• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:42pm

Cecil Chao

Born in 1936, Cecil Chao Sze-tsung is a Hong Kong based real estate tycoon and chairman of HK-listed developer Cheuk Nang Holdings. Known for his flamboyant playboy lifestyle, Chao raised eyebrows the world over in September 2012 when he announced a HK$ 500 million bounty to look for a man who could win the heart of his daughter Gigi Chao, who is believed to be lesbian and have married her partner in a civil union overseas. 

NewsHong Kong

Dear Daddy, you must accept I’m a lesbian: Gigi Chao pens plea in open letter to tycoon father

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 January, 2014, 9:48am

Hong Kong socialite Gigi Chao was reluctantly thrown into the spotlight when her tycoon father Cecil Chao Sze-tsung declared his refusal to accept she was a lesbian by issuing a HK$500 million ‘dowry’ to a man that could marry her. Now she has written a poignant open letter to him after he doubled his offer last week.

Despite the fact that Gigi Chao married her partner of nine years, Sean Eav, in a civil ceremony in France in 2012, her property developer father has continued to attract the attention of the world’s media with his bounty. In an interview this month with the Malaysian newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau,  Cecil Chao insisted his daughter was still single, adding that he believed it was not too late to change her thinking because she was only 33.

Previously, Gigi, an executive director at her father’s Cheuk Nang property development company who has made no secret of her sexuality, has laughed off the bid to find her a husband.

However, today she issues a plea to her ‘Daddy’ in an open letter she hopes will finally halt his interference.


Dear Daddy,

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 brightens 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.

Patiently yours,

Your daughter, Gigi.


Watch: Gigi Chao: 'Love shall prevail.'



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This article is now closed to comments

