The match making markets in parks of China

When I visited Shanghai’s People Square park, I spotted hundreds of individuals sitting behind an umbrella in a row. I had no clue what they were doing there. On each of the umbrella there was a A4 size sheet with something written in Chinese on them. There were some English numbers- like 1980, 1983 etc and 170 cm, 160 cm etc. Which appeared to me like year of birth and height. That sort of implies the sheet contains personal details of individuals. The last line was usually a long number, most likely the phone number to call. But what is the purpose of displaying them? Are they looking for job? Are they up for adoption? The people behind the umbrella seemed much older than the year of birth displayed- so the data belongs to someone else- are they selling slaves? I had no idea.


I tried speaking to a few- no one had any intention to speak to me, or couldn’t, due to language barrier.

When I tried taking closeup of a display, a women behind the umbrella vehemently opposed it by putting her hand between the display and camera. I sort of got the hint that I am not welcome there and moved on to other parts of the park.
Later it stuck me that this could be a match making attempt also- the people whose profiles are displayed are now in 30-35 years of age, slightly behind the ideal marriage age (say 25-30). I did some google search and got confirmation that this is indeed a matchmaking market.
Looked like a great concept- like how we have weekly village markets where farmers and traders sell their stuff direct to consumers, parents of brides and grooms try to connect directly and shortlist possible matches. Now I understand why no one was keen to talk to me- they didn’t see me as a potential groom worth talking to. Anyway I wonder why no one has thought of including a photo of the bride/groom along with bio data or have the person be available around- after all looks are a major consideration during partner selection. May be looks are not their strength so they don’t want to spoil the chances by showcasing it in public- I don’t know. Also possible is that since this match making is first between families, they would probably filter first using equivalents of caste, sub caste etc before considering other factors (just my guess). Most of the people behind the umbrellas were probably parents or relatives of the guy/girl to be married off, who still preferred their conventional way instead of online websites or dating apps.

None the less it was good to know about this traditional way of matchmaking

6 comments:

  1. Wow! So interesting! I loved the humour too- "they didn't see me as a potential groom worth talking to" I wish you were able to get more juicy details from these people directly then we would know why the potential groom/bridegroom were not there and how successful is this concept actually.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I wasn't looking Chinese from any angle, so they were not keen to talk

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  2. Fantastic idea of writing article. How you turned to humour?.

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  3. That's interesting. I hadn't heard of this. :)
    Maybe the pictures come at a later stage.

    Thank you for bringing this story to us. :)

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