Article by Abigail Sofia Sze
Edited by Regiena Siy and Caitlin Anne Young
The traditional Chinese values of marriage have drastically changed over the past few years. The “marry first, fall in love later” rule has long grown obsolete. Although marriage is no longer seen as mandatory for young adults, it’s still highly prioritized, especially in the Chinoy communities. So while standards and norms have changed, Chinese parents still hold some sway over their child’s love life. Admit it, all of us have heard our amahs, angkongs, aunties, and uncles say these at least once in our life!
1) “Bo howe pa ba?” – “No special someone yet?”
The first question Chinoy singles often encounter when getting into conversations with the elderly would be a question on whether or not love has come their way yet. Call the elders the original romantics, but they surely won’t let you off the hook until they get an answer!
2) “De diao sua lo ba?”– “Courting someone yet?”
For young male Chinoys, a phrase that is commonly encountered would be whether or not they have made a move yet. It is common for uncles and aunties or ahmas and angkongs to ask whether or not the young bachelor has found someone to court yet, and they would bombard them with more follow-up questions regardless of the answer.
3) “Di si be kan chiu ah?” – “When are you getting married?”
In some instances, our uncles and aunties simply cut to the chase and directly ask when the wedding bells will be heard. No more questions of courtship, just an indirect way of saying “Get married already!”
4) “Kai xiao lo!” – “I’ll set you up with someone!”/ Blind date
Some relatives simply do not take a “no” for an answer, and the next resort is a set up for a blind date. The matchmaking process has evolved over the years, and young Chinoy singles are now being urged to join different Chinese organizations in the hopes of finding their match, not to mention the numerous “study tours” our parents have signed us up for.
5) “Do you have a great wall?”
Funny as it may sound, the term “great wall” goes hand-in-hand with dating a Chinoy. The term was coined from the Great Wall of China, and it basically is the obstacle to be faced when your Chinoy love interest is only allowed to date other Chinoys. This has been the stereotype of the Chinese for the longest time, which explains why most single Chinoys are often asked the same question over and over again. People probably also ask out of fear of a scary mother-in-law, just like what we see in the movies. Well, it definitely takes a warrior to climb up that wall!
6) “When I was your age…”
This is usually your cue to leave the room unless you are up for the longest storytelling of your life. The how-we-met love stories of our aunties and uncles are definitely endless, and they get juicier every time! It technically serves as a way of letting you know your roots, but it’s mostly just to give you that little push to go find Mr. Right. And trust me, the story isn’t over yet even when you think it is 😉
In the end, it’s quite tiresome to hear the same questions while giving the same answers each time, right? But come to think of it, this is the simplest way for family members to show that they care. In a culture where “I love you” is quite cliché, what better way to reach out than breaking the ice? And who doesn’t love talking about love?!
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