Dating is a big thing in Hong Kong and China. Chinese people believe that a good foundation of households is what forms a good society. To foster a society with good families inside, you need good couples. And so, the fundamental step of all these would be – dating. However, don’t think that just because Hong Kong is a civil society you can have all the say in choosing your lover. Sometimes, the parents are the big bosses behind.
Even though the parents might not actually tell you what concrete steps to do regarding your dating someone, they do instill some proper mindsets in you throughout your upbringing. What the parents want to create is a mind-changing revolution that benefits you which in turn benefits them.
Here are what the parents think and what they have:
Don’t Date in High School
Hong Kong is a place notorious for its spoon-fed education (at least before the education reform in recent years) where young kids are forced to study extremely hard to get themselves into the best schools and climb up the social ladder. Parents usually fill their kid’s schedule with extra private tutoring and interest classes (playing piano or violin being the most popular) just to make their kids more versatile. So, back to the main topic – since there is no time left for the kids, how could they date someone, not to mention to ever have time to meet someone they like?
The parents always say,
- “You’re too young to date someone.”
- “You’re going to love your iPhone more than your text books once you start dating!”
- “Only talk about this with me when you get 3 grade A in your A-level examination.”
If the parents found you not reading a text book for 5 minutes during exam period, beware that they would hit your butt with a cane. How would you even dare to date someone (that might potentially ruin your academic results)?
You Must Date in College
Dating is banned in high school, how about in college (or as Hong Kong people say, “university”)? The parents would force you to find someone to date, seriously. They have a 180-degree change of thoughts between dating in college and dating in high school. As getting into college means that you will be receiving good education, and then good jobs, and good life etc… Therefore, when you get into college, a very big part of your lifelong mission is completed; your parents’ investment on you is now rewarded. But, the parents want more – you finding a potential husband / wife in college. As the moms always tell the daughter,
- “The best time to find your important self is at college, those people are more pure compared with those whom you meet in the society after you’re graduated.”
- “In college, you still have time to spend time with your lover and see if they’re husband potential! ”
- “I don’t want you to not be able to get married before 28!!!!!!”
This usually results in over-excitement of being in a relationship as the college students aren’t allowed to do so in high school (or not telling their parents if they did). The kids would be indulged in spending time with the lover, thus skipping lots of classes and passing many deadlines of school assignments. When they are graduated and find a job, they end up being together with the same person for a few years. Even if they get bored, they simple can’t break up with each other because of their mutual over-reliance throughout the years.
Son, be Successful, but Don’t Share with the Girl
The parents don’t just put expectations on the time you should start dating, but also your lover’s criteria. However, the requirements of a good lover vary between if you’re a guy or a girl.
If you’re a guy, your parents would keep telling you to get a house and a car before you get married so that you’re financially safer and it would help you overcome any downsides in your marriage life. Basically, your parents want you to get rich because they also know that Hong Kong girls would find you more reliable to marry with, and so it’s more likely for you to have a better girlfriend or wife. However, the parents would also tell their son not to date any girls who like them for their money. This is in essence telling the son, “be rich and successful, but beware of the gold-digger bitches!” So, the parents get everything they invest on their son back. Smart parents, huh?
Daughter, Make Sure the Guy will Buy You a House
How about for daughters? It’s the opposite. Parents would want their daughter to find a rich guy who would buy you a house and a car (ideally with a 18-k diamond ring) before getting married. It not only means that the guy can take care of the girl financially, but also, the guy can take care of them, the parents themselves. But being just successful is not enough. Parents understand that rich dudes are usually busy on checking the stock prices and watching the property market, so the ideal kind of husband for the parents would be someone who is also caring and willing to spend time with their daughter (i.e. not a rich jerk). Preferably, the guy should also be tall and good-looking because it gives the daughter a better public image. Alright, so, successful, caring and physically attractive, are we talking about some imaginary computer-generated characters that you can only see in some fitness center advertisements here?
If you think the parents are ridiculous, it’s fine. They are. But what is more ridiculous is the society. When the capitalism in Hong Kong mixes with the traditional Chinese value of “striving for the prosperity of the family so you need to have a good spouse” , the results would be those unreasonable parents’ expectations of the ideal spouse of their children. Are these expectations a social norm of the Chinese society, or just the capitalistic Hong Kong? What do you think?