Ms Chao is clearly an intelligent, compassionate and articulate person, who would make any parent proud.
It is despicable that Hong Kong is still so social conservative that even parents cannot accept their child having a loving relationship, just be cause it doesn't fit the social conventions. It is despicable that there's not even a concept of civil union for homosexuals; many of them resort to pairing up gay pairs with lesbian pairs to even get government housing. It is despicable that even to this day, soap operas on TV still champion the concept of "straightening" the gays (I'm looking at you, TVB).
And Hong Kong dreams to be an international metropolis? Ha! When it comes to stuff like this, Hong Kong is 2 steps better than Russia.
PS: SCMP - your automatic filter fails. I'm not calling someone derogatory names, but using the terms hom ose xual and ga ys and les bian for its actual meaning. You might want to consider having humans doing the moderation if this is a concern.
This les_bian is a 1st class opportunist. How did this letter get into the hands of the local newsgroups? Open letter meaning let the drama queen begin ? Mr Tycoon certainly wouldn't leak it out without more backlashes. Seems like she is enjoying this charade to further her gay foundation and using this propaganda to her advantage. I'm beginning to suspect the real victim here is not her. Very cunning, like father like daughter
Moreover, this letter seems more like a PR script more than a heartfelt letter between father and daughter. It sounds too superficial and derivative as these words must have exchanged thousands of times over the years in her rebellion against her dad. This letter made it seem more like a confession for the first time and I smell ulterior motives. Sympathy by being portrayed as being emotionally vulnerable always sells and though I'm no politician but neither am I a sucker. I don't buy it.
My verdict: You reap what you sow. There is no such thing as "by chance" or "natural selection" in layman's terms. Gigi, believe what you believe and leave our next generation alone and stop spreading your propaganda. Remember, you're not in France or UK. As long as you're the minority here you will always be viewed as outcasts. There are sympathizers, but ultimately you are the underdog. To the womanizer, be thankful that your offspring is physically normal, and don't push it. Cut her off your inheritance or set her loose.
The SCMP filters are the worst and totally ham fisted. They pretty much strengthen your point of how socially conservative Hong Kong is.
she is a beautiful lady!!! i think her study in England one of reasons behind her decision
when i look at her eyes, i feel sad for her, but it is her choice
@daily - there's nothing "dirty" about this, Gigi is responding to the public outing her father's actions caused, and her response is dignified, good-humoured and measured.
Coming out is culturally significant for other LGBT ppl, esp. the young, in a sometimes closed, occasionally parochial place like HK. The tone of both yrs and @pangkf's comments shows the importance of her act, and the need for greater EQ education in such matters.
set her free....mr chao...let her decide her karma and as long as she is happy and life fulfilling, dat matter most. now....as far as your 1 billion offer, donate them to the needful and both you and your daughter will be bless for your generosity...
aplucky1: what makes you think that I'm g a y? Just because I think that homophobia is wrong? It's ironic that you're accusing me of being intolerant of other schools of thought when you're the one who started ranting about g a y people! Clearly you don't know anything about them, it shows from your very "intelligent" responses (and that's really what I meant about you needing an education). I'm sorry about your kid, being brought up by such a hateful parent.
What an incredibly intelligent woman Gigi is! Kudos to Gigi for such a poised, classy, and dignified letter and video response! And Congratulations to her and her wife on their marriage in France! May they share long and happy lives together!
Please care about others - your comments is selffish and you have no empathy.
Your comment also is bigoted "she-man'. You are not well educated and it shows.
Love is a many splendour thing. A father and mother's paternal love knows no bounds but the grown up children are individuals of their own, meaning they will live their own life, and if such a life is not the ideal in the eyes of their parents, it is destined. Cecil just need to accept Gigi is a matured adult who should live her own life.
@stagger lee
That's not very eloquent. Am I not entitled to my opinion? Does the word "pervert" have anything to do with what I said? Perhaps my English is sub par so I shall check up Webster for the definition of the word pervert:
: to change (something good) so that it is no longer what it was or should be
: to cause (a person or a person's mind) to become immoral or not normal
Now it becomes clear. Are you actually accusing someone here you so admired a pervert ? Can I politely say that you are a hypocrite or are you simply bi-polar?
@aplucky1 To your previous comment (which is unsurprisingly deleted): Bigoted people like you are the reason why this is news in the first place. Nobody cares if you continue reading this newspaper, but you (and other homophobic people like you) are clearly in need of more education.
A well-written letter from Gigi. Kudos to her for speaking her mind.
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.
I would like to add that I am sure that Sean does more than just "feed, bathe and keep Gigi warm."
That to me looks like a servant role, but I know that for such a busy woman as Gigi, this is an act of love.
To be a better person because of Sean is so important.
Dai Muff
Maybe you are not a nasty human being. But your comment here suggests otherwise.
She wanted to keep it to herself you ****. It was her father who blew it up the media.
When it comes to a human life, everyone should care. We need to expand our thoughts and spirit beyond our own life. We are one human species and it's a diversified species - just like nature.
A child comes into the world as a straight or gay vulnerable being. We need to CARE for him or her. You and others need to step outside your own narrow and selfish ME - I am sure you have a family member that is gay. With your attitude they will "hide"
No religion or society has the right to take away human rights.
Care - it makes you a better person.
Dai Muff
She did not put it in the public eye. Her "heterosexual" dad did. So who is the PR pervert here? Stay in the closet where you belong.
Dai Muff
Of course you are entitled to your opinion. Homophobic bigotry is not illegal yet. It is also not compulsory for us to admire it.
Sticks and stones may break my bones. Bird of a feather flock together. Sadly, there is no place for me in the new city of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Dai Muff
Beautifully written letter. It may be men's misfortune that you are gay. But you are beautiful and intelligent., Your dad should be proud.
It's her father who made the battle "public" and it is thus her right to address it publically and reclaim her dignity.
The letter is damn good,respectfully and smartly written
I somehow want to save it and reread it some day
If I may address u that, it's a very suitable name for such a wonderful human being as u r...
1, for having the forthright to admit your sexuality as what u r given and how strong u upheld the issue..
2. For your strong will to stand up for what u believe in, and the guts to tell your parents, to definition of acceptance of your belief and love as being their offspring...
3. Always believe what your conscience dictates your every moment of life, and enjoy every second of it, as no one can do that for u, expressing love to your partner is releasing an essence of love from your heart...
