April 18th, 2008
05:29 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Shocking Reality

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

I have watched this video three times now and I keep rereading the story, but I still can’t believe what I’m seeing. Families – including small children – living in heaps of rotting waste. For some of these children, including a seven year old you’ll meet, this dump is the only home they’ve ever known.

I can’t imagine living in a dump, but even more disturbing is one mother’s matter-of-fact answer when asked if she thought she’d ever get out. Her reply? “Never.”
Hearing the details of a child destined to live his life hunting for scraps in the putrid dump he calls home only makes this next story more disgusting.

I had to stop watching “My Super Sweet Sixteen” after a couple of episodes because these girls and their parents were so obnoxious! At first it was mildly amusing, but after realizing how seriously these girls take themselves, it wasn’t funny, it was just sad. They appeared to be ungrateful, spoiled brats and it seemed their parents did nothing but encourage their behavior… indulging their teens with brand-new luxury cars, $3,000 handbags and never daring to utter the word “no”.
Why wait until the sweet sixteen, though, to throw your kid a mega-bash? Why not start now… with a $5,000 birthday party for a three year old. I love a good party, but this is so excessive. This child is THREE – she’s not even going to remember the event. And what will she have to look forward to? Bring back pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey!

OK, off the soapbox now… let’s get you a little sunshine for the weekend, shall we?

Your ray of light this Friday… a rebounding dollar. Could the dollar really be on its way back up? The short answer is yes. Of course, the next question: When?! I’m no financial whiz, so for the deets, I turn you over to our good friends at CNNMoney.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Kelly H

    It is my undying hope that "My Sweet Sixteen" is ONLY on TV so that people like me can watch it and feel good about NOT being those girls or their parents.

    April 20, 2008 at 12:28 am |
  2. Steven Holmes Clinton, CT

    So frightening to think where will this country be in 20-30 years. These kids and their parents have absolutely no idea of responsibility. God forbid they ever had to defend themselves and their country! Maybe the Draft of years past wasn't such a bad idea, it certainly straightened out a lot of kids. Or maybe some sort of mandatory civil service.

    April 19, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  3. Jude Sawyer

    Please, somebody out ther, with lots of money, hire that lady and the child to live in your guest house and work for you at something honest and treat her with respect and dignity. I wish I could help her.

    April 19, 2008 at 12:15 am |
  4. Mike - OC, Calif

    Erica – – What a sad, sad story about the 7 year old Khin who lives out his existance in a Thailand garbage dump.

    How pathetic and putrid is not just the refuse, but also the world systems that allow such circumstances to go on and on and on. I implore those that read his story to give at least some assistance to aide orginizations.

    I pray for eventual relief to reach them . . . I know that in God's eyes, He sees them not as " garbage dump children " . . . but as little heavenly saints needing a helping hand.

    April 18, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  5. liv

    i guess this society is losing touch with what is important, what is good and what is over limits. Those girls are being raised to become nasty, mean, self centered nothings. Creativity, caring, thinking, learning, helping others, or just be a decent person is more than the amounts of money spent. Why those people do not donate for charities? Children are hungry, people homeless or in poverty, and here we go $3,000.00 b-day party for 3 years old? This is unnecessary selfish indulgence. And who really cares about them, their sad empty life.
    Kids have too much of toys, clothes, ice creams etc. To me ice cream was once a while treat – and we were slim....;-)
    now some eat ice cream every day.... ( and I mean it symbolically too...a lot of everything all the time -no need to deserve the special treats...)...

    April 18, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  6. Lilibeth

    Erica, I came from a 3rd world country and though I was lucky enough not to have to forage through trash to get food, I've seen it happen during my childhood. It's been 24 years since I immigrated to the States; unfortunately, the same country has become at least 10 times poorer than when I left it. Many factors, the biggest of which is corruption, are putting these countries in a downward spiral. Sadly, this is a fact of life in extremely destitute countries. It's a grim reality, and I'm glad you brought it to light here, for there are many people who don't know what's going on and how people in other areas of the world live. I do my part in helping, but I know it's not enough. Poverty in countries beset by corruption and helping these countries have been in the forefront of my thoughts ever since I came to this country...

    ...And this is a perfect segue to your article about spoiled children with birthday parties in the thousands of dollars. I thought it was uncanny that you talked about two extreme ends of the pole in the same article. Uncanny, but clever, and I'm glad you did. I wish kids here in the US are more grateful for what they have and realize how lucky they are. Yes, there are poor kids here too, but not "dirt dirt dirt poor" like I've seen in my lifetime. Maybe their schools need to adjust their curriculum to add something that teaches them how other kids in the world (especially the poor ones) live and eat (or not eat). Maybe then they won't be demanding new cars and $3,000 handbags... I can only hope...

