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Love letters are lost in digital era

By  Cheng Lu and Liu Xin (China Daily)

17:03, August 23, 2012

Students at Nanjing Forestry University in Jiangsu province read handwritten love poems that have three lines and 60 characters. (China Daily/Wang Xin)

As surely as instant messaging is now the language of love, snail mail is not.

However, when Dong Xiyu, a 26-year-old financial advisor at China International Trust and Investment Corporation received a traditional love letter from a girl who had a crush on him at middle school, he was so overwhelmed he could not reject her.

"Her delicate feelings and burning love poured out from the letter," Dong recalls.

They began dating soon after and were together for about six years before their relationship ended.

Dong now has another girlfriend and they prefer to express themselves in e-mails, SMSs and on micro blogs. Like most people.

"Very few people of my age are patient," Dong says. "Love or hate, you want your partner to know right away. And at the same time you want to know what her response will be right away as well. We just cannot wait that long."

"I would probably be considered pretentious if I wrote love letters to my significant other."

Dong adds that many youngsters also like to speed up the dating game by sharing photos online.

"If the photos are acceptable they can start dating," he says. "If not, they can stop and search for someone else without losing any time."

Zhang Rulun, philosophy professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, understands this type of thinking and believes people may be subconsciously affected by "fast food culture," which values instant results and gratification.

Many young Chinese, though, have found ways to add romantic twists to their modern communication methods.

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