Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sun Li hugs some orphans

Betty Sun Li dropped into a refuge for "orphans and disabled children" (according to the on the fly Google translation from Yahoo China) to get them and herself some publicity. Using unsuspecting children as props is nothing new in the entertainment business but it be rough on the kids. The blog Good Intentions are not enough discusses orphanage "voluntourism" (odd word but it works) of the non-celebrity type and gives a thorough indictment of it.

A movie studio or publicity firm setting up pictures of an actress with an available child seems more cynical and reprehensible. In ordinary orphanage tourism the volunteer/tourist gets an emotional charge from spending an afternoon or a few days developing an emotional bond with a child although it can lead to feelings of abandonment in the child the new adult in their lives stops showing up. When it is done as part of a promotion for a business it lacks even the ardent effect for the Lady Bountiful dropping in.

This is certainly not an indictment of Betty Sun Li--since she is a successful actress and a beautiful young woman there would plenty of people telling her how wonderful she is already. Artists who appear in front of the camera are used to being told what to do, where to stand for the right light and what to say and a staged photoshoot like this wouldn't be much different from going on location to film some scenes for a movie. Hit your mark and say your lines or hold your prop, look happy or concerned and get ready for the next shot.

Yahoo China; Good Intentions are not enough; The Telegraph; Child Safe Network

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