That's all I can comment, and if u don't see its correct please delete at your own time...
Meanwhile, I wish u and Sean a very Happy Chinese New Year, I don't have to express it inthe traditional Chinese way, as u already have that...but u want is "Money" cannot buy...
Cheers....Peter Wong x- Hongkong resident
ps. I met Cecil once and had a brief chat...
Yeah, really who cares?.......keep your dirty laundry with the she-man to yourself........this type of nonsense belongs in garbage gossip magazines.
I agree. I tried to reblog this on my site ****stories4hotbloodedlesbians.com
and it has *******
Will Chinese people faint to see such words?
j'aime cette fille
Sean, I want to help you. I think your intentions are good, although misguided, and now that you have an option to get what you want, here's the deal: you marry me, and then your daughter has to marry a man too. Then you and I divorce.
Mind you, in our pre-nuptial, you'd just have to agree to pay me HK$ 4,286,300 per year for the rest of your life during our marriage and after divorce. And of course, we keep separate residences at all times, at your expense.
Contact me through Facebook, buddy, and I'll do it for ya. ;-)
Dai Muff
Hmm. What do you imagine the particular connection to be between lesbi@nism and AIDS? People are frightening sometimes.
Excellent, eloquent English.
A shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong?
No doubt, because they are all gay and are not meant for women ^_^
But by the way why in the world should this ever appear on the headlines?
It has already become a pathetic culture - especially in the Chinese columns - that celeb gossip could appear on the headlines. I mean, WHO cares??
And now even on SCMP ? Shame on you !
zx, for a g a y person you are so intolerant of other schools of thought
so if we do not buy into your g a y propaganda we NEED TO BE RE-EDUCATED ?
maybe they can put us in special areas and mark our clothing with little insignia's , will that please you?
btw i do not want my child to know what dirty filthy things you lot do to each other
Why is this the headline news? First, this letter is well written, and surely encourages more people to read English newspaper. Second, the most important is that Gigi expresses her true feelings in this letter. It explains why she chooses to be what she is now. I guess this letter will have an impact of how our Chinese society views same sex love and marriage. Third, it is fun to imagine how Cecil Chao looks like after he reads this letter (without his sun glasses). If will be entertainging to see an interview with him afterward.
It is really extraordinarily backward that a newspaper for one of he major cities in the world is censuring the words "L e s b i a n" and "h o m o sexual", putting in asterisks in their place! Really, South China Morning Post??!! How embarrassingly behind the times! It's simply unacceptable in this day and age and needs to be addressed by your editors!
Who cares!
what things should i talk to my fds. he is a gay, and he had just argue with his father. his father want him to marry a girl but he fall in love with a boy. he was sad. normally, he will listen to his father and he very very love him. what should i tell him. i just cant say`u are a gay. dont come near me.' right?
mind any one tell me what should i do? thx a lot~
Is there is privacy law in journalism? Why is a daughter's letter to her father published in a newspaper? Why should it be of public interest, except for people to make fun of the parties?
Gigi likes a male looking woman!
This is cyber bullying in the extreme ... Is it really that news worthy? Slow news day yet again I suspect.
When the girl see the father has 10,000 girlfriends, she will lose the confidence and trust in men.father will need to think hard when my girl turn out to be today.father need to self analyse.
This clowns obviously got too much money. He should be relieved of some
I will not waste my time reading such letter, it should be a matter to be dealt with within the family why make it public and who cares, there are so many wonderful people in HK who are fighting battles worse than hers, the difference is they don't have a rich father. She could take the money from rich daddy and donate it to the aids foundation i am sure they could make good use of it.
Dai Muff
Unfortunately, the bigotry of certain sectors of Hong Kong IS front page news.
Just incredible. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet act III, scene II:
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that such an excessive h o m o p h o b i a marked by vitriolic fear and disavowal of anything having to do with LGBT people, as you present here in these commments, is a sure sign of repressed h o m o sexual desires. You can spout this vitriol all you want but you won't find any relief, from your personal torment.
Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?
Homophobia may reveal denial of own same-sex attraction, study suggests
As a medical professional, I have to disagree. Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people do not "chose" their sexual orientation, anymore than straight people do! They only choose to come out of the closet and live their lives in happiness with the companion that makes them happiest emotionally, romantically, and sexually - just as straight people do! All reputable psychological, sociological and medical societies - like the APA, for example - agree that one's sexual orientation, whether it be heterosexual, homosexual or any point in between on the Kinsey Scale, is NOT a "choice", but that countless studies have shown it is due to genetic and/or epigenetic factors. An inborn, immutable characteristic, like race and gender. When did you make the "choice" to be straight?
After posting the above post I see that this HK paper has censored my reply by replacing the word "Lesbian" with "****" - asterisks! Unbelievable! Whether this is due to a real human censuring these posts, or to an automated word censurer - it's reprehensible and should be corrected! Come on - this is the 21st century! The word "Lesbian" comes from the Island of "Lesbos," one of the Aeolic Greek Islands which was the home to the poetess, Sappho in the early 6th century B.C., who loved and wrote love poetry for women, and which the ancients referred to as "the 10th Muse".
scmp! how is this headline news???
your editor in chief should be fired!
i am a subscriber and i am so disappointed. you are fanning family gossip about a dysfunctional family..........
你妈,美妞 嫁给我 我让你和你同性恋老公睡一起 我要那5个亿 其实我更喜欢你老公 我对帅T更有性趣
Just incredible. As Shakespeare said in Hamlet act III, scene II:
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that such an excessive h o m o p h o b i a marked by vitriolic fear and disavowal of anything having to do with LGBT people, as you present here in these commments, is a sure sign of repressed h o m o sexual desires. Spout this hateful stuff all you want, but it still won't help you find any relief, from your personal torment.
How is it that troglodytes like this have survived into the 21st century?!
It's insane! I really find it beyond belief that a paper from a major city of the world, such as this, would censure words to this extent! When i attempted to post URL's here that included the terms "h o m osexual" and even "h o m o phobia" in them their filters replaced the the first syllable of those words in the links, "h o m o -" with asterisks so that EVEN LINKS are dead and cannot be shared. This is reprehensible, embarrassingly backward censorship of the internet and information, as even the LINKS to MEDICAL articles from PubMed dealing with sexual orientation or h o m o p h o b i a often include those words in the URL itself!! Shamefully backward SCMP! Please have your editors and tech team correct this ridiculous censorship.


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