I usually don’t have much problems with Chinese women dating and marrying white men. Traditionally I typically view them on an individual basis. If the relationship last and works out for both parties, it’s a win-win for all – who cares about if two people are of different races?
Sure, I don’t deny that the phenomenon of Chinese women looking to date and marry white men do raise some broader potential social / cultural issues for me. Why does it seem like some Chinese women are purposefully shunning Chinese men? Why does one often find white men successful in looking to date and marry Chinese women but much rarer Chinese men dating and marrying white women?
I usually chalk up these nagging social issues to women looking to move up the social and economic ladder.
Because of the history of the last 200 years, Westerners typically make more money, are financially more successful and stable, than Chinese. To the extent women (Chinese included) marry for security, dating and marrying white men seems only natural. From the Chinese perspective, it might even be encouraged, if nothing else than to improve the quality of life some of its people through the fast track.
But recently, I came across this WSJ report that seems to turn that theory upside down. It appears in Hong Kong, the real action is not of poor Chinese women marrying rich foreign men, which I understand, but rich Chinese women seeking out to marry white men.
The above picture apparently caused quite a stir and went viral in Hong Kong cyberspace recently.
Here is a copy of the WSJ article in full:
Three words ignited a social-media storm in Hong Kong this past week: free for foreigners.
It started with an advertisement that depicted a young Asian woman smiling at a Caucasian man, who eyed her while holding a martini glass. Created by a Hong Kong speed-dating company, the flier was intended to promote a matchmaking event over the weekend that asked women to pay HK$4,800—more than US$600—to meet expatriate men, who were urged to attend and dine for free. The invitation defined eligible men as “35-48, professionals and foreigners only.”
The ad went viral online, infuriating some who decried the event as degrading to native Hong Kong men and women alike.
“Free food and a easy chick for white guys?! Only in Asia,” says the Facebook page of Kamy Yeung, in a post that accompanied a picture of the ad. The post was shared 840 times.
While there was no explicit mention of race in the invitation for the event, social-media commentators homed in on the issue.
“Are you a foreigner? Preferably white? Are you rich? Do you have stocks and bonds? A passport? Do you like hot Chinese girls? Come have a free dating dinner,” one Hong Kong-based user wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging service.
The founder of Hong Kong Speed Dating, Rachael Chan, said Hong Kong’s five-star Mandarin Hotel refused to host the weekend dinner party just hours before the event, which was open to 20 diners total (both men and women), and the event was moved to a venue in Soho, an upscale bar-heavy district.
A Mandarin Oriental spokeswoman said it wasn’t a hotel event, and declined to comment further.
Ms. Chan defended the event, saying that asking women to pay US$600 was a way to screen attendees and an attempt to help serve her customers better. “When it comes to foreigners of the top 0.1% kind—those bank managing directors—all they ask for is someone smart and financially independent,” she says.
Depicting a young girl on the poster that sparked the backlash, Ms. Chan says, was a mistake.
“This event, I made a mistake because my assistant did the flier. I didn’t approve it. If I saw the photo I would not have used it,” Ms. Chan said in an interview.
“For most guys, especially bankers, they say, ‘I’ve seen many, many pretty girls and I’m looking for a wife.’”
But the company doesn’t limit itself to collecting fees only from wealthy women. Ms. Chan said this weekend her company is hosting a dating event that matches female flight attendants, who will attend free of charge, with men who will pay HK$5,000 to mingle with them.
So far, about 10 men have signed up for the event, which isn’t restricted based on nationality for men or women. She refused to disclose the location, out of fear of sparking further backlash, but says that the event shouldn’t be construed as just a way for men to meet good-looking women.
Why flight attendants, then? “It’s not necessarily because they’re pretty,” Ms. Chan explains. “It’s because they travel around the world, and can carry on a conversation,” she says.
Are rich Chinese Women in Hong Kong disproportionally seeking out Western men? How prevalent is this phenomenon of economically well-off Chinese (or more broadly Asian) women seeking Western men in other regions of the world: Taiwan, Malaysia, Europe, America?
Are these even the right questions to ask? Perhaps I am making too much of a big deal out of stories like this.
After all, individuals will always have personal preferences for personal reasons. Just because a dating service has found a market of bringing Chinese women together with foreign men, one might argue, does not say anything about Chinese culture per se. Just because it has found a market of finding foreign men interested in Chinese women does not indicate a slighting of Chinese tradition through Western eyes per se.