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Does the ‘Kai Shao’ dating setup still work?

In China, in the year 402-202 B.C., marriages were arranged and both future companions had no say, regardless of their young age. Parents would usually consult with a matchmaker, who would then travel to different households to scout for a suitable man for their client’s daughter. After describing the attributes of the woman to the man’s family, they would send a letter, indicating their approval for their children’s marriage. Once that happened, a marriage would then be announced. 

An unknown matchmaker once stated that “marriage is for the parents, the society, and future generations. It is not about happiness or love.” This could shed light on a different perspective as to why there are arranged marriages — some can be beneficial for both families involved. 

However, over time, arranged marriages slowly waned, and eventually, Kai Shao (介紹) has become a thing among Chinoy families. Although Kai Shao’s date of origin is unclear, it has been present in the Chinese-Filipino culture for a long time. It literally means to introduce a single lady to a single man. It could also be done the other way around. 

The idea of Kai Shao was originally taken from certain aspects of arranged marriages, such as introducing two potential partners, exploring ideal characteristics, and the matchmaking task as the “responsibility” of the parents. And thanks to the ever-growing progress of technology, scouting for presentability, family background, and social status of a prospective spouse is not that difficult at all!

Kai Shao is different from the ancient arranged marriages in that it isn’t forced nor considered a necessity. Both individuals may opt to stay as friends and look for another suitable partner. 

A prospective couple are usually introduced by parents or older family members. However, they can also be introduced by mutual friends. Comparing Kai Shao with an arranged marriage, we can observe that Kai Shao has no pressure at all and allows one the freedom to explore and decide on his/her own.

With these in mind, Chinoy TV interviewed three individuals to share their thoughts about their Kai Shao experience:


Case 1: “Kai Shao works for some, but not for everybody.”

A 19-year old female respondent believes that Kai Shao is a traditional way to find a potential partner. The thought of it crossed her mind without actually realizing it, as she strongly believes that it could also be as “simple as introducing a new person to you.”

She stated that her friends were the ones who introduced her to prospective partners, which took place at social gatherings and the like. Her most recent Kai Shao experience took place in a virtual environment, and she did not think that it would start off romantically, as she would typically be the one to start things on a friendship level.

She said she does not personally put too much thought into her love life as of the moment. This is because of her major responsibilities, such as her studies and work that require her undivided time and effort. However, if given the chance, she would prefer to meet someone in real life, rather than on a virtual platform as it can “often mislead and maybe create illusions of an actual relationship.” Currently, her Kai Shao experiences have not worked out, yet they remained acquaintances. She believes that “it works for some people, but it’s just not meant for everybody.”


Case 2: “Kai Shao actually works.”

Our second female interviewee views Kai Shao as something negative since her parents were forcing her to meet certain guys. However, she did ponder it at some point since she rarely goes out to socialize with her friends and new people.

Eventually, her mom and a family friend set up a date to introduce her to a potential partner, and it took place in Banawe in Quezon City. For her, meeting someone physically is a huge factor that ultimately contributes to your final answer, therefore the choice to get engaged with a person is a big decision.

Fortunately, when they were introduced, she found great potential with regards to their blooming relationship, which therefore led to a positive experience. She then realized that Kai Shao actually works, since she is now happily married to her husband! 


Case 3: “Kai Shao is desperate yet exciting!”

The final interviewee, a 19-year old male, sees Kai Shao as something that is ironically “desperate yet exciting.” However, he considers it as his last resort when circumstances do not go as planned. He has quite a few Kai Shao experiences, and various involvements took place in person and online.

He recalled that his friends would randomly drag him around to meet a girl and the tension was certainly awkward, but they had a good conversation later on. One time, a friend virtually introduced a girl to him and advised him to slide into her DMs, which he did, and had a positive interaction with her. They simply ended up as good friends.

Though it was a somewhat positive experience, he said he still prefers to meet his future partner face to face. He said this is so “you get to see the person head-on and who knows, maybe even experience love at first sight.” Overall, in spite of having a “bad record” when it comes to his experience, he believes that it still works, given that his parents, who met through Kai Shao, are currently happily married.


So, do you think Kai Shao works?

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