Editors note: This is a translated and edited version of an article that lists the “top ten” most stressful cities in China, and even though the original Chinese articles title doesn’t specifically mention it, these stress inducers are all male-specific. Low salaries, high housing costs and failing to marry because of these two things – for Chinese men, these are the most common sources of stress and pressure in China’s largest cities.
1) Shanghai: Finding a bride is Impossible Without Money
Saying the word "pressure" or “stress”, we must first talk about Shanghai. In the future “financial center of the East”, the pressures of a man’s life are obvious to all. Whether it is Shanghai's strong xenophobia to non-Shanghainese, or the increasing pressure to buy an apartment in China’s largest economic centre, the burden is enough to cause a man to hunch over with a crooked back. And don’t even think about finding romantic love – most men in Shanghai don’t dare imagine finding a wife in Shanghai unless they already have a totally kush job. The pressures that they are supposed to endure are not inferior to those felt by Sun Wukong when he was defeated by Rulai Buddha and trapped under the Wuzhi Mountains (A reference to a story about the Monkey King from “Journey to the West”).
2) Beijing: The Gap Between the Rich and Poor
If, during the 2008 Olympics, it looked as if Beijingers were all super happy and incredibly proud of their city, this was mostly just for show. In reality, the sharp divide between the rich and poor in Beijing has left few people feeling proud. Beijing locals (going many generations back), along with high-ranking government officials and high-tech talent share Beijing’s "city centre", while artists, celebrities and entrepreneurs dominate the nicest suburban districts (seen Shunyi lately?). But as wealthy are continuing to crowd in to Beijing, housing costs are becoming astronomical. The poor, if they are lucky will live in the city in a (dilapidated) house owned by their family for many generations. If they are unlucky, they will have to move in to a (dilapidated) house far out of the city centre.
3) Guangzhou: Drifting Aimlessly About
Although you might not expect Guangzhou to be ranked so high up on this list, in reality, its situation is quite similar to Beijing’s. That is to say that the rich-poor gap here is pretty huge. If you subtracted the foreigners living in Guangzhou, and the migrant workers that have come to Guangzhou from other parts of Guangdong Province, most of the remaining Guangzhou population is wealthy to the point of being out of touch with reality. For a man living here, even if you have a pretty high salary, you still must feed the high cost of housing, and also deal with ever worsening population and traffic problems to boot! Some people joke about imposing an “over-population fee” (to keep people out) considering every day, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers wander about Guangzhou looking for odd jobs. For 60% of the men in this city, they are filled with one goal in life: make money and return home.
4) Shenzhen: Skyrocketing Housing Costs
They reason that Shenzhen is so high up on the list is because of the city's incredibly fast pace. In Shenzhen, which was at the forefront of the 1980s opening policy, you will very rarely ever see your next-door neighbours because everyone is always at work, in the car, or sleeping (or in a hurry to do one of these three things). There may be more women than men in Shenzhen, but the men still believe that emptiness and pressure are their best friends. When one square metre of housing cost 40,000 - 50,000 RMB, (and all women think about when looking for a man is owning a house) even the strongest romantic desire towards a woman won’t be enough to make up for the man’s inability to buy a house. So the pressure that men feel here comes from loneliness, which is caused by the increasingly spindling housing costs.
5) Chongqing: Where Did All the Meinu Go?
After Chongqing was split from Sichuan Province and turned into a municipality directly governed by the central government, its non-native population jumped, causing competitive pressure, as well as life pressure in the city to become unprecedentedly tense. Everyone loves talking about how Chongqing has the hottest girls (meinu 美女), but men who actually live in Chongqing know that this is a bold-faced lie. Sure, these Chinese beauties are born in Chongqing, but they immediately get “snatched up” by wealthy men from other cities. Sure there are still women to choose from in Chongqing, but the ones who stay there, are not so deserving of the meinu title.
6) Wuhan: Too Much Talent
Men in the fields of science and engineering swarm to Wuhan, which is one of the most developed high-tech regions in China, and is home to many of its famous universities. This has caused a huge disparity in the ratio of men and women in the city. Even worse, as it is located on the banks of the Yangtze River, land prices are naturally expensive.
7) Tianjin: Housing Costs and Pollution
In the last few years housing costs have soared in Tianjin. In Hedong District, apartments all cost around 8,000 RMB per square metre. In other places it’s even higher. Meanwhile, the average white-collar worker in Tianjin only makes about 3,000 RMB a month. And as Tianjin continues to develop, one thing is certain: housing costs will keep going up.
But also, in Tianjin’s older districts, pollution is a serious concern. Men who must endure expensive housing here cannot even effectively protect their own health. Oh the humanity!
8) Hong Kong: Various
Why put Hong Kong so far down the list? Because for all of the pressures that Hong Kong men deal with, they also get to live in Hong Kong, which is pretty awesome. But if they were willing to, moving inland to a second tier city in southern China could reduce their pressure by 10 points.
9) Taipei: Reputation and Geo-politics
The pressure that Taiwanese men have does not come from housing costs or salary woes, but rather they are terrified that if they don’t get into a good school and find a good job, that society will look down on them. Further, stress from the scary military implications of the geo-political standoff between the US and Mainland China in the Taiwan Straits, is mounting over them; if by chance a conflict occurs, they will be the ones caught in the cross-fire.
10) Changsha: The Curse of ‘Super Girl’
The TV show "Super Girl" first made people take notice Changsha, and while it is now known as one of China’s premier “entertainment” destinations, housing costs have continued to creep up in the background. Men in Changsha certainly noticed.
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Keywords: Pressure in China stress in China low salaries in China high housing costs in China cities with most pressure China
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