Chinese stars fall for S. Korean celebs
MANY Chinese netizens declared themselves heartbroken to learn of popular actress Tang Wei and South Korean director Kim Tae Yong's sudden engagement recently. But the shock of the announcement was soon overshadowed by the news that the two held an impromptu wedding in Sweden.
Tang's agency confirmed that the couple wed at the house of the late Swedish film-maker Ingmar Bergman on remote Faro Island on July 12. According to the agency, as die-hard Bergman fans, the two decided on the spur of the moment to have a private wedding in accordance with local customs to commemorate their pilgrimage to the auteur's home.
The wedding was a special memento that they gave to themselves as cinema professionals. The official wedding ceremony will be held this autumn, with family members present.
"I believe every woman wouldn't miss an opportunity that can change her destiny. If you grasp it, it may change your life," Tang told news portal NetEase, when asked about her marriage. The Chinese movie star is now learning Korean.
Tang, 35, and Kim, 45, met in 2010 when the former starred in the latter's English-language movie, Late Autumn. The movie is about a prisoner released on a 72-hour parole, played by Tang, who meets a South Korean man on the run (played by Hyun Bin) during her visit to her family in Seattle.
The actress is not the only Chinese celebrity to marry a well-known South Korean in the entertainment industry.
Taiwan pop singer Valen Hsu became engaged last year to Choi Jae Sung, who is in senior management at South Korea's top music agency, SM Entertainment. They are planning an intimate wedding in Seoul next month.
South Korean actress Park Chae Rim met Chinese actor Gao Ziqi when they worked together on a Chinese TV series. Gao proposed to her in June and they will get married in October.
The Beijing News reported that Gao says they talk things over when they have a difference of opinion and that he believes men should respect women's opinions and defer to them.
The popularity of South Korean TV series has seen numerous young Chinese women declare themselves as fans of South Korean men.
"I like male South Korean stars because they are handsome, romantic, gentle and have personality," says Jiang Nan, 28. "If I could choose, I would like to marry a South Korean man."
Jiang works in Beijing and has visited South Korea twice, falling in love with the country and its language.
According to AJU Business Daily, more than 150,000 foreigners emigrated to South Korea for marriage at the end of last year, with 85.4 per cent of those moving being women. The Chinese made up the greatest number at 41.4 per cent, followed by the Vietnamese at 26.4 per cent, the Japanese and the Filipinos.
"China and South Korea share many traditional values, such as filial piety and social norms. Couples have fewer cultural conflicts than those who married Westerners," says Fan Xiaoqing, a South Korean movie expert from the School of Television and Film Art at the Communication University of China. She lived in South Korea for five years.
"I'm confident about Tang and Kim's relationship. Kim is a bit like Lee Ang. He is learned and refined, gentle and careful," says Ms Fan, who has met the director.
She says Tang is smart, independent, and knows her own mind, while Kim is like a sponge and can be her strong support. They share a lot in common and can work towards their goals together.
According to Ms Fan, South Koreans like to go with the crowd. If most people think something - ranging from beliefs to cosmetics and trends - or someone is good, they will think so as well.
"Kim's fans accept Tang because Kim likes her and they like Kim," she says.
Ms Fan thinks most South Korean men are family-oriented - most of them pay their salaries directly to the bank accounts of their wives.
Zheng Kaiyue, 29, who married a South Korean, couldn't agree more.
"South Korean men think they should be the breadwinner and wives should take care of the money. Stay-at-home wives shoulder half the responsibility of family and work, so half of the men's salary is deemed to be earned by their wives," says the full-time housewife who lives in the United States.
She says that many South Korean men are "chauvinistic", but the younger generations are more enlightened.
Although most men "do not do housework after marriage", there are exceptions. She says her husband sometimes helps her around the house.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK