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NEW YORK, August 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Puma and Tinycottons have teamed up for a fun, food-themed collection for children, with sneakers and apparel for babies, toddlers and grade schoolers. The collection is to go on sale tomorrow.

Sporty, fun-loving, and colourful are the watchwords for the latest collaboration from Puma and Spanish brand Tinycottons, which has been lauded for its colourful, quirky prints as well as its environmentally-friendly and fair trade practices. For this latest joint effort, the two brands have focused on food-themed motifs - cherries, crisps, fish-and-chips - and edible-looking colours.

The Puma x Tinycottons footwear collection features reworked versions of Puma classics in three styles - “Suede”, “Puma Platform”, and “Roma” - each of which is available in two colours. Styled in pale green or mandarin orange, the Suede sneakers have gingham linings and cherry or “Fish & Chips” motifs.

The leather-upper “Platform Puma” sneakers, which come in chocolate or thyme green, feature food-themed detachable badges that can be affixed to the shoes' velcro formstrips. Finally, the retro “Roma” jogger has a nylon upper and suede formstrip, and is available in gold/green and birch white/mandarin versions.

Kids then and now

By: Simon Willis

Would you like to be a child again? What about childhood in today’s Egypt? Consider a youngster’s typical day. You get up at what seems to be the crack of dawn. You are still sleepy. You behave like a robot as you are ushered downstairs and bundled onto the school bus. You fall asleep on the bus and are rudely awakened as other children brush past your seat like scrubbed-clean zombies and jump off the bus and into the school campus. You are then told to line up. PE teachers blow whistles in your ear and bawl at you through microphones. You do not understand why this happens. After singing the national anthem to deafening musical accompaniment, you file into class, all the while being told to keep in line and stop talking. You are dragged through several lessons delivered in gibberish interspersed with shouting and questions about concepts developed by adults to torture kids. At the end of each seemingly endless term, you are subjected to examinations, entailing revision with mother with baleful looks and scolding laced with fear of failure. Your backpack full of meaningless textbooks is heavier than you. You fill your face with pizza and crisps during the all-too-short breaks. And you cannot wait to leave school. There will be university with less shouting, followed by what might laughably be called a career, with some shouting and humiliation. 

While waiting for company transport at Hegaz Square, Heliopolis, last Monday morning, I watched a large unmarked bus pull up at the kerb. The driver switched off the engine. Whether the passengers were off to work or a day excursion was hard to tell. An 11-year-old girl appeared from inside the bus, which struck me as odd, because, surely, she should have been at school. Her dark-complexioned open face was framed with jet-black hair in plaits, which might not be allowed at school. Was she skipping school to spend the day at daddy’s workplace? If so, what she might learn by looking and generally helping out might be far more valuable than anything she might be taught at school. 

How did children fare in ancient Egypt? As usual, the primary sources of information about children of that time are descriptions by adults in writings or inscriptions on children’s tombs.

Big families, it seems, were the norm – up to fifteen children. The young were educated and most working boys took up their fathers’ occupations, ranging from artisans to priests. As for girls, they did not see the inside of a school. Their lives were divided into clearly defined stages. The toddler stayed at home and learnt how to talk and walk. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that for the rest of the time under their parents’ roof they were continually ordered to sit down and shut up. From the age of five to fourteen, they were sent to school. And so on. Unfortunately, no ancient child speaks for itself through papyrus or bas-relief. We can rely only on the testimonies of parents, further distorted by historians, who inevitably tinge their accounts with their trans-cultural value judgments and contemporary prejudices. 

Probably a constant through the ages is the condemnation of the young. Who said the following and when?

“Children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room.

They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannise their teachers.”

Indeed, you can visualise the little couch potato with his smart phone, arguing with Mummy about homework and bedtime. You can see them cramming sectors of pizza into their mouths. You can imagine them standing up in class and telling the teacher, ‘I don’t understand!’

But this speech is attributed by the Greek philosopher Plato to his fellow philo’ Socrates a very long time ago.

Hesiod in the 8th century BC said, "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

Yeah. Heard it all before. The old man jive: when I was a lad, blah-blah-blah.

Fast forward five hundred years and this is what Peter the Hermit, said to have been a “key figure” during the First Crusade had this to say about the youth of his day.

"The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them.

As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behaviour and dress."

All too familiar, isn’t it?

The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying that youth is wasted on the young. Of course, that statement is born out of jealousy even though young people are not born with hindsight. And so the speeches perpetuate themselves.

The elders blaming the young, as the latter blame the former for their mistakes and pass on mistakes for their offspring to grapple with, fail, and delegate to the next generation.

In an ever-changing world, it’s gratifying to know that some things will remain the same.

NEW YORK , May, 1, 2018, New York parents, ever vigilant for new ways to amuse their offspring, are picking up babies and flocking to the Metropolitan Opera this week for a very special US performance.

"BambinO" -- a 40-minute opera composed specifically for infants -- has crossed the Atlantic for a booked-out, six-day run after winning over audiences in Britain and Paris.

Well-dressed and well-groomed six- to 18-month-old New Yorkers assemble in a small auditorium at the Met, either cradled on parents' knees or crawling and toddling among a sea of soft blue cushions.

Babies can make as much noise as they want, the audience is told. Adults, on the other hand, are told to pipe down.

Then the music starts. Sung in Italian and baby sounds, it's performed by a cellist, a percussionist and two singers, who roam among the children, introducing them to furry toy birds and a golden egg.

Almost any baby contemplating a meltdown stopped crying, variously grinning, baffled and engaged by the colourfully-costumed singers.