stories from the first “singleton lunch”

When the first “Singleton Lunch” was announced on November 1, we received 13 applications for three places. Everyone said that they were excited about the topic and we hope that in future, there will be opportunities for more friends to participate and share their ideas. (For the original article in Chinese, skip to the bottom of the post).

The diners came from different fields and hometowns, so they had different feelings about Shenzhen. In addition to the problems faced by the young people in Seoul, South Korea shared by Chef Kim Do Dam, everyone also actively talked about topics of interest to them. Liu Qi even prepared three topics if the conversation dragged!

【The Meal】

Before we look at what diners are talking about, let’s take a look what the chef fed them with a standard of 5 yuan per person. Chef Kim prepared a simple lunch that was as nutritious as possible. She acknowledged that “single people often eat for the sake of survival rather than for taste.”

The ingredients and cost:

A bottle of pure water: 3 yuan

Mushrooms:  0.8 yuan

Sugar orange (14): 5.8 yuan

Carrot, garlic, onion, 14 eggs: 11.3 yuan

Kelp: 11 yuan

Total meal cost for seven people: 31.9 yuan

【 The Conversation】

During the conversation, everyone had a lot to share, in addition to Chef Kim’s questions:

– Why did you come to Shenzhen? When you first came, what did you feel about Shenzhen?

– What plans do you have for the future? — For example, are you planning to leave Shenzhen? Or want to live in Shenzhen for a lifetime?

– How are your friends in Shenzhen?

– Is city life lonely? How have you learned about relationships in the city and its environments?

Guo Zhengqing, a social worker who once worked in the city of Shangcheng and rents an urban village apartment for 900 yuan a month, is now facing a career transformation. Two months ago, she and her boyfriend went to Nanjing and other cities to see what was possible, but finally decided to return to Shenzhen.

Liu Qi is engaged in education and training to improve her academic qualifications and is eligible for a Shenzhen hukou. She lives in a dormitory room that her company provides. She said that the education and training industry is strong, and that there are jobs elsewhere and not necessarily only in Shenzhen. As an educator she has had opportunities to learn about the problems many families face. In order to solve the problem of urban loneliness, she thinks its necessary for more contact with people in tighter communities. When she saw that Handshake 302 had invited everyone to eat, she decided to share her current situation through this “high contact” activity.

Mo Yifu is a “Shen 2” who is trying to innovate education in the city. He is committed to breaking the traditional education model with creative thinking, leading children to pursue more possibilities, and has no fixed plans for where he will live in the future.  He feels that it may be even more cost-effective to rent a house his whole life.

Mo Yifu said: “Singleton Lunch can not be expected to be meaningful, although it is not impossible to get to know other lonely and interesting souls through this activity. I was attracted to this activity as a way of thinking about how young people understand what it means to be a ‘Shenzhener.’ I think that gathering these ideas will provide a new perspective on Shenzhen and oneself. You may develop empathy from the experience of others and reflect on your own experiences and feelings. We start from the small perspective of an individual and then family entanglements. This emotional narrative is also part of a macro narrative of social justice and our feelings for our homeland. In turn, this ‘meal’ may bring a completely different perspective on life.”

Jiang Houming grew up in Beijing and came to Shenzhen only four months ago to work at an international school in Shenzhen. He once taught in the countryside for three years, and it is a new beginning for him in Shenzhen. He believes that hobbies are a good way to solve the loneliness of urban life. At present he wants to actively learn about Shenzhen.

Liu Mengyuan is currently working as a product manager for intelligent hardware. He noted that “Handshake 302’s Singleton Lunch surprised me. It created a very strange environment, connecting people from different backgrounds, giving me the opportunity to get out of my little world and provided me some space for a different understanding. I heard about others’ experiences, seeing how some people carry their own troubles, but still engaged society with great interest, full of passion, and a willingness to create connections.”

He also said, “The Handshake 302 space is also very interesting. The meal is provided at a standard of 5 yuan per person, and the life of caring for another is changed from discussion to experience. But after the experience, worries and sighs become heavier – people trapped by everyday concerns for food and clothing are unlikely to have a chance to change their difficulties. ”

Finally, two friends from Beijing who were in Shenzhen to film an independent film on the city’s urban villages. One mentioned that when compared to Beijing, she found Shenzhen to be more open and energetic.

As the diners shared their experiences in Shenzhen, they found common ground in uncertainty about the future and the desire for more opportunities.

Chef Kim shared that it was even more difficult for young people in South Korea to find affordable housing. When she was in college, students not only had to rent a single room of about 15 square meters, but to have the right to rent the room, they have to pay a deposit of 10 times the monthly rent. Currently, rent accounts for 1/3 of the salary of young people.

During our first Singleton Lunch, the guests chatted, bringing a positive attitude to future uncertainties. This is in fact what Singleton Lunch wants to explore. [Chinese text by Handshake 302 member, Wu Dan]




【 吃 】


一瓶纯净水 3元

香菇 0.8元

砂糖橘 (14 个) 5.8元

胡萝卜, 大蒜,葱,14个鸡蛋 11.3元

海带 11元


【 聊 】


– 大家怎么来的深圳呢?什么时候来的,对深圳什么感受?

– 大家对将来有什么计划?– 比如说有没有打算离开深圳?或者想住在深圳一辈子?

– 你们在深圳的交友怎么样?

– 城市生活孤独吗?怎么来了解城市的人际关系和环境?

郭政卿 曾经从事社工,住在下水径月租900元的城中村,现在正面临着事业转型。两个月前她与男友到南京和其他城市考察,最后还是决定回到深圳发展。

刘琪 从事教育培训提升学历(可以入深户),住在公司提供的宿舍单间,根据对整个教育培训的观察,哪里形势好将会留在哪里,不一定局限在深圳。最重要的是他通过帮别人“入深户”了解到了很多形形色色的人和故事。而他解决城市孤独的感受是觉得需要烟火气,所以看到握手302邀请大家来吃饭,就决定来这烟火气的活动分享自己的近况。

莫一夫 从事创新教育的“深二代”,致力于用创造性思维来打破传统教育模式,带领孩子们追求更多的可能性,对未来居住地没有固定规划,觉得一辈子租房甚至更划算。


姜厚明 北京出生长大,刚来深圳4个月,就职于深圳的一家国际学校。曾经在乡村支教3年,在深圳对于他来说是一个新的开始,他认为兴趣爱好是排解城市生活孤独的好办法。目前他想更积极地了解深圳。

刘梦源 目前工作智能硬件的产品经理。







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