    Rebounding dollar? That's great news. About time we hear something positive on the economic front...

    Thanks, Erica! Have a great weekend!

    Edmonds, Washington

    April 18, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  7. sam3dogs ( Steve A. Moore )

    Erica, your commentary is both refreshing and riviting. Keep up the fabulous work.
    If the dollar is rebounding why is gas still at the current prices? Why is the deficit at all time highs and growing?
    The real issue is can we survive long enough for someone to come along and turn things around? Unfortunatly the answeer is most likley no as, our two party system has become us vs. you and that is the equation for disaster.
    Throughout history the average age of a Democracy is 200 years. 90% of them eventually failed and passed on to the journals of history not because of defeat or being overtaken by others but, for one reason and one reason only, they were bankrupted. Exactly what is happening to America today.
    Osama Bin Laden is doing exactly what he set out to do, bankrupt America. Please look into this not for me, but for us all. Thank you as I look forward to reading and watching your future collaborations.

    April 18, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  8. Michael, NC

    You are right, that story about the family living at that dump...makes me shudder. I can't imagine such a lifestyle. The thought of that happening in the United States...not comforting.

    Don't get me started on that stupid "Sweet Sixteen" birthday bash garbage. Those girls are the rudest, most obnoxious, arrogant, (any other demeaning adjectives you deem appropriate) girls. They make me want to put a foot through my television. From people living in dumps to tramps with hundred-thousand dollar parties...humm. Circle?

    The sunshine here in eastern NC is AMAZING!!! I had to skip my afternoon classes so I could get an awesome sunburn...loved every second of it too.

    Hope you have beautiful sunny weather for your next few days off, thanks for another great week on the show. 🙂

    April 18, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  9. Megan Dresslar

    Yes, I agree with you........ me either! I will see you later tonight and Yes, I am back to join Ac360 tonight! See you soon!
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    April 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  10. Stacy

    I could not agree with you more on these spoilt brats. It 's a crying shame something like occurs in the world we live in today. Iam a mother or three everyday I tell my children how lucky they are to be able to live in a nice clean home and eat three square meals a day.

    April 18, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  11. Vicky, Ontario, Canada


    I think I saw this a couple of days ago. Is this about Lin living in the garbage dump? I couldn't believe it and my first thought was "can I adopt him?". Then I read the rest of the story and found out he had an adopted mother who also survives on this garbage dump. I don't know how people can survive in such conditions, and can't believe they have to scrounge through the dump. It's no way for anyone to live, let alone a child. Thinking futher, I suppose I have to look a little bit closer to home, as I know children here are living in poverty, and I hate to think any of them are going through the same kind of experience. We really have so much... and there's quite a disparity between some children who have every new thing that comes out and others who have so little. I agree that some of these shows are going way over the top on what's planned and spent on children's parties!

    April 18, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  12. Jennifer NC

    Hi Erica,
    Hope you have a great weekend too. I totally agree with your thoughts about "My Super Sweet 16." It is definitely a sad thing to watch.

    April 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  13. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    Thanks for the "deets" on the American dollar. 😛
    I am hoping the Candian dollar stays low, makes me buy more from the States

    Have a great weekend Erica!

    April 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  14. Toni/South Carolina

    Hillary Clinton is a ruthless woman. She makes a claim of having faith, but every time she opens her mouth, Barack spills out and I have noticed that he is slow to be negative toward her, but has to respond to her relentless negatism. It is an uncomfortable feeling to think that this woman might be president, she is a liar and it really scares me to think what she might do. Mr. we all know his history, I can't imagine the two of them in the White House.

    Toni/South Carolina

    April 18, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  15. Renee

    Hey, Erica, glad you were outraged about the parties too! I emailed the article earlier today to my husband and made a snarly note something to the effect.........and we wonder why we have a mental health problem in America?!

    With regards to these TV shows I am so proud of you for turning them off. Trust me when I say if you had a daughter it would be more offensive. To each is own I guess. We are not teaching that material girl attitude at this house! Husband has this disease of reality TV. I can't stand any of these reality shows. It has taken me years for him to figure out there is only 1 TV show to watch per night and that is AC360. Of course when you joined the show it was a no brainer for him!

    Have an awesome weekend and keep those posts coming. Glad you are full of opinion!

    April 18, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  16. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Erica, you use to watch "My Super Sweet Sixteen?", well what a differance between children hugh? Some live off trash some will grow up to treat other like trash because they will not know the value of life. The Dow up, S&P up, Oil up..some good news I guess. Have a good one, see u tonight.

    April 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    A $3000 birthday party for a three year old? What are the parents trying to prove? Some people unfortunately have more cents than sense.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 18, 2008 at 5:37 pm |