[Wang Xiaoying/China Daiy]
Facts and fiction tend to mingle, sometimes to such a seamless degree that you never know where one ends and the other start
s. If an outrageous story breaks on April 1 or is reported in Onion, you'll interpret it as a satirical take on a real news event or some social phenomenon. But that is assuming one is familiar with the custom of All Fools Day and the all-satire format, an assumption that should not be taken for granted in this age of globalization.
The biggest piece of news that came out of the just past Spring Festival in the vast expanse of the Middle Kingdom is a story that has the strong aura of a hoax.
It started from a first-person account of someone who claimed to be a woman from Shanghai in her late 20s. No professional journalist seems to have successfully contacted her since she posted her article and photo of her experience of a Lunar New Year's Eve dinner.
I feel uncomfortable with identifying the two protagonists as "Shanghai woman" and "Jiangxi man". I don't know their names either, not even nicknames or fictional ones. Since this is a story of pride and prejudice carried to epic proportions, it is unfair to even label a whole metropolis or province as fronts for the two individuals. So, I'll tone down that association by using S and J, or for the sake of convenience, Sandy and Jay, in my discussion.
Now the story itself: Sandy and Jay have been dating for a year. Her parents, who are middle-class Shanghainese, staunchly oppose the relationship because Jay is from a poor village in Jiangxi province, and though with a regular job in the big city, does not seem to have much prospects for a car or an apartment. But Sandy has not budged. She admits that part of the reason is Jay's good looks.