How much would you pay to make sure your kids turn out the way you want? Expensive school fees? Piano lessons? A gap year helping poor people in exotic climes? Or why not just take The Merchant of Venice approach and offer $60m to any man who will agree to wed your daughter? That’s Hong Kong tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-Tsung’s method. He’s hoping the amount will lure at least one willing suitor into the marriage bed of his daughter Gigi Chao.
The thing is, that bed already has someone in it: Gigi’s long-time girlfriend, Sean Yeung, with whom she reportedly entered a civil partnership in France earlier this year. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognised in Hong Kong, so perhaps her dad is hoping he can just brush the whole silly little thing under the carpet. Or perhaps, like Queen Victoria, he just doesn’t believe lesbianism exists.
Clearly Sze-Tsung is of the old school. But just how old exactly? It’s been a while – at least 400 years? – since anyone offered a dowry of this size, especially for a woman who has made her own choice of partner already.
In Hong Kong law, homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1991. That seems relatively late given the progressive strides of almost all the rest of the world, but one would hope enough time has elapsed since then for everyone there to get their heads around the concept.
Normally, parental disappointment with a child’s choices in life is reserved for when they get a tattoo, grow a nasty little beard or don’t wash often enough. I suppose being a parent is about assuming that you know best. In which case, Sze-Tsung might be justified if he thought his daughter had chosen the wrong partner – but not simply that she has chosen the wrong gender.
He doesn’t seem to show much discernment when it comes to finding her a better one, either. It’s rare that a cash prize of any sort brings the morally pure or the ideologues, even the nice guys, out of the woodwork. Is lesbianism really so awful that the alternative – marrying one’s daughter off to a bounty hunter – is more palatable?
I’m afraid, at this point, the only bounty hunters I can think of are Star Wars’ Boba Fett and the be-mulleted Duane Lee “Dog” Chapman. If I were Gigi, I’d offer a similar amount for either of them to take my dad off my hands.
Riding out the crisis
What recession? After news earlier this week of financier Crispin Odey’s £15 0,000 Palladian-style hen-house comes the £645 rocking horse. No eyes or fuzzy, braidable mane, but a bridle nonetheless, it’s designed by Marc Newson and is just the ticket for the modern minimalist family and their ascetic rugrats. It’s pearly white, by the way, but also wipe clean – so no need to worry about any rogue Alphabetti Spaghetti getting smooshed into it.
Things like this make me wonder where exactly all the financial turbulence is doing its shaking. I was turned away from three packed restaurants the other night, the occupants of which had presumably all been out to buy Newson’s steed that afternoon. Further proof that the economic crisis is just another hobby horse for the rich.