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“The parents stopped watching Sha-yuan’s behavior as if they had lost interest and become oblivious. But they appeared anxious and from morning till night they checked their watches constantly. Obviously they were waiting for something. ‘Waiting for their deaths,’ Sha-yuan said. He tapped his belly, which was flat. There was no sign of anything inside.  According to Sha-yuan, it had worked out fine. Nobody suspected that he raised snakes anymore. But in fact, the leopard can’t change its spots.” 

If my parents had given up on me every time I started acting strangely or said stuff that could be considered out of the ordinary, I’m sure I would’ve lost my parents when I first started talking. I rambled on from having dragons as imaginary friends to plotting murders and drug rings out of hotels. Sometimes they would laugh, other times they would look at me strange, but more often than not, they would edit my plans and make them more believable. Of course I never hid poisonous snakes in an air-raid shelter, but I was never put in a situation where I could have started.

Although my parents never gave up on me in my strangeness, Sha-yuan’s parents eventually did. After seeing that talking and travel did nothing to help their son in his beliefs, whether they were true or not, they simply lost hope and gave up on redemption or assistance. I understand that appearance is held in high regards in Chinese culture, so I appreciate how long they managed to attempt to help their son despite his antics. however I can not condone how they simply let him fend for himself out of their wariness. If they truly believed that there were no other options to help their son, they could have turned to more professionals. Giving up should never be an option when your child is saying he keeps snakes in his stomach. Especially if that fact is proven true.

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