BEIJING — Many things about Wang Fuman’s life have changed since he became an international sensation a year ago. Then, he was an 8-year-old who had to walk for an hour in a thin jacket from his grandmother’s mud hut to his freezing cold, poorly resourced school. His father was working far away, and his mother had deserted the family.
Now — a year after his teacher posted a photo of him arriving at school with his head covered in icicles, a photo that went viral and earned him the Internet name “Ice Boy” or “Snowflake Boy” — Fuman has a new house, a warmer school and his mom back at home.
Despite the change in circumstances that the moniker brought him, Fuman still likes to be known by his real name.
“’Snowflake boy’ is just a nickname,” the 9-year-old said in a video shared this week by a newspaper in the Yunnan provincial capital of Kunming. “In my hometown, my classmates treat me as an ordinary person, and I think of myself as an ordinary person. If I were treated as a star, I would feel awkward.”
Fuman was one of the 61 million “left-behind” children, youths who are left in their poor hometowns while their parents seek work in the big cities.
Fuman and his older sister, Fumei, lived with their grandmother in a mountainous region of Yunnan province, in southwestern China. To get to school, he had to walk three miles in temperatures as low as 16 degrees Fahrenheit (-9C).