“You walk out and it’s the biggest interrogation of your entire life.
They bombard you with questions; everything from ‘How much do you make a year? ’.” The hugely popular show attracts an audience of over 50 million people per episode, all addicted to the intense and often materialistic responses from the contestants – one notably saying that she’d rather be crying in the back of a BMW than laughing on the back of a bike. He was approached to participate because of his unique background – and the unusual story behind his command of Mandarin.
Ben was chosen by Sydney contestant Feng Guo, and the pair won a trip to the Maldives. He doesn’t seem at all nervous about being in such close quarters with someone he barely knows, instead embracing the excitement of the unknown.
They’ve only seen each other once since the taping of the show, but she’s coming to Melbourne for a visit on Valentine’s Day, and then they jet off on their prize holiday. “When you go through a near-death experience, it definitely changes your perspective on life,” he says.
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But in general, Chinese students leave high school with a lot less romantic experience than their American counterparts.
Hence parents are keen to make sure their children are married into a family of equal (if not better) economic status to protect their own financial security after they retire.
And now – in addition to public parks – a new reality dating show has brought parentally-engineered matchmaking to the centre stage.
As they stroll after dinner, anxious parents try to identify potential spouses for their marriage-age children.
They are also ready to advertise their singleton’s looks, education level, salary, profession and assets (in the man’s case, it’s critical that he owns an apartment plus a car).