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Thousands seek that special someone in Shanghai

SHANGHAI: The odds favored the men as thousands gathered to look for love in Shanghai at the eastern Chinese city’s largest-ever matchmaking party, paying for the privilege of searching for their other half.

Census data shows a rise in the percentage of older single women over the last decade, while the percentage of older single men has fallen, according to the China Daily — which experts said might be due to increasingly choosy women unwilling to settle for men with inferior education and living standards.

Organizers said there were three women for every two men, with 6,000 tickets sold to single woman and 4,000 to men.

“These days, girls are much more self-sufficient and independent,” said Zhou Juemin, president of the Shanghai Matchmaking Association, which organized the two-day event at the weekend.

“Also, there’s a lot of work pressure in society nowadays, so many girls are busy with their jobs and perhaps tend to consider career advancement above marriage — so some of them are no longer young.”

Long queues of singles waited for their turn for five-minute chats with the opposite sex in the ultimate blind-date event.

“If your standard of living is lower than mine in every aspect, but if we can relate well to each other, I wouldn’t mind — because if we relate well, there would be good chemistry,” said 27-year-old Zue Tianwei.

“Then the issues of social order would no longer be a problem. I guess it depends on how strong my feelings are.”

Many men, for their part, said they were willing to shrug off traditional thinking that once made marrying a woman of higher educational and living standards unacceptable.

“Regarding girls who have a higher education level or standard of living, I wouldn’t mind pursuing them because this is a two-way thing,” said Li Jianxun, a 27-year-old native of central China who has lived in Shanghai for two years.

“As long as the feelings are mutual, it is still possible to interact and get to know each other.”

Hopefuls from nearby provinces travelled to Shanghai to take part, among them some who had already married and divorced.

A few, bolder than others, held up signs to distinguish themselves from the crowd. One said, “I wanted to fall in love early, but it’s already late.”

Around 3,000 parents also tagged along, with Organizers allocating a special corner for them to advertise information on their unmarried children. Some kept an eye out for suitable future in-laws.

Qi Xiong, who helped his son by taking pictures to keep track of potential matches, said he still felt that men should not look for wives with higher social status than themselves.

“Generally speaking, if you are a girl and your education level or income is too high, we’re more likely to oppose it,” he said, noting that a simple university degree was sufficient.

“A huge difference in education levels would make it difficult to communicate. If both parties begin at the same starting line, and want to achieve success in the future, they can work at it together.”

Mike Perham has become the youngest person ever to sail round the world

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Mike Perham has become the youngest person ever to sail round the world

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Mike Perham has become the youngest person ever to sail round the world.

Michael Perham

Michael Perham (born 16 March 1992[2] in Hertfordshire, England) is a boy from Potters Bar who, at the age of 17 years and 164 days, became the youngest person to sail around the world solo in the 50ft racing yacht totallymoney.com, completing his journey on August 27, 2009. Perham’s record surpassed that of Zac Sunderland, an older 17 year old American, set only six weeks earlier.

Previously, Perham had crossed the Atlantic Ocean single-handed when he helmed the 29 foot (9 metres) Cheeky Monkey between Gibraltar and Antigua with repair stops in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde between 18 November 2006 and 3 January 2007. That voyage ended when he sailed into Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua at 14:00 GMT after a 3500-mile voyage. His father crossed the Atlantic at the same time in a separate boat.

Perham took the Guinness World Record from Seb Clover who crossed when he was 15 in 2003. Perham started sailing at the age of seven.

Perham has recorded his experiences in the Atlantic crossing in a book which is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency but has not yet sold. He also plans to create the Sail Mike Foundation, to encourage young people to take to the water. He is also aiming to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

Global circumnavigation

On 15 November 2008, Perham began his solo non-stop circumnavigation around the world from Gunwharf Quays[1] in Portsmouth, England, in his chartered Open 50 yacht, totallymoney.com (named after the principal sponsors). He had to sell the vessel he used on his previous record attempt to raise money for the new record attempt.

The journey was planned to take four and a half months and to cover some 40,000 km. In fact he completed it on 27 August 2009. Perham was 16 when he began the journey, and turned 17 on 16 March 2009, while crossing the Indian Ocean making him the youngest solo non-stop round-the-world sailor.

If Perham’s trip had gone wholly to plan, he would have been competing for the “unassisted non-stop” record, which is a different record than the assisted sailing record. However, multiple problems with the autopilot required that repairs be made in lengthy stopovers in Lisbon and the Canary Islands; then further stops were made in Cape Town, Hobart and Auckland.

By March 2009 Perham had decided to aim for the record of the youngest solo circumnavigation, though he continued to make a continuous passage without use of his engine. The decision to accept assistance along the way, along with harsh winter conditions, led Perham to elect to transit the Panama Canal rather than sail around Cape Horn.

Money raised from the voyage was to be donated to Save the Children and the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Perham took the record from Zac Sunderland, an American who completed his journey in July 2009 at the age of 17 years, 7 months. However, Sunderland’s record was not recognized by Guinness due to him taking a brief break to fly home to celebrate Christmas with his family.

Perham and Sunderland met unexpectedly in Cape Town, South Africa, in February 2009, along with Minoru Saito, a Japanese sailor who is the oldest person to circumnavigate the world solo.

Laura Dekker, a thirteen year old Dutch girl, also with New Zealand and German passports, plans to circumnavigate within two years, hoping to challenge the record. A Dutch court did hear a case on 24 August 2009 to cease temporarily parental control to stop Laura from attempting to sail off.

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