Chinese match making

For westerners the following will be a little odd and amusing, but for many in China, this is how things happen, period… end of discussion.
 
Saturday evening Coco and I dropped off some photos at the photo store for printing.  It is odd how you now just take your digital camera memory card in and they transfer the pictures and then print them off…. instead of dropping off a roll in those little tubes and coming back a few days later.  Well, that is another story…  After this little adventure we got some cheese cakes and headed off to the People’s Square park, People’s Park.  This park is very close to Coco’s office and has a modern art museum, art museum, restaurant, and of course a Starbucks in it.  We made our way down to the lotus pond and were surprised to find how large and many lotus were in the pond.  This was is not the reason for this posting though.
 
While on the way to the lotus pond we saw many older people sitting and milling around.  When we began to get closer we noticed these old people had a very specific purpose for being there.  For those readers I had back in May this will be familiar, for on the May 21st posting I discussed a public gathering for getting singles together for marriage.  Well, this was a similar event, just not publicized and minus the people who would be getting married.  All the parents, some grand parents, were there looking for mates for their children/grandchildren.
 
In ancient China children were never allowed to chose their mates, all marriages were arranged but not in the way Indian’s do.  In India children are placed into marriage to better off both families, as payment of debts, or as an arrangement for businesses.  In China children are matched by a match maker.  This person is well versed in many areas.  Where Indian’s negotiate the terms and conditions of a marriage, the Chinese match maker will state their reputation on the matches they arrange.  This third party looks at many aspects of the family who employ them to ensure the marriage will work, last, and produce many children.  The match maker will spend a long time finding a person of the right age, wealth, Chinese astrological sign born under, palm reading, fate reading, aura reading and only when all these are aligned and perfect will the match maker certify the match and notify the paying family.  At this time a meeting is arranged and the children are introduced and then married right away as the match maker will ensure not only the people to marry but the day and time of the wedding.  This person is treated as a guest of honor at the marriage ceremony, and so they have to ensure all their matches are perfect otherwise they are out of business…. forever.
 
In modern times this practice has fallen by the wayside in many modern cities.  However the parents have changed little in their beliefs in the practice.  This day Coco and I were in the park many parents, not being able to find match makers in Shanghai or afford the few who are here, are taking matters into their own hands.  Each parent or couple would have a poster made up advertising their children for marriage.  The more astonishing things about this process is the level of information given or requested for the future mates.  Average posters go something like this:
 
For a male
Age: 30, MBA degree from CAL Tech, 5 ft 9 inches tall
Has a green card for Australia and student visa for USA
Has been employed at HP Shanghai for 1 year, makes 6,000 RMB per month
Has own apartment, 2 BR, 90 square meters
Handsome and family focused, Good sense of responsibility
Looking for ages between 20 – 28 college educated, never married, no children
For a female
Age: 24, BA degree form Fudan University Shanghai, 5 Ft 3 inches tall 100 pounds
Speaks excellent English
Works as a head accountant at Shanghai Manufacturing Corp making 3,000 RMB per month
Looking for man who owns condo, is professional, college educated makes over 5,000 RMB per month
Age below 45
 
Now keep in mind these people were not present, just the parents so usually one parent minds the poster with a pad of paper and a pen to talk with prospective parents and if acceptable to take names and numbers to contact later while the other would look at the available children’s posters and see if the parents were acceptable and to leave their contact information for meeting later on.  Some of the posters were little more then paper with writing on it, others had been done to semi professional standards, with printed fonts, photos, and had tear strips with the parent’s contact information on it and would be laminated.  Many of the parents were dressed to the 9’s and very friendly to everyone as they all had a very specific purpose for being there, to get their kids married to a good family and to do it this year!
 
Some people were bartering pretty heavy and some were going off to more private areas of the park to conduct their business.  As Coco and I were walking through, her reading and interpreting and my observing all the subtle things going on here and there, we were approached by more then one mother.  Coco was asked if she was available and upon finding out she wasn’t was asked if she had any sisters, cousins, relatives, co-workers, anyone…. then I was asked if I knew any nice girls in the US who would like to come to China and marry her son.  This poor mother seemed too desperate.  She insisted we take her information is the event we found anyone interested. 
 
Some of the parents were more aggressive then other, they would seek out anyone who seemed to look in the direction of there.  It was quite a spectacle to say the least.  We ate our cheese cake, watched some ants carry away the crumbs, even some rather large crumbs it took many ants to carry away, up a vertical rock too!  Coco has informed me there is a book that teaches people teamwork from the work ants do, I have not seen it yet, but it sounds interesting doesn’t it?  We left and came back home as the pictures weren’t ready yet because the printer was broken and the delivery man was late, etc etc. 

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4 Responses to Chinese match making

  1. Priyanka says:

    I will have to respectfully disagree with your point of view about the indian marrige thing. you see the way indian marriages are arranged is no differnt then the chinese ones are. it is true that some marriages are done to benifit the families it is not true that all of them are. there is a range of astrology involved in the match making of indian couples.
     
    this is how it generally wroks:
     
    the parents will pick out the bride/groom
    then they will go to a matchmaker and ask them to look at the start each of them was born under and see if they are compatable.
    the matchmaker will tell the parents about differnt things like how much the couple may fight, how good the chances of offsprings are and things like that, the same as the chinise people.
     
    there is a lot of palm reading and things like that involved in this process as well. i do not know the details of all this but i do know that the indian matchmaking is much similar if not the same as the chinese.

  2. John says:

    Thanks for the comment, it seems I stand corrected!  If anyone else has any insight that would be welcomed as well.  I would like to point out I never said ALL marriages, though I was more vague then I should have been, as stating all gets into the territory of a fallacy which is bad logic and a bad base to state an argument.  I do hope this corrects any confussion on my part.  Again, for the record I needed to do better research and have misinformed. 

  3. Sarah says:

    I\’m glad to hear Coco is feeling better!! Reading your blogs make me more than ever want to visit Asia (japn in particular) to experience the different ways of life. How I wish I could live there!!

  4. Cordelia says:

    Hope Coco is better…sorry I\’ve been absent for a while…long story… How long before you welcome the new arrival and do you have any names in mind?

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