One day, I was sitting down in front of my computer and saw a few male friends posting up the poster above on Facebook and saying BS like “It’s every man’s dream” or “gotta bring my passport and enjoy a free meal” or of course the usual “I wish I was single”. A few days later, the news was spread across the town and everyone was talking this Dinner of the Year.
It’s a ladies-pay-HKD4,800 and men-for-free speed dating dinner to be held at one of leading luxury hotels in Hong Kong, the Mandarin Oriental (although the Hotel denied that it wasn’t their official event and refused to host the event a few hours before the dinner began, according to WSJ).
I was completely shocked.
Nonetheless, here are what I find interesting and ridiculous:
Ambiguous Requirements for Male and Female
The dinner requires ladies to be “single professionals” and men to be “35-48 professionals and foreigners only”. Men are not required to be single while ladies have to be single. So, ladies, just make sure you’re single and come pay the money to date a foreigner. Guys, they don’t care if you’re single or not as long as you can come and enjoy the free meal.
Another point to note is the definition of “foreigners”. Does it mean white men only? Do those non-white people who have a foreign country passport count? Would a black or brown guy be recognized as foreigner? We don’t know the answer. But as seen on the poster, it seems that “foreigners” mean white men. This indicates a common generalization that “foreigners” refer to “white men”. Instead, anyone who is from a cultural background or race that is different from the country is a “foreigner”, regardless of their skin color.
“Hong Kong Women are Easy to Get?”
The essence of the free-for-foreigner dinner is to attract those Chinese women who are into dating a foreigner, but the way the event is promoted poses humiliation and insult to the Hong Kong female. It’s true that some Hong Kong women are crazy about foreigners because of the exoticism and the ego of carrying a tall, white guy around town and show off to their friends, “yo, I’m dating a white dude”. However, putting a monetary value (that is large enough to book a return trip from Hong Kong to Bangkok) for Hong Kong female’s desire to date a foreign is somewhere misleading and poses a huge social implication of people’s perception of “Chinese women are easy to get”.
Oh no… I’m Getting Left-over!
Yes, the market works well in itself where everything can be transacted so long as you can and are willing to pay. However, HKD4,800 is almost half of what an average Hong Kong-ese can earn per month (the medium monthly salary of the Hong Kong workforce is HKD11,000 as of 2011, according to the Government figures). Only those Hong Kong women who are probably above their 30s and who are still single and unmarried would be able to afford the price. Therefore, not only does the event implies Hong Kong women’s lust for dating a foreigner, but also their desperation to get married as they approach the “left-over” age. This highlights the Chinese culture of caring about reproduction and passing your genes to your next generations because it’s the root of forming a peaceful and complete society.
Hong Kong Men, Stay Strong
There are more females than males in Hong Kong (there are 881 males per 1000 females as of mid 2010), so Hong Kong men should be in scarcity and so being popular among Hong Kong women. Sadly, Hong Kong women (especially those high-educated and international ones)’s desperation to date a foreigner has implied the weakening competitive edges of Hong Kong men. Those Hong Kong females do not view the local men as precious as they should be. Now, Hong Kong women in this case even do not mind to pay for a big sum of cash for the chance to meet quality foreigners, then one could hardly see how Hong Kong men would remain confident and ambitious when the females keep pushing them away.
“I Don’t Need You to Pay for Me, Women”
Some people also raised the issue about “would a successful man bother to go for free meals paid by successful women?”. For a 35-year-old professional male, a free fancy dinner sounds like a very good deal. But if a man is successful and professional enough to be eligible to go to the dinner for free, they still might not be put up with the fact that their meals are paid by female because they themselves can also afford it. To some males, paying dinner for females is a way of being gentleman and showing that they can take care of the women they deserve. However, the free-for-foreigner is exactly the opposite and it might indicate males’ lack of ability to chase women at normal occasions rather than a speed dating event. To those ambitious males, this might be an insult to them as well.
Marketing Heat for the Speed Dating Company
One thing I have to feel amazed with is how smart the speed dating agent is to brainstorm this controversial event that sparks widespread public discussions. They know how to convey the marketing message well: using the smiley Chinese girl and white man on the poster to depict a picture of “white guys get hot Chinese girls”. Although the publicity the speed dating company gets is mainly a negative one, it remains a great marketing legend. In the future, foreigners will thank the company for reinforcing the important message of “Asia is our playground, yo”.
In a market economy, the speed dating event seems to be legitimate. Men and women both get what they want. However, on a social perspective, the way the poster is designed and the participants’ requirements are outlined pose a negative social implication of “Chinese women are easy to get”. When the news about this event is spread across the world, there may be more people believing in the misleading definition of “foreigners” (i.e. white men) and the desperation of Chinese women in dating a foreigner just for the sake of doing it. To me, the speed dating company did not take into enough consideration about the huge social impact and people’s future expectation on Chinese women, Chinese men and the Chinese society. The Chinese society is a complicated one with lots of recent culture influx from all over the world because of the booming economy. Different people might put different thoughts on how the Chinese people see things and do things. But the idea of this dinner and the event itself have promoted a cursory generalization on Chinese women without considering many other factors. One should be wise enough to not make any presumptions on Chinese women and foreigners based merely on the poster.
What do you think about this?
You be interested in knowing how I think about Why There are So Many “Left-over” Single Females in Hong Kong.
If you want to see the detailed social media discussions of the topic, you can visit this link.
Categories: Guys and Girls