Doing the rounds today on Reddit, Facebook and the Twittersphere is a bizarre ad for a local dating event tonight… (N.B. As not to encourage anyone, I’ve filled this under the ‘Possibly Racist‘ tag as opposed to ‘Events‘.)
…Yes, that’s right, $4800. But unfortunately this is not biting satire, it’s real and here’s the website to prove it.
And why might it be free for men? Quote: “Free for foreigners is because we have a 39 years old German banker meet his wife from our event and sponsor few quota for foreigners and hope they are as lucky as like him.” — because people do that, right?
Previous events – ranging from questionable to outright cringe-worthy – include: “Bunnies House Birthday Party & Lingerie Show”, “Dinner with Millionaires” and “Social Skills Workshop: How to Meet People“. (With that latter event, I imagine there’d be a very heavy bias towards ‘go speed dating’).
In 2009, in sadder times, I had a first-and-final foray into speed dating ‘for research purposes’. Indeed, it was a ‘Speed Dating for Young Professionals’ evening hosted by Rachael Chan of HKspeeddating.com fame. Women paid almost double and we were all told to ‘bring a smile’, dress smartly and remain ‘open to new possibilities’.
All attendees spent 3 minutes with each other one-on-one. Only the guys moved from table-to-table and at the end of the evening, everyone picked who they’d like to meet again. If there were any double matches, Rachael helped you exchange details.
I recall how almost all of the women were affluent mainland ladies working in the financial sector – I guess they were of the ‘cash rich, time poor’ persuasion and so speed dating made good sense. Almost all worked for Goldmann Sachs, they often spoke great English and many laughed very, very maniacally at my lame jokes. Somewhat stereotypically, most claimed their main hobby to be shopping.
It was all very cringe-worthy and, for much of it, I wanted to eat my own legs in despair. Also, although relaxed, I couldn’t help but detect a heavy stench in the atmosphere from both the men and women present (I believe it was Eau du Desperation.)
I happened to be the only Caucasian at this event, but one has to wonder if an ABC, BBC or any non-white male would be welcome at the gathering advertised above… HK is a tough place for dating, as recent studies show, but perhaps this latest ‘niche’ event is a little hard to stomach for even the most hardcore of singletons. Then again, if those who attend these events are pairing off with each other, then perhaps they’re doing the rest of us a favour.
UPDATE 1: Chinese Netizens reactions on the Bad Canto blog.
UPDATE 2: The event was forced to move venues at the last minute, after the 5* Mandarin Oriental cancelled their booking.