BEIJING -- It's 'Guanggun day' in China and 1,111 lonely hearts are sitting
bashfully across from each other in the vast banquet hall of a Beijing hotel.
The men -- the true Guangun or single sticks, as bachelors are called in
China -- are on one side, while the women, known as Mingming or bright, are on
the other. They are all single and today, the eleventh day of the eleventh month
is their day.
The number one plays out in almost every aspect of the day. The singles paid
111 yuan to attend the get together.
The hope for today's party is that a Guangun and a Mingming will meet and
become a 'guangming' which literally means light.
Guanggun Day or single stick day originated in the 1990s. College students
came up with Nov. 11th with all it's single digits to celebrate and perhaps
wallow in the loneliest number.
"At 11 minutes past 11 o'clock on Nov. 11, we started banging washbasins and
shouted,' give me a chance to love you', only god knows who we were sending the
message to", Zhang Xiaohao, 30, in recalling a Guanggun Day when he was a
Still single and still shouting, Zhang is now an engineer with a U.S.-based
software company. He says he works late almost every night and his "social
circle is too limited, with few women around me."
A survey of 'single sticks' conducted by China Youth Daily showed that 58.6
percent of the respondents say they are single because they have few
opportunities to make new friends.
"I know more people today, but feel close to very few," Zhang said.
Sociologist Wu Qinghua said even in big, crowded cities like Beijing and
Shanghai people can feel isolated as human contact is increasingly restricted to
people in business circle.
Men in China are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to finding mates
and experts warn it's going to get worse as the population's gender imbalance
Government statistics show that 117 boys are born for every 100girls in
China. If current birth ratios continue, there will 25 million more men than
women in China by 2030, according to a study issued by France's National
Institute of Demographic Studies in October last year.
But on the 11th day of the 11th month many of the singles
at the Beijing party are neither bashful nor discouraged.