In my previous post “1 in 5 women will remain single for the rest of her life,” I explored the possible causes for Hong Kong women choosing to stay single, many becoming what we call “leftover women.” One of those causes is that Hong Kong men are increasingly held to very high standards in providing for their potential wives. Given Hong Kong’s competitive environment, many Hong Kong men are struggling to meet those expectations. I would like to explore what these expectations may be, and how men are finding it difficult to meet them.
We cannot stop time and teleport ourselves to save you from harm
Nowadays, many women expect men to be hopelessly romantic. Men are expected to be like Manager Do Min-joon (都敏俊) from “My Love from the Star” (來自星星的你). Manager Do is an alien with powers to stop time (so he can stop time and give you a kiss – in slow motion) and teleport (to save you when harm comes your way). In the real world, even though technology is advancing, neither of these are possible by today’s science. So, men are still unable to stop time and teleport in front of a car coming towards you to save you from being hit. Let alone doing all this in slow motion in defiance of quantum physics. In other words, men are held to superhero standards.
Even if we can jump in front of a car, we will just be killing ourselves
Even if we jump in front of a car, we will just be sacrificing our lives. We just don’t have the superhuman strength to stop the car because we are not aliens like Manager Do. And background music? It takes time to plan and hire a live street band to sing the background chorus whilst saving you from that car which is about to hit you. Certainly can’t do that in a split second. The only way to do all this is to stage the “car accident” ourselves and plan everything beforehand. But I don’t think you really want your boyfriend or husband to plan a “car accident” for you. Because he’s probably not doing it to “save” you.
Not all of us can afford to buy a HK$50m home as a condition to marriage
Manager Do’s luxury suite in downtown Seoul will cost a lot of money if it was situate in downtown Hong Kong (say, in Mid-Levels). His apartment has probably not less than 4 floors (his “basement” library is already 2 storeys high) which I estimate to be at least 4,000-5,000 sq. ft. in usable area. That’s almost the size of the entire plot of land, including front and back yards and the driveway, of my parents’ home in Canada. As a matter of perspective, a 163 sq. ft. micro-apartment in North Point’s “One Prestige” will cost HK$3.9m (HK$24,000/sq. ft.). How much will a 4,000-5,000 sq. ft. apartment cost in Mid-Levels?
Do Min-joon’s dilemma – being with the girl and die, or just leave her?
Manager Do had a dilemma. He fell in love with the girl, Song Yi. But because Manager Do is an alien, he wants to go back home as he doesn’t belong here. If he stays on earth, he will die and can’t be together with her for long anyways. The fact of the matter is that Manager Do is not of this world. Manager Do is not a human being. Guys cannot be like Manager Do unless they are aliens with special powers. Even if they are aliens, they all have to leave this world eventually. Does our hero Manager Do choose love (to be with Song Yi) or choose life (to leave earth)? At the end, he chooses to leave the girl behind because his life is more important.
Do Min-joon leaves the earth after which Song Yi suffers hallucinations
After Manager Do leaves Song Yi, she continues to await for his return – and suffers series of hallucinations seeing his superhero boyfriend visiting her from time to time, to give her imaginary kisses and say sweet words to her. She remains single, believing that he will return to earth one day. The hallucinations get stronger and stronger until his imaginary kisses almost felt real. Many viewers consider this romantic. I consider Song Yi to be suffering from mental illness as she’s seeing illusions and hearing imaginary voices in her head. Perhaps Manager Do doesn’t even exist and that this was all in Song Yi’s head, being the side-effects from all the pills she’s taking for her depression.
At the end of the story, Manager Do makes a conscious decision to leave Song Yi. Manager Do could no longer stand living on earth. Song Yi then suffers hallucinations for the rest of her life thinking Manager Do, her Mr. Right, will return one day. She stays single forever, or at least until Manager Do returns to earth to marry her. But if he doesn’t return, then she would rather stay single. The love story between Manager Do and Song Yi is not just a drama. It is a reflection of reality, being how things will go terribly wrong if women insist waiting for their Manager Do’s to save them from this cruel place called earth.