Multi-terrain and fully customisable, light, compact and super-fast, the modern ‘stroller deluxe’ is a fascinating creature. Peter Sherwood advises DB babies to enjoy the ride.
I’ve never had a baby – that much should be self-evident – which is not to say that I’ve never had children. The process of adoption, for a single bloke anyway, seemed to me the same as having kids ‘naturally’. Over the years, I have quelled fears of prospective adoptive parents worried about what their shiny new adoptee might look like, suggesting that neither would they have any idea how their pre-born might turn out. This must be nature’s way of ensuring the birthing process through to its conclusion.
It is estimated that around 2,127 babies are born here in Delivery Bay every month. Well, OK, that’s not true, I made it up. But I’m sure there are at least… lots. In times of weird imaginings, I see hundreds of baby strollers crashing into each other in DB Plaza like dodgems at a fun fair.
Orbit, Graco, Bugaboo and Maclaren – the modern ‘stroller deluxe’, as seen in DB, comes in at around HK$7,000 a pop. I (cleverly) avoided such outlays by lucking in on my two when they were at least ambulatory and light enough to carry short distances. My charges were pretty cool, because that’s what babies – even slightly bigger babies – are. But that was a thousand years ago and I can’t help thinking they missed out (on a Maclaren).
Better than a Lamborghini
The strollers babes zoom around in today are beyond cool. There must be as many brands of these wagons as there are tots to ride them. There are simple, ergonomic fold-away jobs that fit baby perfectly, rather like a perfectly stocked mini bar. And then there are giants, as big as obesity, with wheels off a golf cart. Fitted with an engine, they could carry an entire family and pick up paying passengers.
Many of these specialist chariots are better built than a customised Lamborghini. But where do baby carriages go when there are no more babies left to carry? I’m told that savvy mums look to the secondary market in collectables on eBay – or DB Mums. And there are even pram museums (‘pram’ is short for ‘perambulator’, a four-wheeled baby carriage) in a number of countries.
So, listen up little ones. Soon you’ll be ejected from your personal transport. Before you can ask, ‘can I play in the plaza?’ you’ll be old enough to be contemptuous of a weekly schedule that includes private maths tuition, ballet classes, tennis coaching, karate, lessons in the Min Chinese dialect – and tap dancing. With five hours of homework a night, you can forget those dreams of skateboarding and hanging with your friends. Make the most of being wheeled around before they start piling on you the dead weight of Hong Kong expectations.
Peter Sherwood has lived in DB for 17 years. The former head of an international public relations firm, Peter is the author of 15 books and he has written around 400 satirical columns for the South China Morning Post.