Mass suicide, execution - perfect to keep the kids amused

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 12:00am

Hong Kong seems to be pioneering children's books with dark, social themes, if the bi-lingual edition of The Rabbits and the Frogs is anything to go by.

The story book, bought by Post colleague Alex Price from a Sai Kung shop, tells tales of suicidal bunnies and capital punishment meted out to young criminals - just the kind of burning issues haunting Hong Kong and the mainland these days.

The first story begins with a group of young bunnies in existential despair. 'Threatened by people, dogs and eagles, their lives were full of danger and fear. After their discussion, they decided to die because they didn't want to live in pain,' the story goes. 'Thus all the rabbits ran to the pond together to kill themselves.'

But wait, it has a happy ending. The rabbits' dash scared the living daylights out of the frogs at the pond. They realised they were stronger than one species in the forest. 'At least we are better than the frogs,' one rabbit says triumphantly.

That was the end, but you can imagine how the bunnies then treat the frogs.

In Luke and his Mother, a boy starts stealing when he is young, and becomes a career thief until he is caught one day.

'Finally he was caught stealing on the spot and was sentenced to death. As he was going to die, the judge said, 'Before you die, you can have the last wish. What do you want?'

Luke just wants to see his mum, and the two make one last embrace. But just to make sure mum gets the message, Luke's final words are: 'If you had ever punished me for my stealing at first time, I wouldn't end up like this now.'

Sorry to disappoint you, morbid readers - the story did not specify his method of execution.