Are you are a ‘leftover man’ (over 30 but single)? A ‘bare branch’.

China’s real problem: leftover men

 Debasish Roy Chowdhury

BIO

Debasish Roy Chowdhury is the Business News Editor at the South China Morning Post. With nearly 18 years of experience, Debasish has worked and lived in Kolkata, Sao Paulo, Bangkok, Beijing and Hong Kong.
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Years of the one-child policy and sex determination caused by preference for boys means there are now 20 million more men under 30 than women.
Recently a group of women came together at a cafe in Beijing to stage The Leftover Monologues. It was so successful that the organisers decided to do two encores in bigger venues.

The success of the play, a series of first-hand accounts of shengnu, or “leftover women”, is an example of the interest the issue of young unmarried women generates in China.

The media writes relentlessly about them, feminists seethe at the stigmatisation, and matchmaking and accessories industries thrive solving the “problem”.

The state does its bit to help these “yellowed pearls“, as the All-China Federation of Women calls them, by dispensing tips like “don’t be picky” and “seduce but don’t pester”.

In contrast, there’s far less interest in China’s real leftovers – its men. Years of the one-child policy and sex determination caused by preference for boys means there are now 20 million more men under 30 than women. Even if all these women took the state’s advice to be less “picky”, it would still leave 20 million leftover men. By 2040, there will be 44 million such leftover men of marriageable age. “Leftover women” are an avoidable social phraseology; “leftover men” are an inescapable statistical reality.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post this week, researcher and writer Luo Aiping spoke at length on why leftover women are stereotyped as highly educated and well paid. It’s because, she says, this group makes for a promising market. That also happens to be the reason why we don’t hear all that much about leftover men.

The typical Chinese leftover man lives in a remote, underdeveloped area, has low income and lower prospects – a guanggun, or “bare branch“, so called because he will not add to the family tree. Not exactly a prized target for advertisers, and hence inaudible in the din of the market.

Yet, the challenges leftover men pose to China are staggering, linked as they are to a host of rising problems from prostitution, trafficking and sexually transmitted diseases to violence and even ethnic strife, over an increasingly rare resource – women. To call women leftovers is plain wrong, and not just in the semantic sense.

Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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