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Low-Tech Tinder – Hong Kong Vending Machine Helps Singles Find Dates

低科技版Tinder – 香港自动售货机帮单身汪找男/女朋友

The “Fate Capsule” vending machine outside BT Reptile, a small pet store in Kowloon’s Shek Kip Mei neighborhood, received worldwide attention earlier this year, when word of the original concept went viral online. It’s basically a multi-tiered vending machine with separate compartments for men and women which dispenses colored plastic capsules containing the contact details of singles looking for love. All you have to do is insert HK$20 ($2.5) in coins, and it will spit out a fate capsule with the description and contact information of a prospective date.

“BT爬行动物店”是九龙石硖尾附近的一家小型宠物店,店外放置着一台“算命胶囊”自动售货机。今年早些时候,当这个原创概念的消息在网上传播时,受到了全世界的关注。这基本上是一台多层自动售货机,有男女分开的隔间,分别装有寻找爱情的单身人士联系方式的彩色塑料胶囊。你要做的就是插入20港元硬币(2.5美元),然后它就会吐出一个命运胶囊,里面有你期待的约会的描述和联系信息。



Photo: on.cc

The romantic vending machine was brought to Hong Kong by Ben Tang, the owner of BT Reptile, after originally seeing the same concept become popular in Taiwan. He is also the one who, along with his girlfriend, spends up to five hours vetting people who want their details added into the fate capsules. Such candidates can leave their information – name, age, height, weight, hobbies, and a short self-introduction – in a Google document, the link to which is on his Facebook page, and he will then contact them on WeChat to verify that they are who they claim to be and to make sure “they don’t act too weirdly”.

“BT爬行动物店”的店主叫唐本,他在一开始看到同样的创意在台湾流行后,就将这款浪漫的自动售货机带到了香港。他和他的女朋友一起,花了五个小时,来审查那些人想放入到命运胶囊的关于他们个人的细节情况。这些候选人可以将他们的信息——姓名、年龄、身高、体重、爱好和简短的自我介绍——留在谷歌文档中,而文档的链接就放在他们脸书网的页面上,之后唐就会在微信上联系他们,以验证他们是否如其自称的那样,从而确保“他们不会表现得太过怪异”。

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If dozens of people add you in one day, you will feel nothing but disturbed. But I want them to have enough time to really know each other,” he said. “When people start to use dating apps, the first impression they will probably have is like, ‘wow that’s too much’. There’s really no time to know each person you meet well enough to consider dating.”

他说:“如果一天有几十个人加你好友,你只会感到不安。但我希望他们有足够的时间去真正了解彼此。当人们开始使用约会应用程序时,他们可能会有这样的第一印象,‘哇,太多了’。真的没有时间去了解你遇到的每个人,并足以考虑去约会。”

While the popularity of the Fate Capsule vending machine is undeniable, it also has its share of critics. Several people have taken to Facebook, leaving poor reviews and describing it as a ‘fraud’, arguing that dates either never accepted their friendship request on WeChat or cut off contact abruptly. Obviously, this isn’t something Bent Tang can control and I feel it’s a risk that comes with the territory.

虽然命运胶囊自动售货机的流行是不可否认的,但它也招来了一些批评。一些人在脸书网上留下了糟糕的评论,说它是“欺诈”,声称约会对象要么从未接受他们在微信上加好友的请求,要么就是突然切断了联系。显然,这并不是唐所能控制的问题,我觉得这是社交范围所带来的一些风险。

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While the good old vending machine is unlikely to ever challenge the supremacy of popular online dating apps like Tinder, it’s clear that some people consider the Fate Capsule idea a cute and far more romantic alternative.

虽然这样好的旧自动售货机,不太可能挑战像Tinder这样流行的在线约会应用程序的优势,但是很明显,有些人认为命运胶囊是一个可爱的、浪漫得多的选择。