother during the tomb-sweeping festival. The next day the adults needed to ascend high to the graveyard in the mountain, and left him at the home with his cousin sister. The door was then locked from outside.

It wasn’t what the boy and his cousin had planned for their lives in the countryside. They decided to escape.

Their initial plan was to slide down a rope. After failing to found even a reasonably thick string, they took a bed sheet as a substitute. When they realised that the sheet wasn’t long enough to reach the ground, the little boy’s genius shone brilliantly - he believed he could do without the rope or sheet all together and switch to a far more advanced technology. So he popped open an umbrella and jumped down the window to execute his maiden skydive.

But his heroic feat was spoiled in the middle of the air. The poor-quality parachute was torn away from the handle, and our hero experienced an embarrassing hard landing on his bottom.

When the adults eventually returned from the mountain, they discovered in their puzzlement that the little boy somehow was sitting outside, instead of inside, of the front door, with a broken umbrella nearby and an anxious little girl looking down from an upstairs window.

(Original reports in Chinese by 陈媛、郁瀟亮)

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