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May 4, 2012

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It's matchmaking time for singles

THE city's largest matchmaking party, which last year turned into a forum for over-anxious parents seeking the right partner for their children, is back for a second edition but with a twist.

Organizers will charge each person accompanying the participant 50 yuan (US$8.06) to limit the number of overbearing parents.

This year's event will be held at Expo Park on May 26-27. Up to 30,000 singles are expected to participate free of charge. Each of their companions will be presented with an entry ticket to the Saudi Arabia Pavilion after paying the 50 yuan fee. The ticket is priced at 60 yuan.

"Last year, a raft of parents who didn't apply flocked to the party to 'advertise' their sons or daughters, causing chaos. We made this decision based on that experience," said Zhou Juemin, director of the Shanghai Matchmaking Trade Association, one of the event's organizers.

Last year, desperate parents posted their sons' or daughters' information everywhere, reproducing the scene that is played out at downtown People's Park, and they refused to leave until the last moment, Zhou said. The park is the city's most famous spot for parents to look for partners for their adult children.

An area will be set up specifically for parents. Message boards for them to post information will be available.

"This year's event was initially set for December, but the organizers were 'bothered' by at least 10 calls every day from 'enthusiastic' parents, asking for the exact time of the annual event and how to apply, forcing us to advance it," Zhou said.

Last year's event, held in November, attracted about 22,000 people, 56 percent females, with most aged between 20 and 30.

Singles can sign up at local matchmaking agencies before May 20. Foreingers are not eligible, however.

"I will apply for my 29-year-old daughter, and I plan to accompany her because she is the apple of my eye, even if it means I have to pay 50 yuan," said a mother Zhou Wenyan, who missed last year's event.


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