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November 13, 2011

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Hopeful singles at matchmaking party

THE road toward a wedding hall can be as tricky as navigating a minefield.

About 10,000 singles stepped onto that road yesterday at a matchmaking party in Shanghai's Thames Town, Songjiang District, although they don't yet know if the event will lead them straight to the chapel or if it was just another detour.

Young women and men, many of whom were with their parents, took part in the city's biggest matchmaking party in the past five years.

Speed dating was one of the main activities. Each woman found a male partner and they were allowed to talk for eight minutes. When the clock stopped, they changed partners. If someone made a good impression, they could exchange contact information.

"I collected several name cards and some more cell numbers," said 32-year-old Zhao Junqi, a man working in the real estate industry. "But that's that. I don't know whether I'll keep in touch with all of them."

Zhao said he was a bit "lost" at the event, but wasn't too worried because it wasn't a "once-in-a-lifetime chance."

Some women, however, were not so relaxed. Cui Yi, 28, watched each man closely. On one hand, she said she was worried that it would be hard to find a good husband as she gets older; but on the other hand, she is not willing to water down her demands.

"He needs to have an apartment," she said. "I think an apartment gives me a sense of security."

While the women and men spent time with one another, more than 4,000 parents were busy advertising their son's or daughter's marriage credentials amongst each other.

Organizers prepared several message boards, on which they posted information such as a person's name, age, occupation and income.

"My son couldn't come as he had a training class today," said a mother who only identified herself as Xue. "I believe talking to parents also works. I can imagine how a woman is raised by the way her parents act.

Lin Kewu, chairman of Shanghai Matchmaking Trade Association, one of the event's co-organizers, said young people and their parents need to reassess their view of marriage.

"Young people should lay less emphasis on a person's material possessions while parents should respect their children's choice," he said.


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