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May 31st, 2014:

A very small town

As we drove on a side street through a small town near the North Korean border, I shot this video of the houses and people. It’s obvious that this is not a wealthy town.

The Marriage Market

If you visit a certain riverside park in Shenyang on the weekend, you will see an interesting site: the marriage market. I don’t know if that’s the common name for the local people, it’s what my friends in the consulate call it.

This is what you will see when you walk through the park:

marriage market2

What are the people looking at on the ground? Resumes.

People who come to the market are mostly parents of unmarried adult children who want to get married but for whatever reason can’t find a mate. The parents are sharing their children’s resumers, and are looking at others’ resumes, trying to find a suitable partner for their child. In addition to parents, matchmakers also display their clients’ resumes.

marriage market1

One resume reads:

Looking for Marriage:

Male, born in 1983, native of Shenyang City, height 1.75 meters, master’s degree, working in city government (official capacity). Seeking female, born after 1986, prefer native of Shenyang City, over 1.62 meters tall, at least bachelor’s degree, stable job (prefer civil service job, teacher would receive preferential consideration). Telephone xxx-xxxx

Another resume for a female:

Female, born in 1980 (brief previous marriage, no children), 1.68 meters tall, working for the city government, stable job, filial to parents, easy to get along with, responsible. Looking for an ambitious man of similar age, worker or businessman. Tel: xxx-xxxx.

I saw some people pick up a resume from the ground, and immediately the owner of that resume engaged the person in a conversation, apparently discussing each other’s client’s qualifications, and exploring the potential for a relationship.

It’s kind of sad that some people are so busy with work that they can’t find a partner on their own, and have to resort to this method. On the other hand, it’s no worse than hanging out at a bar to try to find a life partner. Arranged marriages have a low divorce rate. Who knows, maybe this strategy would yield better results than a person trying to find someone on his or her own.

I also like the idea that parents are helping their kids look for someone. Presumably, parents would have their kids’ best interest at heart, and would honestly want to help them find happiness.

I don’t know if this method results in a romance or love at first sight, but in the long run, maybe those things are less important than a stable, caring relationship between two people, and long-lasting happiness?

An answer to the restaurant hygiene problem

Chinese restaurants, even in Taiwan, are notorious for not cleaning their dishes very well. I suspect that’s why hepatitis was historically endemic in Taiwan. One solution that is in common use here is to outsource the washing of dishes.

Restaurants can contract with a company to supply clean utensils. Trays of utensils are delivered to the restaurant, on demand. The utensils come sealed in shrink wrap. Each package contains a plate, spoon, soup bowl, tea cup and drinking glass.

I’ve eaten in a dozen different restaurants, and used the same company’s utensils.

No hepatitis yet, knock on wood!

Sealed for your protection

Sealed for your protection

Intellectual Property rights are respected here, …

…except when they aren’t.


Tough guy fail

Sorry, dude. I appreciate the effort to look tough: wife-beater shirt and tattoos on your arm and back.


But when you sit on a pink stool and hand-paint a ceramic princess in a park, the tough-guy image sort of melts away.