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Boy Meets Girl at Big Matchmaking Fest

Boy seeks girl, girl seeks boy. They may find their match among 8,000 love-seekers on October 22 at Shanghai's biggest-ever matchmaking party in Zhongshan Park.

But don't get your hopes up about finding the love of your life; still you can have a good time and meet nice people, say the organizer, the Shanghai Oriental Exhibition Co.

The Shanghai media have recently been reporting on the difficulties of young men and women who try to meet suitable companions or partners.

The five-hour marathon is open to singles between 20 and 45, with at least a high school education. Participants pay 100 yuan (US$12) to register. Their personal details and email addresses will be circulated to other participants. To date, more than 2,000 people have signed up, but only 40 percent are male.

"We are not worried about the numbers," said Wu Chunhui, an organizer. Wu said experience shows that more men will show up once they learn that more women will be there.

"We have backups - the matchmaking companies - to balance the gender ratio," he said.
Among the participants, 10 percent are from nearby Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, as well as some foreigners who want to settle down.

Organizers urge participants to be honest about their marital status when registering - the event is for singles, not married people.

"We don't want anything unhappy to happen," Wu said. Some married men have been known to claim they were single in order to meet women.

The party starts at 4pm. The event will include warm-up exercises, such as "speed dating" - quick, rotating discussions, and a scavenger hunt.

There will be karaoke, games, dubbing love scenes from films, and "cupids" sending messages for people.

(Shanghai Daily October 12, 2005)


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