Money worship TV dating stings traditional love values

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, June 14, 2010
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Liu Weidong, a 24-year-old apprentice lawyer in Nanjing, felt embarrassingly rejected by 24 well-dressed single women in a popular, yet controversial matchmaking reality show.

"I had sincerely hoped to find a nice girlfriend on the stage, but I did not expect those girls to be so 'money-worshiping' and blunt," Liu told Xinhua Saturday, recalling his experience of taking part in the show "If You Are the One" about two months ago.

The prime-time show, aired on Jiangsu Satellite TV three nights a week, features a jury of 24 single women questioning male hopefuls, watching their introductory videos and pressing light buttons to decide whether the men are, in fact, eligible bachelors and can remain on stage.

Liu was dismissed by all the female contestants in the show. He has an above-average monthly income of 5,000 yuan (about 732 U.S.dollars), as he said, lives in a rented house and takes the bus to work on weekdays.

"Now I feel so much pressure because I can't afford a house or a car. But how could those girls find true love if they only care about money?" Liu said.

Like Liu, tens of thousands of single men and women across the country have applied to participate in a string of popular matchmaking programs in recent months, hoping to find dates or otherwise seek fame.

Programs including "Take Me Out" and "Run For Love" air on leading TV channels. Often filled with unmerciful sarcasm and heated arguments, these shows have attracted millions of viewers and sky rocketed on rating charts since January.

However, some female contestants' blatant materialism has sparked widespread criticism about money worship among the country's younger generation.

Ma Nuo, a 22-year-old model from Beijing, has been under fire after she told a jobless man who tried to woo her on stage that she "would rather cry in a BMW (than smile on a bike)."

Another female contestant even claimed that everyone, except for her boyfriend, had to pay 200,000 yuan (29,270 U.S. dollars) in exchange for holding her hand one time.

"Plain money worship and constant visual impact in these programs reflect the social blundering trend," said Gu Jun, a sociology professor from Shanghai-based Fudan University.

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