Hol­i­days a stress­ful time for sin­gle off­spring

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YUE zhangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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

We hope you will come home for Lu­nar New Year. Dad and mom will never again pres­sure you to marry.” PENG’S MOTHER WHO BOUGHT A FRONT-PAGE AD AF­TER HER SON WENT MISS­ING

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. Ten­sions

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.

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