Steve's China Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Leftover Women

Leftover Women (sheng nu) is a relatively new term here used to describe women in China who are unmarried career women. The age threshold for leftover women fluctuates. It was once 30, but can now mean anywhere from 25 years or older. Being a leftover has its distinct variations in meanings depending on age.

Between the ages of 25 and 27, leftover women are considered “fighters” (sheng dou shi) which means they are still romantic enough to keep looking for true love. Leftover women between the ages of 28 and 31, fall into a different rather unpleasant tier known as the “doomed to be left” (bi sheng ke). This category of woman is said to have little chance of ever catching a husband as their work keeps them too busy to almost not care. For those leftover women who fall within the age group of 32 and 36, there is even less hope of marriage as they remain single in the professional world and are “leftover fighting Buddha” (dou zhan sheng fo). Last but not least in this hierarchy is the category of leftover women 36 and older who are considered “leftover goddesses” (qi tian da sheng).

Leftover women of today tend to be highly educated, highly paid, and highly independent; so they usually have higher standards when looking for a prospective mate.

The lyrics in English...

Warm sunshine, shining on your face
Looking at the young guys all around, every one of them are very girly
Having a house and a car is what women long for
Marrying the right person is the biggest wish

Asking you if you have a car, asking you if you have a house
My mother will also ask you how much savings you have
If you have no car, if you also have no house
Hurry move aside and don't block my way

I also have a car, I also have a house
As well as RMB in the bank
If you guys aren't even as capable as me
Don't depend on me, I'm not your mother

You don't have a car, you don't have a house
Don't expect to get a beauty into bed
Pretending to be poor, you only drive a lousy BMW
Don't pretend you're a rich guy who can keep me as his mistress


You don't have a car, you don't have a house
Yet you still want to get married and be a groom
If your life isn't well off
Why should I accompany you in wandering

You say I am realistic/practical, that I may as well admit
You can call me a gold-digger and I won't feel hurt
A man after all should be like a man
Without a car, without a house, forget about finding a bride

Needless to say, most Chinese guys do not like this video! Hehe

In the 1970s, Chinese people chose a bike, a watch and a sewing machine as the "must have" gifts when married. And in the 1980s things had changed into a refrigerator, a TV set, and a washing machine. Along with the economic development of the last decade, the gifts for marriage have become more expensive, and now many brides-to-be will ask for apartments and cars.


  • Do they understand the two most important words in the whole marriage discussion: pre nup?

    By Anonymous Les, at 11:07 AM  

  • I'm sure they do, but I'm not sure how popular they are here in China. They have a pretty high divorce rate here, but not anywhere near as many lawyers as in the USA.

    By Blogger Steve Harms, at 11:30 AM  

    Hi Steve,

    Hope you are still enjoying pleanty of sunshine & a late beer in Kata


    By Blogger Nanuestalker, at 11:01 AM  

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