In the fight to get their kids accepted into the best play groups, kindergartens and schools in Hong Kong, some parents are having their offspring photographed at professional studios, and having the images photoshopped to make the kids look "perfect," the South China Morning Post reports.
The kids, often toddlers so young that they cannot walk, are being photographed in settings to convey different personality traits that will appeal to the principals deciding on admissions — qualities such as "maturity," or having an "outgoing nature."
Some of the children are not even a year old.
Parents are also having their children photographed next to certificates and awards. One professional photographer, Yim Chi-lung, said he was asked to take photos of a five-year-old standing in front of 25 trophies and medals.
Admission documents, even for preschool, can consist of 30 to 40 pages of photographs and documents.
According to Dr. Doris Cheng Pui-wah, director of Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, the photoshopping trend reflects a growing inequality in Hong Kong.
"It demonstrates that the standards vary very much between schools, and that there is a growing inequality among the schools. If there wasn't such a big difference in quality, the parent's wouldn't have to worry about getting their kid into the right school".