Features & Business
Dwarfs Park open for public
Kunming: Queer as this may be, dwarfs or midgets have existed since the very beginning of the human race and have been looked upon with curiosity and have also been a subject of serious scientific studies. As a befitting tribute to midgets, China has come out with an innovative idea – a dwarf park in the town of Kunming. Since it opened to the public, it has been drawing huge crowds. The park employs more than 100 midgets or vertically challenged people i.e. dwarfs and they dress up in various characters, and they entertain the tourists who come to visit the dwarf park.
This innovative dwarf park is the brainchild of a very successful Chinese businessman – Chen Mingjing who wanted to give back to the society and do his bit for mankind, so he set up this park. In this park, more than 100 dwarfs, who belong to a mountain community of the Southern China, have a good and a secure job.
The group living in Kunming and has built up mushroom-shaped houses to live in and are donning fairytale costumes in a bid to woo tourists to their attraction. There are strict rules in place about who can live and work in the park - all inhabitants must measure below 4ft 3inches tall. It is a self sufficient community with a police force and fire brigade serving inhabitants.
"As small people we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren't any big people and everything we do is for us," said spokesman Fu Tien. The theme park has come under fire from those concerned about the group's human rights, sparking strong views on whether their community is merely a curious circus act for visitors.
"When I first heard this I pictured myself obscure freak shows from a hundred years back," wrote one commenter on the GoKunming website. "Pay the entrance fee and you can watch these people perform." Those in favour of the theme park argue that with unemployment levels high across China are simply finding a new way to work.
"They can't work anywhere, they are disabled people, so we have a village for them to live and be happy in. No one would hire a dwarf," one commenter said on the GoKunming website. It isn't the first time a theme park dedicated to little people has appeared. In early 1900s, the Coney Island's Dreamland in New York was home to a 'Lilliputia' attraction before the whole park burned to the ground in 1911.
Chen also has expansion plans in mind, after seeing the roaring success of this venture. He plans to increase the size of the park to a whooping 13,000 acres. He plans to make it a fairy tale land, and his designs for the park are such that there would be numerous attractions in the park, but their USP would be that they would all be in miniature size. “It will be like a fairy tale,” Chen Mingjing said. “Everything here I have designed myself.”
The park which was let open for public visit last year has attracted many tourists and locals. Chen Mingjing, according to reports, plans to increase the area of the park to 13,000 acres and has taken special care to design everything in the present park. The park will have many new features added in it in the future according to him but everything will be in a mini size. It will be like a fairy tale land,said Chen Mingjing.
The entry fee to the park is US$9 and by paying the amount one can get into the “Kingdom of the Little People”. From fireman to police to dancing fairies and princesses all are little human beings busy amusing visitors with their performances, dramas, dancing and singing. The human rights activists however have condemned the “Kingdom of the Little People” by saying that it is nothing more than a “Freak Show” which debases the position of the dwarfs all the more. I guess they need to be reminded that some good things come in small packs!