A young boy became an online celebrity as a photo of him with thick frosty hair and chapped hands went viral in China this week.
The boy received his frosted look after a 4.5-km walk from his home to school in Ludian County, a rural area in southwest China's Yunnan Province, when a strong cold front brought down the temperature to minus 9 degrees Celsius.
The third-grader makes the hour-long walk every day. This time he arrived at school looking like an old man with white hair, eyebrows covered in thick frost and a face red with cold.
"It was the first day of the final exam, but when entering the classroom he pulled face and every one was amused," said Fu Heng, the school headmaster.
The boy only had very thin clothes on, as freezing weather is unusual in Yunnan. His teacher took a picture of him and shared it on social network WeChat, which soon moved millions across the country.
While his picture was going viral on the Internet, he was simply getting on with his exam, scoring 99 out of 100.
Chinese netizens quickly nicknamed him "ice flower boy," with many showing concern for him and his classmates.
Sitting at an elevation of 2,850 meters, the school in Zhaotong City receives students from the nearby 16 villages. There are eight teachers and 141 students at the school, with one of the children having to get up at 5:30 a.m. and walk three hours to school.
"Ice flower" boy and his sister
The city has over 1.13 million people living under the poverty line, of which 138,000 are primary school students -- that is almost half of the total number of students attending schools.
Many people have since offered the boy warm clothes and donations. A local youth foundation was also proposed to raise money for students at the school.
A nationwide poverty reduction campaign has been going on for years.
In Ludian, several roads to the boy's home will soon be finished, and their new house has been built with the help of the local poverty relief office.
In front of the camera, the boy showed a big smile. "I love school and our teachers," he said. "I am very happy."
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)