PETALING JAYA - Being a single adult doing the Chinese New Year rounds can be tough.
For these young men and women, it is the time when they brace themselves for well-meaning relatives to pop the question: When are you getting married?
Or the joke: Make this the last time I am giving you an ang pow (red packets of money given by married people to children and the unmarried).
Medical student Sarah Tai, 25, said there was nothing she dreaded more than "the question", especially during family reunions or when meeting up with relatives during the festive season.
Although it frustrated her, Tai said she would still answer it truthfully out of respect for her elders.
But while Tai is not buckling under pressure to start dating just to avoid the "annoying" questions, 28-year-old engineer Bruno Fong is already feeling the heat.
"My twin sister recently got hitched and I desperately want to avoid the when-is-your-turn question to the point that I don't want to go back to my parents' hometown," he said.
Meanwhile, across the Causeway, Singaporean singles are already one step ahead of their "curious" relatives.
In the city-state, there is a growing trend of renting fake boyfriends or girlfriends as Chinese New Year dates, just as their counterparts in China have been known to do in recent years.
Pally Asia, an online-based "rent-a-friend" service provider operating in Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok, said it is expecting a surge of requests from singles this Chinese New Year.
"There was an increase of requests during the last Christmas season and the same is expected in the coming weeks," a Pally Asia representative said when contacted.
According to its website, its escorts, aptly called "Pallies", can be booked online starting from S$250 (about RM780) for two hours.
"The most popular package would be the 'Be My Partner' experience, where clients can hire Pallies as their 'boyfriends' or 'girlfriends' to dissuade inquisitive aunties from asking the usual 'how come still single ah?' question," the company said.