Sunday, August 01, 2021

Chow: Kai siau on a next level

The Great Wall: Chinoy Corner

LONG before dating apps went mainstream for matchmaking, there’s a thing called Kai siau to the Chinese.

Kai siau for Hokkien, gaai siu for Cantonese, jie shao for Mandarin means to introduce. Although it doesn’t translate directly to matchmaking, the terms are popularly used to spark possible relationships through family/relatives/friends’ recommendations.

Mainland Chinese would call it xiangqin or hunjie having deep cultural significance, this is essential even to the people behind the forbidden palace — a natural activity as they would say. Marrying in Chinese is a group discussion, something that parents have to permit. They would even consult professional matchmakers before agreeing to the couple’s union. While attitudes toward love and marriage have become freer since the early 20th century, matchmaking has continued to exist to this day.

For Chinoys, matchmaking is also upgraded using digital platforms like Facebook and other mobile apps to look for partners for friends, family members, or relatives. The referrer posts the qualities and requirements to either date or even get in touch with the person being kaishao-ed. Although it is Chinese culture and tradition, Filipino influence is also put to place — dating must first occur and that parents must be informed.

Matchmaking is, of course, not exclusive to the Chinese or Chinoys: It has existed in different forms all across the globe. In fact, Filipinos also practiced this but not popularly known.

According to Zeng Yuli, a freelance writer focusing on Chinese youth culture, “In 16th-century Europe, imperial families would choose their marital partners with the aid of portraits. In Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice,' single young people make each other’s acquaintance through elaborate organized dances. And how many of us today use online dating, watch matchmaking TV shows, or attend speed-dating events? That said, nowhere else in the world does matchmaking quite like China. Every weekend, ad hoc matchmaking corners in China’s urban parks throng with groups of middle-aged and elderly parents brandishing cardboard advertisements displaying their children’s age, income, property portfolio, and hukou — the household registration card that permits them to reside in a certain part of the country. The older generation still aims to help their children find life partners.”

It is very important for Chinese women to get married for a specific age, those who aren’t are called shengnu, a derogatory term popularized by the All-China Women’s Federation that classifies women who remain unmarried in their late twenties and beyond.

Matchmaking not only concerns Chinese young people but also makes parents feel anxious. In western countries, parents don’t usually have a say to their children’s relationship and future marriages, a complete opposite for the Chinese.

For Chinoys, although it is no longer strictly practiced, kai siau still exists to some ‘frustrated’ brothers/sisters/parents or even friends for someone they know not yet married and still an active member of NBSB or NGSB. Funny captions are a plus in this new trend.

Here’s a sample from a Kaishao group (names and other information are withheld)

Name: Juan Ting Yu

Age: 29 years old

Height: 5’9”

HS: ********

College: ****

Post grad: ****

Profession: Physician, Internal Medicine Resident

Looking for: his first and last! Yes, NGSB ang bae na to

Pros-#PebuApproved-#BoksuApproved and #DiscipleshipGroupApproved!

This bae is God-fearing! Will definitely lead you spiritually at sasamahan ka sa lahat ng church services and groups!

-Laging mabango kahit walang ligo ng more than 24 hrs!

-Very thoughtful in a tough love kind of way

-Masipag magdrive! Hatid sundo ka kahit hanggang moon and back!

-Responsible and has leadership skills! President namin ito sa Christian org namin!

-Sporty kahit hindi halata!

-COVID warrior

Cons-No one touches his hair! You’ll be the first ayieeee

-Super laway conscious, you are his first kiss

-Busy schedule, pero patapos na siya ng residency training wag kayo mag-alala girls

-Not so sweet pero baka ikaw ang kulang para tumamis ang buhay niya!

Pwede na kayo magmeet kahit ECQ exempted kami!! PM if interested

For some, kai siau may sound a little bit weird, but for Chinoys, this is just normal, some are even eager to be kaishao-ed.


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