Wanted: fake partner to impress family at Hong Kong Lunar New Year gatherings

Single Hongkongers advertise for a fake boy or girlfriend to bring home to impress the relatives

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 February, 2016, 12:18am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 February, 2016, 11:58am

Family gatherings and the pressures they bring are at the very heart of Lunar New Year celebrations, but as the Year of the Monkey nears, Hong Kong’s growing population of single people are going to extreme lengths to avoid the question they dread the most.

Rather than face the excruciating inquisition about the state of their love-life, single people of both genders are hiring fake partners to see them through the festivities.

READ MORE: Hong Kong fair vendors bet on Lunar New Year monkey business to turn a profit

About 10 advertisements in Jobdoh, a smartphone application which connects casual workers and employers, are offering HK$250 for an hour of acting.

“The response is better than I expected,” the application’s co-founder Xania Wong said. “Quite a lot of people have applied.”

While the prospect of getting paid and eating all the traditional Chinese pastries for free sound like a dream job, it is by no means an easy one.

“You will receive and memorise all the information on who you are, how we met (and) our future plans,” one of the job looking for a fake boyfriend so their family “won’t be on my nerve” says.

“You will act like a gentleman – caring, attentive, no swear words nor smoking allowed.”

Another important advice for the men – keep your hands in your pockets.

“Absolutely no kissing and beyond but hand holding and a hug may be necessary to make it look real,” the job requires. “Ideal if you can play mahjong and can drink a lot.”

Working hours will also be unstable, the job says, as it is hard to imagine how long family gatherings will last.

For those who can afford the time, some singles are even looking for a fake partner to visit their relatives in the mainland.

Those interested need to submit a 30-second video to Jobdoh, explaining why they think they are the most qualified person for the job. Staff from the mobile platform will look at the video and review the applicants’ rating by employers if they have used the recruitment service before.

“If you can introduce yourself in detail and smile more, you will have a better chance of succeeding,” she added.

All of these jobs have been verified by Jobdoh. It has become popular for mainlanders to look for fake partners for the Lunar New year on the internet over the past few years.

Dr Lau Yuk-king of the Chinese University’s Department of Social Work said Hong Kong women find it difficult to look for a suitable partner because they still want someone who is better educated than them and make more money than they do.

“But the problem is that, these days, it is common for women to be better off than the men,” she said. It was the same story for the men in Hong Kong, who still hold the traditional belief that they are supposed to make more money than their other half.