The strange, contradictory privilege of living in South Korea as a Chinese-Canadian woman

“Excuse me,” the man said in Korean. We were walking by each other inside a crowded shopping mall in Gangnam, an affluent commercial district in Seoul.

I turned around, and he deposited a fancy-looking business card into my hand. “Marry Me,” it said in black loopy letters against the stark white paper.

Startled by the proposal, I took a closer look and realized he was recruiting candidates for one of South Korea’s marriage matchmaking services. Such companies are very popular in...

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