Okay, forgive the rather offensive title of this node, but I feel fairly ticked off about this whole issue, and that is the best term I could think of to describe it.

All over Asia, all these 60 year old American, Australian and British men always seem to have young, 20 year old girlfriends. I'm thinking, the closest those people will ever get to women that young back at home is at a brothel. Here, in Asia, they're everywhere. Go downtown in the weekend. You can't miss them. Fat, hairy old men with one, sometimes two, young, semi-naked young women, perhaps even teenagers, cuddling and doing all sorts of things that make me want to throw up.

Is it love? Highly unlikely. I know some of these women. They're doing this for a foreign passport. Apparently, they think it is worth going through all that self-debasement, a dysfunctional "marriage" and the inevitable divorce to get a little booklet saying something other than China on the cover. It disgusts me, what these women (and sometimes men, don't get me wrong now) are doing for an uncertain future in an alien country.

These relationships very often end up in violence. The women gets her passport and moves to America, or England, or whatever, then tries promptly to divorce. The man, deprived of sex, becomes very angry and proceeds to beat the beejesus out of the woman. The courts are usually not too sympathetic. This has happened too many times, and yet, the people here seem to be willing to go through the risk.

I don't know. Perhaps it's jealousy. Here I am, a 19 year-old Chinese guy, watching a good looking 19 year-old Chinese girl go off with a man three times my age because he has the ability to smuggle her out of China.

Wait a second. I have plenty of passports! Next time I go out clubbing, I'll hang my Australian, Canadian and American documentation around my neck and see if more girls proposition me. That'd be great if it worked. Maybe I should pretend I can't speak Chinese as well.....

Hello, I'm a foreigner. Come to Daddy!*

* - The ultimate expatriate pickup line


Segnbora-t: Yeah, I know what a trophy wife is, and I have certainly heard of Anna Nicole Smith. In America, it is for money. Here, it's for a passport. Same deal.

"All over Asia, all these 60 year old American, Australian and British men always seem to have young, 20 year old girlfriends. I'm thinking, the closest those people will ever get to women that young back at home is at a brothel. "

No country is free from women who will seek out men who can give them money or whatever else they might want. I take it you've never heard the term "trophy wife," and the complaints of middle-aged (or not even that old) American women who've been divorced by their same-aged husband so he can be with someone younger and prettier? And there are people like Anna Nicole Smith, former Playboy model, who at 27 married an 89-year-old multimillionaire who had had married twice before she was even born (and when he died, his heirs claimed in court that he couldn't have been in full possession of his senses when he married.) Maybe she didn't marry for money, but the idea is common enough that many assumed she did.

I don't approve of that behavior either, but you can't say it's only characteristic of people outside richer countries.

In Singapore, they are called "Sarong Party Girls" (SPG's), because before the advent of manufactured clothing these women were often too poor to wear anything other than a sarong, which offered easy access to the lascivious white rajahs wishing to find purchase.

I understand your angst, DMan, but could you please spare a bit of empathy? We all try to find love for our own reasons. If there is such a thing as "true love" it is an ideal to strive for - at least in my life. Perhaps this dream is too out of reach for others. Marrying an older white man may be the easiest or only way out of China for many of your acquaintances, and maybe that, more than love, is what they want most in their life. Who are we to say? Why is marrying for money or passports still an act worthy of contrition, when a third (or whatever) of marriages end in divorce anyway?

And, by the way, not all of these couples get divorced. Some raise happy families with a much better existence (education, housing, medical care) than they could have otherwise dreamed of. This is why brown women continue to be courted by older white men. Another fact is that the men in their own cultures may not treat them so hot either: Asian wives are often forbidden from working outside the home; neither do white men have a monopoly on domestic violence or divorce.

Perhaps you should be ranting about the white MEN who take advantage of young, naive women. You could talk about the married ones who take girlfriends, and lie about their wives and children back home. Talk about how these guys like SPGs because they are supposedly more compliant, thinner, tighter. Don't rag on us females.

I remember sitting at the iron picnic tables outside the Portman in Shanghai, waiting for my friends to come out of the supermarket and seeing all these old lao wai with their young wives, and even though I know that it's none of my business, and even though I believe that people can choose who they marry and I am happy for them- STILL, for some strange reason, I was totally enraged and am every time that I encounter couples such as these and even now as I am writing this my fingers are shaking with rage on the keys, thinking about it makes me so mad...

Why is this so? Why do I get mad when I go to bars and see fat old guys in suits dancing to '80's music with young girls. Going to some expat bars in Shanghai can be really revolting. I remember one night going to an expat bar with two of my (female)overseas Chinese friends. Before we even got into the bar, the foreigners outside on the street are whistling at my friends and trying to pick them up. My friend surprised them by yelling out loudly "fuck you, pervert!" and they, embarrassed, went to find some more amiable company. Once we got in the bar, my friends purposely spoke English loudly so that they wouldn't be confused with the "waitresses".

This is all slowly changing- there are a lot more young people from other countries going to China these days, people who know about the language and the culture to a far greater extent than their counterparts in previous generations. You have to remember that in the old days (25 years ago) there was little contact between China and the rest of the world. I have friends who are married to Americans and Canadians not because of a passport but because of LOVE and that to me is a big advance. You have to remember that even today, outside of places like Beijing Shanghai and Guangzhou, China still is still largely an underdeveloped third world country and will take some time to become modern, still give people credit, there are big advances all the time and I think that eventually once the country becomes modernized, the "Passport Whore" will be largely a thing of the past.

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