Cecil Chao is a Chinese Billionaire from Hong Kong with a net worth of over $2 billion dollars, who made his fortune in the real estate industry. He owns a large majority of Cheuk Nang Holdings Ltd, a real estate conglomerate that focuses heavily on the development of luxury high rises and trophy properties in Hong Kong.
He is a charismatic man that has appeared in the limelight a few times for his extravagant statements. Not too long ago, he appeared in headlines for boasting that he has bedded at least 10,000 women; which we are quite sure is very much true considering the charisma, wealth and power he holds. After all, power attracts.
Quite recently, Cecil stole the limelight once again after he publicly offered to pay HKD$1bn (£80million) in dowry to any man who could ‘straighten’ his gay daughter and marry her.
Gigi Chao, 34, initially laughed off her father’s scheme to find a man to marry her, but has now gone public with her plea for him to understand that her sexual preference was not something she chose, and even told him that if sexual preference could be altered and chosen, he should lead by example.
Yes, that’s right. Shots were fired.
She told her father that she would marry a man if he did the same.
“I don’t think my dad’s offering of any amount of money would be able to attract a man I would find attractive,” Chao explained in an interview with the South China Morning Post. “
Earlier this month, Cecil Chao remained adamant and insisted that his daughter was ‘still single’, despite the fact that she married her partner, Sean Eav, officially in France three years ago.
In the letter published by South China Morning Post, Ms Chao reaches out to her father, asking for him to come to terms with the fact that she is gay.
In the letter, which starts with ‘Dear Daddy’, Ms Chao explains that although her love for him has not changed, the time has come for her father to accept her sexual orientation and her partner, Sean Eav, whom she has been with for nine years.
Ms Chao married her partner, Sean, who she had been dating for 7 years, in a church ceremony in Paris in early 2012, but it was not until news of their union was printed in the Hong Kong tabloids that her father promised the million HKD fortune to any potential male suitor that could ‘straighten’ his daughter out and walk Gigi down the aisle.
Cecil Chao had initially found out about the wedding after being told personally by his daughter, but didn’t take the news quite as well as she hoped he would. He implored her to keep the wedding a secret. When the plea for a man for Gigi spread over the world, the offers came pouring in.
‘War veterans from the US, someone from Ethiopia, from Istanbul, South America, Portugal, really just from all over the world,’ Ms Chao said.
One American suitor wrote: “I’m interested in the offer. I am a male person, who also happens to be gay,”
Ms Chao, an executive director at her father’s property development company, part-time pilot, and founder of anti-poverty charity Faith in Love Foundation, has maintained throughout her father’s persistent quest that she knows he is only doing it out of love and concern.
‘I understand that he loves me, it’s just he’s from another time and it’s difficult for him to understand the plight of the LGBT.’
‘At the office it’s business as usual. At family gatherings we hug and dance. And we just agree to disagree on what marriage is and family is.’
GIGI CHAO’S LETTER TO HER FATHER
I thought the timing was right for us to have a candid conversation.
You are one of the most mentally astute, energetic yet well-mannered and hard-working people this humble earth has ever known.
Your confidence, quick wit, and charisma brighten any room you enter.
I love you very much, and I think I can speak for my brothers also, that we have the utmost respect for you as a father and role model in business.
I am sorry that people have been saying insensitive things about you lately. The truth is, they don’t understand that I will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests. And we both don’t care if anybody else understands.
As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent.
I am responsible for some of this misplaced expectation, because I must have misled you to hope there were other options for me. You know I’ve had male lovers in the past, and I’ve had happy, albeit short-lived, relationships. I found myself temporarily happy, buoyed by the freshness, the attention, the interest, of someone physically stronger than myself.
But it was always short-lived, as I quickly lost patience, and felt an indescribable discomfort in their presence. It usually made me frustrated, and I would yearn for my freedom again. I’ve broken a few hearts, hearts of good, honest and loving men, and I’m sorry that it had to be so.
But with Sean, a woman, somehow it was different. I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. I know it’s difficult for you to understand how I could feel romantically attracted to a woman; I suppose I can’t really explain it either. It just happens, peacefully and gently, and after so many years, we still love each other very much.
My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too.
However, I do love my partner Sean, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl. She is a large part of my life, and I am a better person because of her.
Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.
I understand it is difficult for you to understand, let alone accept this truth.
I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who I am, what is important in my life, who I love and how best to live life, as an expression of all these questions. I am proud of my life, and I would not choose to live it any other way (except also figuring out how to be gentler on the planet).
I’m sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong.
There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me.
Wishing you happiness.
Your daughter, Gigi.
Ms Chao has allegedly turned down over 20,000 suitors since her father’s statement.
So what do you think?
Are you up to the challenge?
That’s a lot of money. (RM532,000,000)