Breaking up not hard to do for 'me' generation

Updated: 2007-11-28 10:26

Lu Qingyi, an economist and a day trader at the booming Chinese stock market, has set money aside to finance a car and a business for his 21-year-old son who is now thinking of aborting a finance degree in London to open a coffee shop in Beijing.

"Actually I've prepared a contingent fund for him in case he fails in the first business," Lu added. "But of course I keep it hush-hush."

Sexual mores

Marriages among China's elite often seem to be more about amassing wealth than nurturing relationships, observers suggest. When a partner with better prospects comes along, some couples such as Li Lei and Wang Yang think nothing of breaking up.

It's a lifestyle that contrasts sharply to that of their parents who viewed marriage as a duty and divorce a shame.

"You will never ever find any trace in this generation of how we felt in the old days, guys didn't even dare touch a girl's fingers before marriage," said Gary Xu, 55, who spent his teen years herding buffalo in the remote southwest.

In Xu's time, pre-marital sex could cost one a treasured job at a state-owned factory or expulsion from a prestigious university.

Marriage was about a couple working together to earn a television set, a bicycle, or a fridge.

"Kids today start their relationship right from the bed," said Xu. "It's a completely new generation."

These days, cohabitation is commonplace and extra-marital sex is gaining acceptance. A new car, preferably a foreign brand, and a two-bedroom apartment, or at least a down payment on an apartment, is essential in a new marriage among the well-to-do.

Parents also feed the idea of marrying into "the right family" with a sound financial standing.

"If you marry into a rich family, you don't need to plan anything as everything will be set for you smoothly and perfectly," said a secretary, who asked not to be named.

"It will be a comfortable life. Why should we endure a hard life?"

"This generation faces a completely different set of reality versus their parents," explained Professor Fucius. "They are very much self-oriented, not others-oriented or social-oriented."

"Their parents listen to what the superiors, tradition and other people have to say. They listen to themselves."

   1 2   

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours