A four-year-old boy has become a hit with Chinese internet users after photos of him impersonating a rock star emerged online.
In the photos which have since gone viral, the boy, sporting a pudding-basin haircut, vest and calf-length jeans, appears in a series of impressive rock star poses against the backdrop of a construction site.
Bare-footed and clutching an iron pole much like a microphone stand, the boy’s face is a study of serious concentration as he sways on the sand and passionately gestures with his hands, occasionally curling them into fists or a pretend gun.
He appears entirely devoted to the performance, singing into his ‘microphone’ and displaying a range of true rocker facial expressions.
The photos first emerged on microblog Weibo and have since been widely shared on China’s online communities, with bloggers and internet users expressing their amusement and love of the child.
“He looks so much like a superstar!” most comments said. One read: “It doesn’t matter where your stage is as long as you enjoy yourself.”
Others were so awed that they went as far as saying: “We witness the birth of a legend” and “Here’s the future of Chinese music”.
However not all reacted agreeably to the pictures. Some concerned users pointed out that the construction site could be dangerous and was no place for children to play.
“Safety is always the priority. He is in a place that doesn’t permit children. The construction site should be held accountable for not maintaining safety measures,” one unmoved Weibo blogger with the user name of “aliuy72” noted.
The boy’s parents, contacted by the West China Metropolis Daily, said they were construction workers and had captured the photos last summer on a lazy afternoon, when they had stumbled upon their son enthusiastically singing a popular rock song to himself at the site where they worked.
“The kid got very emotional. It was so amusing!” the mother said, adding that they quickly whipped out a mobile phone so they could capture the moments. “We even videotaped the scene but the recording was lost after I lost my mobile phone.”
The parents, both in their mid-twenties, told the paper they were from Sichuan province but had moved with their boy to the remote Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China to seek construction work. They had moved dozens of time with their son as they had been forced to take contract-based work across the country and therefore couldn’t send him to kindergarten.
“We feel guilty as we have failed to provide him with a proper environment to study and live,” the parents were cited as saying.
The report underlined the plight of children of China’s large migrant worker population who like this family can often not provide their children with a stable environment.
Some online users expressed sympathy, noting that behind the fun photo was a child who could only use a construction site as his playground.
“Looking [at the photos] makes my heart hurt - am I the only one who feels this way?” said one.