The terrible sound of fed wedding bells

By Hannah Leung Source:Global Times Published: 2012-5-8 20:10:03

Every few days or so, when the news gets slow, web users find the time to get riled up by pictures of the outlandish activities of the fu er dai, or second-generation rich.

The most recent trend for these "feds," a word my friends and I have off-handedly coined, is staging absurdly expensive theatrical weddings. As lewd and cringe-worthy these monumental events are, they make perfect sense.

The feds have embraced Western practices but raised the volume a thousand notches, recreating them to form the most kitschy, ostentatious events ever.

The most recent fed wedding frenzy in Beijing occurred last Sunday, when a couple booked a chopper to transport them from a club near the East Fourth Ring Road to the Bird's nest.

The trajectory of these weddings has literally taken off, up and beyond, into the sky. The innovative idea most filthy rich Chinese have, the operative word being filthy, is to do everything in their power to show what they are made of. What better chance than a wedding? This weaves nicely with the traditional notions of a wedding banquet in China, which has always been a venue to display wealth and influence.

There is also the wedding car procession, which has been reinterpreted to mean a lineup of dozens of limousines of the Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Hummer, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce variety. It puts even the royal wedding to shame, although it does highlight what a classy affair looks like.

The first thing that comes to mind is the annoying traffic this sort of procession would create. Thus I fully support all future renditions of the helicopter method. In fact, take all of the guests for a joy ride. It's not like anyone cares about their carbon footprint or being sustainable, so if a couple wants to fly in a helicopter for a mile or two, let it be.

I don't care how some rich kid spends his dad's money, because it is usually entertaining. A coal mine owner in Shanxi province, northern China, reportedly spent 70 million yuan (US$11 million) on a wedding ceremony for his daughter this year. Many celebrities attended the wedding, including Jay Chou, which I'm jealous about.

I do care about how this wedding fund was acquired in the first place.  There's a slim chance that mass amounts of money, enough to pay for Jay Chou say, is acquired through kindly Samaritan gestures.

I've only had the pleasure of attending a handful of weddings in China. "Understated" would probably be the last word I would use to describe them. The wedding I attended in Qingdao last year staged a mock Backstreet Boys performance. I wasn't sure what my reaction should be, and was equally confused why pop music from the late 1990s was so appealing, so I focused instead on singing along. I was also served sea cucumbers. Judging from the sudden delight of other guests at the table, I assum my meal cost more than my gift (a red envelop) to the happy couple.

Posted in: Viewpoint, Twocents-Opinion

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