Indonesian Batsheva Christina Cheng had had no relationship for nearly five years. One day she decided enough’s enough. She wanted change in her life.
She became much more proactive in looking for a boyfriend. She wanted to be the hunter, not the prey. Two and a half years ago, she took one step further: she became a professional organizer of speed-dating parties.
Christina set up an online group called Single Club. It now has more than 4,000 members, one of the fastest-growing online speed-dating clubs in Hong Kong.
Currently the group organizes speed-dating parties on a monthly basis. Just at the end of March, it threw a four-hour-long party at a pub in Central, in which 200 men and women met for the first time.
The term “leftover women” has become popular in the city, and it is often said there are always more women than men in speed-dating parties. The truth is, Christina says, the ratio of men and women attending speed-dating parties is often equal, and sometimes there are more men than women.
Most of her members are aged between 20 and 35.
She doesn’t like the term “leftover women”. It’s unfair to women, she says, because there are many single men, too. There shouldn’t be any stigma attached to being a single woman.
And her tips on how to get a Prince Charming as soon as possible?
Christina says it is important for women to start the conversation with guys they are interested in. She knows this is easier said than done. Based on her observations at Single Club, many female members are simply too shy in front of guys.
“Everyone is stranger to each other at the beginning, but once people start chatting with each other and exchanging phone numbers, they are no longer strangers. It is important to take the first step,” she says.
In her view, local guys are often more decent, while most foreign men are not looking for serious and long-term relationships.
“All they are looking for are one-night stands, and in most cases, they just get what they want easily because to these foreign men, most local women are pushovers,” she observes.
“But the truth about one-night stands is that they almost always never develop into lasting relationships.”
Christina advises women against looking for serious relationships in pubs or discos because most of the guys in those places are just trying to get laid.
Asked if she has ever dated a member of the Single Club, Christina says no.
“I set up Single Club with the purpose of finding a boyfriend. But organizing parties kept me busy all the time,” she explains.
However, there was once a 25-year-old guy who was so interested in her, but she declined his approaches because she thought he was too young.
Christina is now in a stable relationship with a half-French, half-German guy who is working in Thailand.
How did she find him? No, not in a speed-dating club. It was actually her Indonesian housemaid who hooked them up.
“She met him at a pub, and he asked her if she could introduce him to some decent girls, because he didn’t want to look for a girlfriend in some Wan Chai pub,” she notes.
Christina was obviously on top of her helper’s list. So she fixed her boss up, and the two just hit it off. That’s how their relationship began, and she hopes it will be a lasting one.
Christina also tells us an interesting story about her ex-boyfriend, who claimed to be a British secret agent working for Prince Andrew.
“He often told me not to tell anybody about his true identity, and he was really elusive, often gone to somewhere else without letting me know. But it doesn’t matter anymore because we broke up, and that was back in 1998,” she says.
But that raises another question: Does that mean the British were still carrying out espionage activities in Hong Kong soon after 1997? “I have no idea!” Christina laughs.
She has been living in Hong Kong for the past 17 years, but she was born and raised in Indonesia. Her father was a schoolteacher and her mother is half-Chinese, half-Indian.
Despite her dedication to Single Club, Christina’s real job is running an organic fertilizer business with a staff of 30 people.
She first came to Hong Kong in 1998 when she got a job with a market research company; she then settled down and became a permanent resident.
She says there are two things she loves about Hong Kong most: it’s easy to meet new friends and the city is always business-friendly.
“Hong Kong is perfect, everything is governed by rules, perhaps the only thing I want to complain about is the noise.”
Although Christina can only speak a little Cantonese, she sees Hong Kong as her home. Asked if she plans to join her boyfriend in Thailand soon, she says, “I still want to stay here for a while, because all my business is based here.”
The article first appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 10.
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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