Single Life Is Enjoyable, But It's Better With A Date
Happy Singles' Day!
That is the congratulatory message spread among single youths via short message services on cell phones yesterday, a day on the calendar for unmarried people.
"I have received 18 messages from my friends for the day," said 26-year-old Chen Jian, a white-collar worker at a Japanese company in Beijing. "It's a very popular day among young people."
The special day is welcomed by many young people, especially college students.
It originated from the early 1990s, when college students in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, first put forward the idea of choosing the day of November 11 as the festival for single people.
They preferred the day because the date "11/11" consists of four 1's.
It became popular and turned into a kind of campus cultural event.
Many youths in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou like to hold parties on the day or go to bars to enjoy themselves in twos and threes.
"I will go to Sanlitun in the evening to have fun with my friends," Chen said. Sanlitun is a bar street in Beijing.
The Singles' Day is no novel thing to George He, a 27-year-old office clerk in Shanghai. He celebrated the so-called festival for the first time during his university days.
The then-students in Shanghai International Studies University - most of whom are male - would gather on the ground floor of their dormitory, singing or yelling songs toward the girls' dormitory, He said.
He recalled with a smile, saying the percussive instruments that accompanied their singing would largely be made up of spoons and rice bowls.
However, after stepping into his work, He seldom has celebrated the "festival."
If he wants to have fun with any of his male friends, he can choose any date for a night out.
It seems a majority of expatriates in the city have not heard about such a festival.
Alexis Chiu, an American journalist, said that yesterday's date is Veterans Day in the United States, which is meant to recognize the contributions of discharged soldiers.
Zhi Chengguan, 38, a white-collar employee in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, said he has waited for the Singles' Day to come for a few days.
There should have been such a festival many years ago, the unmarried man said.
Zhi said he will see a film by himself in the evening, then visit a local bar, drink beer and chat with friends until midnight.
It is no longer a taboo to be single in the country, especially in big metropolises like Guangzhou, Zhi said.
Zhi, who dated seriously twice in his 20s but was sadly dumped each time, has no plans to date again, let alone get married.
Actually, Zhi is not alone in the southern metropolis.
According to statistics from the Guangzhou Women's Federation, more than 30 percent of the city's men who are aged between 30 and 40, have not married.
And the trend has built momentum in recent years.
Many bar bosses also smiled yesterday. Most of the bars in the city were estimated to witness a 20 percent increase in the number of singles out yesterday evening.
Liang Weichao, a bar boss in Guangzhou's Yanjianglu, said he had to put on a special show for men yesterday evening.
(China Daily November 12, 2004)