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.
Gigi Chao issues open letter to father Cecil Chao to accept partner Sean Eav
Lesbian socialite Gigi Chao has issued a public plea to her property tycoon father Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, urging him to accept her as she is and treat her gay partner as a "normal dignified human being".
A week after her father doubled a "dowry" to find her a husband to HK$1 billion, the 33-year-old has written an open letter to him in which she expresses "regret'' at his inability to understand how happy she is with Sean Eav, who she married in 2012.
Beginning the lengthy and heartfelt letter with "Dear Daddy'', Gigi writes: "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 am proud of my life, and I would not choose to live it any other way … I'm sorry I misled 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."
Gigi, who hopes the letter will clear up some "misunderstandings", told the South China Morning Post that her 77-year-old father - who once famously claimed to have slept with 10,000 women - is awkward around Eav when they are in the same company.
Several attempts to arrange a meeting between the two have been snubbed by the luxury property development tycoon.
"Daddy's attempts to find me a husband imply that he did not see Sean like every other person. It's quite hard for Sean," she said.
The latest offer of HK$1 billion has attracted 500 e-mails, compared to more than 20,000 in response to his initial offer of HK$500 million. Apart from suitors, many respondents expressed their views on the issue, or cursed Gigi for being a lesbian. Organisations from around the world also hoped to co-operate with her.
Gigi said she hoped the letter would clarify misunderstandings about her father. "He just has a special sense of humour. He wasn't malicious when he made the offer," she said.
"Daddy won't see the comments online saying he is crazy, but as his daughter, I feel I should stand up for him."
She attributes their clash of views on her relationship to a "generation gap".
"We are not enemies and I cherish very much our time together," she said. "We still love each other."