Ben in Hong Kong©

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wedding Bells

Two Western friends of mine are considering asking their Chinese girlfriends to marry them. Whilst these are very romantic gestures the result has uncovered a new economic aspect to wedded bliss in Hong Kong that I was not aware of.

I call it 'paying off the parents'

One American friend of mine has already proposed to his Chinese girlfriend of 7 years. She comes from a very traditional family and it was therefore expected that my friend first seek the permission of her parents. What shocked me was not that people still ask permission to do such things, it is that a financial deal needs to be agreed between the boyfriend and the parents before anything is allowed to take place.

100,000 Hong Kong Dollars is the price my friend has to pay his girlfriends parents in order to be permitted to marry her. This can be paid by installments or in one lump sum. Prices are varied depending on the family and the girl. I have since discovered families that have requested one million Hong Kong Dollars or more for their daughters hand in marriage.

My friend being charged 100,000 HKD has caused conversation. Additionally it turns out he was already paying the family a considerable monthly sum since his relationship with the daughter became serious.

Another friend I know was dating a Chinese girl and also paying the family 5000 HKD a month for the honour. He told me that during the period where he was paying these monthly installments his girlfriends younger sister was also renting a room in their flat.
Frustratingly the girlfriends younger sister was receiving roughly the same amount of pocket money from the parents as my friend was paying them to date their eldest daughter. He said it was annoying to see his money going towards ipods, clothing and expensive makeup.

Since then that relationship has now ended, and I don't think he got a refund.

I am considering summing up this post by ranting about romance being dead in Hong Kong and the whole place revolving around money. Or perhaps I could take an understanding tone and recognize that this is a different culture and they have different customs and systems.

I am going to do none of these things though. Instead I will start taking bets on which of my friends girlfriends will have the highest price for marriage.

If you know the friends I am talking about you can place your bets....




chinese person said...

If love is to be measured by money, that's not real love

chinese person said...

If love is to be measured by money, that's not real love

bensdadsoot said...

Shame that you and Jack were not a couple of pretty chinese girls we could have flogged you off and retired early. Dont suppose that any older chinese ladies would like to put in a bid?