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中國公園里的“黃昏戀”

China’s Seniors, Looking for Love, Head to the Park
中國公園里的“黃昏戀”

BEIJING — Zhao Lin had become accustomed to the single life. But his days and nights were growing lonely, and he decided it was time to find Ms. Right.

北京——趙林已經習慣了單身生活。但是日復一日,他感到越來越孤獨,決定是時候該找個伴了。

That’s how the 78-year-old ended up at the park.

這就是這位78歲的老人來到這座公園的原因。
 

在北京菖蒲河公園涼亭的社交場景。

“I have been looking for more than a year,” said Mr. Zhao, a fixture at one of the dozens of senior singles scenes popping up in public parks around China. So far, he admits, the pickings have been slim.

“找了有一年多了,”趙林說。在中國各地的公園里,冒出很多單身老人相親角,他是其中一個的???。他承認,到目前為止,收獲甚微。

“It’s usually one conversation and that’s it,” said Mr. Zhao, a widower since 1971, in a lament familiar to frustrated singles no matter their age. “There’s no second time. They’ll let you down and there’s no hope. So what’s the point?”

“但是聊一回就完事,”1971年太太去世后一直單身的趙林,像任何年紀的受挫單身人士那樣感嘆道。“那第二回都不會再(有),你就沒有一點希望,有什么意義?”

Three decades of economic growth and social change have transformed attitudes of love and sex among China’s elderly. Increasingly single and assertive, the country’s lonely seniors are on the market.

30年來的經濟增長和社會變革改變了中國老人的愛情觀和性觀念。單身老人越來越多,也越來越自信,這個國家的孤寡老人開始走入婚戀市場。

In Chinese media, the phenomenon has been labeled “twilight love.” Contestants well into their later years now make regular appearances on Chinese dating shows with names like “Peach Blossoms Bloom,” “Exciting Old Friends” and “Holding Hands.” Online chat rooms have emerged for older singles.

在中國的媒體上,這種現象被稱為“黃昏戀”。在中國的相親節目中,如《桃花朵朵開》、《精彩老朋友》和《牽手》,步入晚年的選手頻頻露面。還出現了單身老人的線上聊天室。

But in China, none of those venues holds the same appeal as the local park.

但在中國,這些地方都比不上當地的公園。

In Beijing, the elderly have picked Changpuhe and the Temple of Heaven. The southwestern municipality of Chongqing has a “matchmaking corner” in Hongyadong Park. In the northern city of Xian, elderly residents gather every Wednesday and Saturday at Revolution Park.

在北京,老年人選擇去菖蒲河和天壇。在西南城市重慶的洪崖洞公園有一個“相親角”。在北方城市西安,老年居民每周三和周六聚集在革命公園。

“My American colleagues, when they go to China, they are amazed at how many people are socializing in a park,” said Bei Wu, director of global health and aging research at New York University, who has studied China’s elderly for 30 years.

“當我的美國同事去中國時,他們驚訝于公園里有那么多人在社交,”紐約大學全球健康與老齡化研究負責人吳蓓說。她對中國老年人進行了30年的研究。

“It’s a practical way for a group gathering,” Dr. Wu said. “In the park, you can increase the chance of having successful blind dates.”

“這種聚會方式很實用,”吳蓓說。“在公園里,你可以增加成功相親的機會。”

Demographics is behind it all.

這一切的背后是人口結構。

An aging population means more people are outliving their spouses. The number of widows and widowers totals nearly 48 million, according to a study by the government research group Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The group projects that number will rise to 118.4 million by 2050.

人口老齡化意味著越來越多的人比配偶長壽。根據政府研究機構中國社會科學院的一項研究,寡婦和鰥夫加起來的總數接近4800萬。該機構預計,到2050年,這一數字將增加到1.184億。

And four out of five widows and widowers want to remarry, according to the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China, citing a survey by Chinese Academy of Sciences.

中國的官方報紙《人民日報》援引中國科學院的一項調查顯示,每5名寡婦或鰥夫中有4名愿意再婚。

Others are choosing to leave their spouses. In Beijing, nearly one-third of divorce cases were filed by people aged 60 to 70, according to the Beijing Evening News.

還有人選擇離開配偶。據《北京晚報》報道,在北京,近三分之一的離婚案是由60至70歲的人提出的。

The growing population of elderly singles has public health implications. H.I.V. infection rates are rising among elderly Chinese because many do not practice safe sex, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases among Chinese men aged 60 and older have nearly tripled since 2012, it said.

