Friday, 24 January 2014

Cecil Chao Ups the Ante

Cecil Chao still thinks Gigi (right) should marry a man, not Sean Eav (left)
Poor Gigi Chao. Her father Cecil Chao Sze-tsung doesn't understand her sexual preferences and that she is married -- to another woman.

Two years ago Cecil announced he would give HK$500 million to the suitor who wins his daughter's heart. But after 20,000 applicants, he was disappointed none of them caught her heart and now he's doubled the "dowry" to HK$1 billion.

"I don't want to interfere with my daughter's private life," he said in an interview on January 20 with Malaysian paper Nanyang Siang Pau. "I only hope for her to have a good marriage and children as well as inherit my business."

He also insisted Gigi was still single and that it wasn't too late to change her thinking because she's only 33.

However she hit back in an interview with a Hong Kong paper. "First of all I'm concerned about his use of the word 'dowry' in an Asian country, as it is well known that dowry deaths are a human rights concern in India, and I don't want people to step backward on hearing this news," she said.

"Secondly, I don't think my dad's offering of any amount of money would be able to attract a man I would find attractive. Alternatively, I would be happy to befriend any man willing to donate huge amounts of money to my charity, Faith in Love, provided they don't mind that I already have a wife. Third and lastly, thank you Daddy, I love you too," she said.

Faith in Love Foundation is a charity Gigi founded that encourages volunteering to alleviate poverty.

Her response to her father doubling the "dowry" was markedly different from her reaction two years ago when she said she was "a really lucky girl to have such a loving daddy, because it's really sweet of him to do something like this as an expression of his fatherly love".

Perhaps she was hoping that the incident would go away and tried to spin it in a light-hearted way, but he also forced her out of the closet -- which she bravely handled.

She has since become an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights and is a founding member of the gay rights group Big Love Alliance along with other celebrities, Denise Ho and Anthony Wong. The alliance works to reduce discrimination against sexual minorities through public education and support networks.

However this latest development in Cecil upping the ante has made Gigi's partner of nine years, Sean Eav, "distraught".

Nevertheless, Gigi is doing her best to take it all in stride. "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 [community]. 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," she said.

When will Cecil Chao come to his senses and realize his daughter isn't going to marry a man any time soon?