In a nation where female mates are in dangerously short supply among men who want for, but are unable to find stable, secure work, in the wake of an economy which may be on the verge of de-industrialisation, it was all beginning to make sense, I was finally beginning to understand why I had been handed such a brutal ass-kicking that night.
It hit me as I embarked on the long walk back home from BBK, with the adrenaline dwindling away, bike light shattered, a punctured wheel and a shirt doused in my own blood, I began to ponder about the underlying factors behind my scuffle with half a dozen Chinese men shortly before the break of dawn. What started with a cheeky slap on the face and a vocal disagreement ended up in a violent bum rush and multiple stitches for yours truly.
The London brawler in me felt slightly disappointed about the sustained injuries. But was, however buoyed by the fact that I had still managed to hold my own against a gang of traffic cone tossing and broken bottle wielding thugs (the folly of foolish pride); the thinker in me immediately went to work on identifying a diagnosis for all of the pent up physical aggression that I had just been on the receiving end of.
But I needn’t look too far for it, currently speaking there are close to 34 million more men than women within a country of approximately 1.3 billion people. So, somewhere out there, usually in the thick of the Chinese countryside or on the edge of various first and second tier cities are tens of millions of men who, through no fault of their own, will be deemed surplus to woman’s essential needs: to mate and procreate. Also, try not to forgot, this surplus is merely the calculation based on the nation’s male to female ratio, and doesn’t account for the additional requirements which need to be met in order for a male to be deemed a worthy husband by society.
While selective mating is a worldwide phenomenon, nowhere is it perhaps more prevalent than in the developing world, with China ranking high among the converted. And it’s no wonder, in an economy where recent studies indicate that the rate of income inequality is significantly higher than that of the USA, the face of courtship is becoming heavily polarised. If love is a battlefield then the man of modest means in China is staring at the aftermath of nuclear warfare. Stable and secure job anyone? Money for the house and lavish wedding? What can be seen as the ideal fit for many other cultures is explicitly held up as a prerequisite for a successful union throughout many parts of China.
The story of the bachelor turned surplus male seems to be one of hardship, with 89 percent of unmarried man having not completed high school education within a country where competition is stiff for graduate jobs whose pay is barely adequate for a middle class lifestyle. Poverty, instability and now solitude from any genuine sexual and emotional support for the working man is a given.
Many talk about the seeds of major upheaval being sewn in a demanding middle class, or in the minds of an underwhelmed, jobless graduate population, or disgruntled racial minorities in the west of China, but many fail to direct their attention, even to allude to the grievances of China’s poor (rural poor especially) working class. China is in danger of creating an underclass of men, who through the existence of the Hukou system, lack of decent paid and stable work and any real opportunities to find a significant other may find themselves on the sidelines of mainstream society.
Do well to take heed to the working men of the People’s Republic of China, it was their blood, anguish and grit which helped to breathe life into this nation, it could also lead to its implosion. If there’s anything that you can take from my BBK experience, it’s that marginalisation, coupled with lots of alcohol, testosterone and the slightest provocation make for a recipe for disaster.
Tags:Expat Rants & Advice Expat Tales
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