Oct 10, 2012, 1:28 PM EST
The underpublicized flip side of the Tiger Mom is the Eagle Dad (you may have seen one at your local Little League field, or in Todd Marinovich family photos). And by now you may have heard of He Liesheng, the Nanjing, China businessman who may be the most notorious Eagle Dad of all. Liesheng reportedly forced his four-year-old son, Duoduo, to do pushups in the snow clad only in underpants, and later sent him adrift in the ocean in a tiny boat, all in the hopes of making the boy tougher. But now he’s reached a new low, ironically on one of the world’s highest points.
Liesheng decided to bring his son and daughter on a fun hike — to the top of Mt. Fuji in Japan. The plan was to climb to the 12,388-foot summit with his kids in tow, even though it wasn’t climbing season, the mountain was closed to hikers, and a storm was closing in. The adventure ended predictably.
At the seventh refuge out of nine on the way to the summit, and with several hours’ climb still to go, Duoduo was collapsing with altitude sickness. Eagle Dad pushed on, but eventually accepted defeat at 3,400 metres, when the party had to be rescued by Japanese park rangers and fed hot noodles until the color returned to the children’s faces.
Other fun facts about the climb:
- It did not take long, Eagle Dad admitted later, to notice that “unlike a lot of Chinese mountains, Mount Fuji does not have steps.”
- As the air became thinner, the climb became more arduous. His children were crying as the temperature fell near zero.
- Mr He said that he realized that Mount Fuji did not have food shops along the way, and that all the shelters had been boarded up for the season. He had only packed a cup of water and a chocolate bar for rations.
- He had forgotten to pack waterproof clothes.
- With the summit unattainable, Duoduo had just enough strength to unfurl the banner that read: “The Diaoyu Islands belong to China, I want to land on the Diaoyu islands!” and pose for a photograph before his Japanese rescuers gave him a pair of gloves.
Could have been worse, I suppose. Dad could have dragged the kid to a Mets game.
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