老年單身人口的增加對公共衛生也產生了影響。根據中國疾病預防控制中心的信息,許多中國老年人未對性行為采取保護措施,導致艾滋病感染率的上升。該機構說,中國60歲及以上男性的感染病例幾乎是2012年的三倍。

In October, the central government announced separate policy measures for the elderly to strengthen AIDS prevention education.

10月,中央政府宣布了單獨針對老年人的政策措施,加強艾滋病的預防教育。

That lack of knowledge is understandable. When China’s elders were young, talking about sex was taboo. People met their prospective spouses through friends or matchmakers. Dating was almost unheard-of.

缺乏知識是可以理解的。中國的老年人在年輕時,性是不能談論的禁忌。人們通過朋友或媒人認識未來的伴侶。約會幾乎是聞所未聞。

In China’s parks, that can make for awkward scenes. On a recent Tuesday in Changpuhe, a strip of greenery next to the Forbidden City, elderly men clustered together, scoping out the women and men milling around like wallflowers. Several of them strolled up and down, waiting to make eye contact with women.

在中國的公園里,這可能會造成尷尬的場面。最近的一個周二,在紫禁城旁邊綠樹成蔭的菖蒲河,老年男性們聚集在一起,仔細觀察像壁花一樣徜徉的男男女女。其中的幾個人走來走去,等待與女性的目光接觸。

An elderly man sat next to a woman in a purple jacket for a few minutes. Then, he leaned in to ask: “How old are you?”

一名老年男性在一位穿紫色外套的女性身旁坐了幾分鐘。然后,他靠近她問:“你多大了?”

“Seventy-two,” she answered in a soft voice. Minutes later, they struck up a conversation.

“72歲,”她輕聲回答。幾分鐘后,他們聊了起來。

Many complained of some unique, only-in-China criteria for finding a mate.

許多人抱怨一些中國特有的擇偶標準。

The widowed were more desirable than the divorced, said some. Less emotional baggage, they explained.

一些人說,喪偶的比離婚的受歡迎。他們解釋說,前者的情感負擔較少。

“Looking For A Soulmate,” read a wrinkled brown sheet of paper stuck on a rock under the trees, one of several ads placed around the park. “Male. Born in 1949. Divorced. No responsibilities.”

“覓知音”,樹下的石頭上一張皺皺巴巴的棕色紙上寫道,公園里還有幾張類似的廣告。“男,49生人,離異無負擔。”

The sign was written by a Mr. Li, whose wish list for a wife was that she be roughly 5 feet tall, weigh between 130 to 150 pounds, be between 50 to 60 years old and have unblemished skin. “No black moles,” it warned.

這是一位李先生寫的,他對妻子的期望是1米5左右,體重在60至70公斤之間,年齡在50至60歲之間,皮膚無暇。上面警告:“皮膚上無黑痣”。

In return, Mr. Li promised to bequeath his 1,100-square-foot apartment to any woman “willing to accompany me till the end of my life.”

作為回報,李先生答應將自己100平方米的公寓留給任何“陪伴我由始至終”的人。

Another advertisement placed by a male suitor pledged a life of travel and a commitment to buy property in the southeast coast of China, the United States and Japan.

另一位男性求婚者的廣告則許諾游山玩水的生活,還承諾在中國東南沿海、美國和日本買房。

Guan Yongnian, an 82-year-old divorced man, sees himself as a catch. He is healthy and successful, a calligraphy expert, a writer and a teacher of tai chi, a gentle form of martial arts popular in China.

82歲的離異男子關永年認為自己的條件不錯。他身體健康、事業有成,是書法家、作家和太極拳老師。太極拳是在中國流行的一種柔和的武術形式。

Mr. Guan said that in the past 30 years, friends have tried to introduce other women to him. He married in his 20s, and has two daughters in their 50s, and a son, who is nearly 60.

關先生說,在過去的30年里,朋友們一直在給他介紹對象。他20多歲結婚,現在兩個女兒年過半百,一個兒子也年近六旬。

Mr. Guan’s list of requirements for his future wife: ideally in her 40s — yes, half his age — hygienic, smart, capable and “not unreasonable.” Other pluses: if she could “bring spiritual relief and happiness.”

