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时间:2010/04/19 21:16:30来源:未知 作者:86zhaokao.cn 点击:
In a sleek uptown nightclub, the queen is holding court. At her dinner table, men hang on her every word, and women echo her pearly laugh as she raises a wine glass in a toast。 在台湾一个时髦光鲜的夜店里,女王正在主持晚宴。餐桌旁,男人们

In a sleek uptown nightclub, the queen is holding court. At her dinner table, men hang on her every word, and women echo her pearly laugh as she raises a wine glass in a toast。


  Tonight's dinner is limited to 50 paying guests, most of them female, attractive and single. This is the demographic that can't get enough of the queen -- born Chen Yi-li, though she refashioned herself as 'Illy' after the Italian coffee brand. Her sassy tales of righteous freedom, which have been spun into three books and inspired a TV soap opera, make her an icon of sorts for Taiwan's young female 'singletons,' who see marriage and motherhood as a straitjacket。


  With one of the world's lowest birth rates, Taiwan faces the prospect of a rapidly aging population without a young workforce to support it. The government is scrambling for solutions, with experts pushing measures such as workplace day care, tax breaks for parents and generous maternity leave. But for a generation of Taiwanese women who embraced higher education (more women than men have college degrees) and demanding careers, the age-old stigma of being unmarried has given way to a celebration of single life that government incentives won't easily overturn。


  Government officials also are playing the patriotism card, proposing that children should be seen as a 'public asset.' Peter Hu, director of the National Immigration Agency, says parents create children not just for themselves, but for Taiwan. Such rhetoric seems unlikely to sway Taiwanese weighing the pros and cons of parenting. What's more, those college-educated women who do marry now don't do so until they're 32 on average, meaning their biological window to reproduce is relatively short. (By comparison, the average marrying age in Japan for women of all educational levels was 28.5 as of 2008.)

  政府官员还在打爱国主义牌,提倡把孩子视为“公共财产”。台湾内政部入出国及移民署(National Immigration Agency)代理副署长胡景富说,父母生孩子不光是为自己,还是为台湾;但这种花言巧语似乎很难在台湾人权衡是否生孩子的问题时成为一种砝码。此外,有大学学历的台湾女性的平均结婚年龄为32岁,也就是说她们的生育适龄期相对缩短。(相比之下,截止到2008年,有大学学历的日本女性的平均结婚年龄为28.5岁。)

  Some unattached female 30-somethings refer to themselves, half-joking, as 'loser dogs,' after a 2004 Japanese book on the same phenomenon in that country. In Taiwan, their spending power hasn't gone unnoticed: A real-estate company recently advertised a small, ritzy apartment as ideal for 'loser dogs.' This economic muscle is part of what gives women the freedom to embrace the single life。


  'Women now have choices,' says Violeta Zhang, a 33-year-old accountant who says she plans to stay single. 'I can hang out with you, but I'm not bound to you. That's a choice.'


  Family and friends often see the lifestyle as a phase and expect the singletons to settle down, and many singletons do insist they're not opposed to marriage, just determined not to commit until they find the right partner -- one who respects their independence and shares their life goals. Presumably that means not expecting a wife to stay home and put up with a meddling mother-in-law。


  "Men have to change," says Lan Pei-chia, a sociologist at National Taiwan University。


  'I'm selfish. Most single women are selfish,' says Jiang Chun-mei, a 43-year-old English teacher。


  In her 20s, Ms. Jiang had a steady Taiwanese boyfriend, but was put off marriage by the prospect of moving in with his family and becoming 'one more chopstick' at the table. After seven years she broke it off. (Her former boyfriend married another woman within a year; the couple now has two children。)


  Today Ms. Jiang dates only foreign men who don't want to tie her down. Her circle of friends includes both single and married women. She jokes with her single friends that their future will be a Taiwanese version of the 'Golden Girls,' an American TV show about four female retirees living together in Florida. 'It's just my lifestyle,' she says. 'It's natural, quite comfortable.'

  现在,江春梅只跟不想把她拴在身边的外国男人约会。她的朋友圈既有单身女性,也有已婚女性。她和自己的单身朋友开玩笑说,她们的未来将是台湾版的《黄金女郎》(Golden Girls),这是一部讲述四个女性退休后一起住在佛罗里达的美剧。“这就是我想要的生活方式,”她说,“这很自然,也很舒服。”

  Last year, Ms. Jiang took a month off to visit France, staying with friends. Ms. Zhang, the accountant, can't get enough of Spain and is fluent in the language. For Ms. Chen, the singleton guru, the hot destination is Bangkok. She recently wrote a Bangkok guidebook, spliced with photos of her shopping for clothes and eating her way around town。


  Ms. Chen's career as a professional singleton began in 2004; a cosmetics-company employee living at home with her family, she launched a blog, www.wretch.cc/blog/illyqueen. (Her royal title was inspired by friends' remarks that she had a regal air。) In 2007 her first book, 'I Am Queen' sold 100,000 copies, and now she's a full-time writer and celebrity, dispensing advice on modern relationships via her blog and at paid lectures。


  At the nightclub dinner, sponsored by a make-up brand, Ms. Chen, wearing a stretched black-and-white striped sweater over a pair of purple stockings, hands out prizes, gives effusive speeches and poses for pictures with guests, mostly avid readers of her blog。


  Strictly speaking, Ms. Chen, 30, is no longer a singleton. She's in a relationship that's lasted two years, and is even thinking of marrying her boyfriend -- though she's not sure she wants children, particularly if they might get in the way of her career。


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