Love in Shanghai

1 Nov

So I’ve been a little bit blog lazy in the past two or three months. I’ve probably gotten too accustomed to Shanghai and its inhabitants and their strange habits. However, life has by no means become boring here and I do intend to make up for the laziness by continuing to write about all the fun and weird things which exist here or happen around me, starting with People’s Square and what goes on there.

People’s Square is a big park right in the centre of Shanghai. Although not particularly easy to spot when you’re around, it is quite nice and quite green once you’re inside. It contains the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Arts), the Opera House, the Institute of Urban Planning, the Museum of Shanghai as well as other venerable institutions of the city. As if that wasn’t important enough, it is mostly famous for the matchmaking activities going on inside.

If you get into the park or the square from its northern side, you will be greeted by a dense crowd of Chinese people standing and wandering around thousands of posters you won’t be able to read. What these people do is to match their most likely only child, young or old, with somebody else’s. It is a crazy activity and the posters are basically their kids’ resumes, on which the only things you will be able to decipher are a few numbers: their age and size. Of course, resumes also advertise all their skills, academic, musical, athletic etc. Some people look for someone for their child as early as the age of 5 or 6! Those who have not married in their 20s also have not despaired and advertise themselves or have someone do it form them.

Upon entering People’s Square

Looking for the perfect match

CVs

Marriage is extremely valued in Chinese culture and everybody gets really pressured (a bit more and a bit earlier than elsewhere I am told) to get married here. But not everyone’s got time to stand on People’s Square to praise their kid’s or their own capabilities. This is why there are, as elsewhere, agencies that will take care of selecting potential partners for you. Apparently (I’ve just finished watching a TV programme speaking about it), there are very high-end agencies for single millionaires and billionaires (mostly men) looking for suitable wives. By suitable please understand both physically and educationally. One of those agencies is called Golden Bachelor Matchmakers and their method is to find girls on the street. How creepy is that? They look for girls who have, according to Chinese beauty canons, the “right proportions” in the face and who are elegant. Golden Bachelor claims a very high success rate, 60% of their matches end up at the alter… So much for outsourcing.

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