CNY holidays a stressful time for single offspring

CNY holidays a stressful time for single offspring

Friday, January 17, 2014 – 14:00

Zhang Yue

China Daily/Asia News Network

A Chinese woman bought a full front-page ad in a popular Chinese-language newspaper in Melbourne on Tuesday to publish a letter asking her missing son studying in Australia to get in touch with the family. In it, she asked the young man, Peng, to come home for Chinese New Year celebrations and promised to stop trying to force him into marriage. Peng had ignored phone calls from his parents because they were pressuring him to marry, according to media reports.

The Chinese Melbourne Daily published the front-page ad with the six-line letter from mother to son on Jan 14.Written in bold characters, it read: “Peng, we have tried to reach you so many times by phone, but in vain. So maybe you will hear from us here. We hope you will come home for Lunar New Year. Dad and Mom will never again pressure you to marry. Love you, Mom.”China News Service later reported that the mother, who lives in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, contacted the newspaper after she lost touch with her son.

The story was reported by several media outlets in China the next day, along with photographs of the ad.

The story also circulated widely on micro blogs, with some netizens suggesting that the ad was excessive, while others expressed sympathy for the mother’s search.


The ensuing discussions shifted to observations that the annual Spring Festival holiday is often accompanied by tensions as parents urge their offspring into romantic relationships.

The story rang a chord with Cheng Li, 32, who lives in Sydney, Australia. She said she has gone through similar problems with her family.

Days earlier, she had quarrelled with her mother, who said, “It’s really the priority for you to get married now.”

Cheng has been studying and living in Sydney since 2009 and she has been single all the while.

“I have really tried to find true love since I arrived here,” she said. “But finding true love is never easy and it is especially hard when you live abroad.”

She did not return to China to visit her family during her first two and a half years in Australia, remaining there instead to work on her master’s degree. She visited home for the first time in 2012 after being granted permanent residency in Australia.

“I was overwhelmed with questions about how my relationship was going at the time. I was 30,” she said.

“To be honest, I enjoyed my single life in Sydney quite a lot and the idea of remaining unmarried doesn’t worry me. But it has been really difficult for me to face my families’ expectations regarding marriage over the years.”

She hung up on her parents during several phone calls when they pushed too hard on the subject.

Cheng’s mother in China, who declined to give her name, said she was concerned about the issue of marriage mainly because she wants her daughter to have someone to share her life with.

“She is very lonely living abroad all these years,” she said. “But I dare not mention this too much to her over the phone. I feel sad sometimes when I think about it, because it’s not something I can help.”

In December, Cheng returned home for the Christmas holidays. She said that when she was saying goodbye to her parents at the airport in Shanghai, she hugged her mom and dad separately.

“And they hugged me with the same whisper: Bring a boyfriend home next time,” she said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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