Philip Mudge, our Guardian Of The Code, takes a look at a story that lit up the tabloids and celebrity rags last year.
Ricky Gervais may have popularised the “who’d win between a… “question in his glorious sitcom(?) Derek (if you haven’t seen it yet, you NEED to see it), but the question was being discussed at some length in academic circles while Mr Gervais was still at The Office.
For example the University of Limerick Politics and Public Administration department have addressed the matter of Beyonce vs Noddy Holder (you know the guy out of Slade who shouts “It’s Christmas”) on more than one occasion.
Those of you who follow my blog will know that I’ve got a thing about orphanage tourism:
I don’t like child trafficking, child sexual abuse and taking advantage of eager western do-gooders,
But unfortunately my view on these matter has been eclipsed by a number of celebrities, singers, actors and UN special envoys who are all featured in the pages of Hello magazine more than I have managed thus far. Most recent of these is Kim Kardashian: mega star of the 21st century.
Kim is a very powerful person: she gets what she wants: prime time reality show for herself and her family-check, celebrity husband (Kanye West ) -check, child named after a Hitchcock movie- check (if people are to be believed First lady of the US by 2020-check). Adopt an orphan because everyone else is doing it – hold on “Pink says No”.
Kim Kardashian isn’t going to adopt an orphan. When I first saw this I was filled with hope. At last a mega star with street cred’ and heaps of attitude, the “So What” star Pink had researched the problems of orphanage tourism and knew enough to stand up to the West-Kardashian machine and say “No, enough is enough”
But the truth is actually better than that: “Pink says No” isn’t the start of a pop mega star rumble. Pink is the Thai orphan who turned down the opportunity to be adopted by the West-Kardashains and insisted she wanted to study in Thailand instead and “help her impoverished homeland and the orphans she has grown up with”.
Pink also plans to go to university in Thailand then work as a tour guide or a teacher. “I want to help my country,” she said. “I want people to come and learn about Thailand and understand more about my country.”
I’m delighted to hear it but also saddened yet again that nowhere in the story does anyone comment or point out to Kim that she shouldn’t be offering to take children away from their home and culture, that Pink wasn’t an orphan at all (her mother placed her in the orphanage in the hope of a better life for her, even though she still has a 100 mile daily round trip to school), or that orphanages in general, are breeding grounds for child exploitation and abuse. We don’t think orphanages are good enough for our own children so why are they acceptable for Thai children or anyone else in the global south.
But…the only people saying things like that are people like me. About 1000 people read my blog (I haven’t been commissioned to write a feature for Hello, or even the Daily Mail!… yet). We still need a hero, someone as powerful famous and wealthy as Kim Kadashian.
Who’d win out of Noddy and Kim? It wouldn’t even be a contest. She’d wipe the floor with him before breakfast, who’d win out of Kim and the pop star Pink: that would be a battle worth selling tickets for especially if they were fighting over child safeguarding, orphanage tourism and celebrity adoption.
Does anyone know a mega-celebrity who would make the case that children belong in a loving home with their parents and families in their own culture…all children.
We need that celebrity to stand up for the real rights of the most marginalised children in the world.
I’d like to thank my researchers on this project, Callum Mudge, Fiona O’Toole, Sarah Dowd and Edel Geraghty because frankly I had no clue who KK was. They are all younger than me, so obviously wiser, smarter and more knowledgeable.