關先生有一串擇偶標準:最好是40多歲(是的,年齡是他的一半),講衛生、聰明、能干,而且“不會又不講理”。其他的加分項:如果“能帶來精神的解脫和愉快”就更好了。

But Mr. Guan’s expectations were low. “Nowadays, many people are not hygienic, dress poorly and are not imbued with sophistication and good breeding,” he sniffed.

但關先生并不抱太大希望。“現在這人都不講衛生,穿得很差,很沒內在的修養,”他嗤之以鼻地說。

He had scanned the crowd for close to an hour and was not planning on making the first move.

他四處打量近一個小時,并不打算采取進一步行動。

“I have a problem: When you call me, I don’t call back,” said Mr. Guan, who was dressed in a brown trench coat. “I’m pretty unreasonable. You have to chase me.”

“我有一個毛病,給我打電話,我不帶回的,”身穿棕色風衣的關先生說。“我不講理,你得追我,說白了吧。”

A woman wearing pink lipstick and dressed in a yellow coat lingered in front of Mr. Guan, curious at the sight of him being interviewed.

一個擦著粉紅色口紅、身穿黃色外套的女士在關先生面前逗留,對他接受采訪感到好奇。

“How old are you now? 50s? 60s?” Mr. Guan asked.

“你現在多大了?50多?60多?”關先生問道。

“60s,” she giggled.

“60多,”她笑著說。

“See?” he said. “I guessed right.”

“看見沒?”他說,“我猜對了。”

The woman was Han Shuping. She was actually 52. Divorced, she had been coming to Changpuhe for two years. A man flicked her hair before she playfully swatted him away.

這位女士叫韓書平。她其實52歲。離異,來菖蒲河公園已經兩年了。一個男人輕拂她的頭發,她開玩笑地將他擋開。

“Most of the characters here are pretty bad,” Ms. Han said. “The old men would ask you out for a meal, invite you back to their place and try to get you in bed.”

“大部分人品太差了,”韓女士說。“老頭就立馬就想跟你幾乎都是,就是比如說吃頓飯,或者約你去他家,都想給人帶上床。”

Originally from central Henan Province, Ms. Han said she was honest with prospective suitors, telling them she is from the countryside and has no pension.

韓女士來自中部的河南省,她說她對交往對象很誠實,會告訴他們自己來自農村,沒有退休金。

Ms. Han said she wanted to “find someone who I can chat with and then develop feelings for.”

韓女士說,她想“倆人家聊天去聊天,就是覺得互相喜歡,慢慢產生感情”。

“At this stage, love at first sight is impossible,” she said.

“你說這歲數一見鐘情,我覺得不可能,”她說。

She was pessimistic about her prospects.

她對自己的前景感到悲觀。

“It is very hard to find someone here,” Ms. Han said. “The genuine ones are few and far between.”

“反正就是在這里都不好找,”韓女士說。“真正成的極少極少。”

Mr. Zhao, the 78-year-old widower, agreed. He bemoaned the directness of some of the women.

78歲的鰥夫趙先生對此表示贊同。他感嘆,有些女人太直接。

“They want a house, car and money,” said Mr. Zhao, who was tall, bespectacled and stylishly dressed in a beige pageboy cap. “They ask you directly to change the names in the property deed. It’s the first thing they say. Isn’t that terrifying?”

“要房子、要車、要錢,”趙先生說。他高高的個子,戴著眼鏡和米色的鴨舌帽,打扮得很時髦。“來了就直接你把房本能改了嗎?一見面就先提這個,那真挺可怕的是吧?”

But he still longed for a mate to ward off his loneliness. “It gets miserable,” he said.

但他仍然渴望有個伴來排遣寂寞。“另外挺慘的,”他說。

Mr. Zhao talked about “three treasures in this life” — to have someone know when “you’re cold or warm, in pain or in despair.”

趙先生談到“人活這一世上有三大寶”——“一個是有人知冷知熱,這是一個,有人知你疾苦,有人知你心里難受。”

“If you’ve never experienced these three big treasures, how can you understand what is bliss? What is pain?” Mr. Zhao said. “This is what I’m feeling right now. But I never used to feel like that.”

“這三大寶,你不懂這三大寶,你怎么理解人生什么叫幸福,什么叫痛苦?”趙先生說。“我就現在特別感覺這樣,我原來我沒感覺到。”
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