With earthquake-tsunami-volcano outbreaks in Indonesia and the Federal Reserve planning on another round of quantitative easing, it’s hardly surprising that the Big Lychee turns its collective attention to the breeding habits of the city’s effortlessly wealthy property tycoons.
Beefy Chinese Estates boss Joseph Lau and scrawny, pouting former Miss Hong Kong winners and look-alikes have a curious affinity for each other. Lau seems to have bedded an endless array of the common-looking minxes, who seem to have no problem with the hefty Boeing 787-owning magnate touching them. It is all too soon after breakfast to think about in detail. (Is it the hunk’s turtleneck sweaters that drive them wild?)
His number-one girlfriend, former Miss HK semi-finalist (if memory serves) Yvonne Lui, has a daughter by him from around eight years back. Domestic bliss was shattered two years ago when his secretary Chan Ho-wan became pregnant and moved into a (then) HK$60 million apartment. Everyone assumed that her condition was Lau’s doing. Yvonee hit back with a public pronouncement that this was not so. Joseph silenced her by cancelling her credit cards. Casino king Stanley Ho started blabbing about how Lau claimed responsibility for the kid. It was all very exciting.
Needless to say, the initial public offering of AIA, the Asian arm of bailed-out US insurance mammoth AIG, now comes into the picture. According to Bloomberg, each of these ladies has applied for HK$5.6 billion worth of the shares, which start trading tomorrow. This adds up to a bigger stake in the IPO than Kuwait is reported to be picking up, but as retail investors they will only get some 9% of their subscription – a frustration many Hongkongers who like to get in on newly floated companies can relate to. The Standard, foreseeing a quick HK$50 million profit per floozy, passes on gossip that it could be a gift from Lau to his lovers (‘Say it with shares’) or “an investment for his children’s education.” We all know how school fees go up and up all the time.
While we are absorbing this, we turn the page of the Standard to find a follow-up to yesterday’s story about Henderson Land boss Lee Shau-kee’s three new-born grandchildren. To summarize, for those with delicate stomachs…
The property tycoon’s number-two son Martin is married and has two daughters. Number-one son Peter, 47, is – very intelligently, in my opinion – not married. Lee senior, age 82, thus has no male heirs to pass on his DNA for the benefit of the human race or worship him when he departs for the next world. Filial duty calls.
I have always thought that being rich is not about having money or things, but having choices. And here is a classic example. Peter, it seems paid a woman somewhere (supposedly the US) to have three kids for him. Presumably, the surrogate mother’s eggs as well as womb were included in the deal, though I suppose it is possible that the eggs were acquired from a third party (or may be a fourth and fifth – the infants look quite different to my eyes, by babies’ usually indistinguishable standards).
The key thing, yesterday’s article says, is that “Peter Lee knew his father wanted to have a grandson but, as a devout Buddhist, the younger Lee wants to find the right girl rather than rush into marriage … [and he] decided to have three in one go and made it specific that he wanted boys.”
So he now has three motherless children on his hands. In order to assuage public misgivings, Peter is now telling reporters about how he is studying child psychology, bathing/feeding/changing diapers, and how it “feels so special to cuddle the babies.” And, he could add – as 7 million breakfasts struggle to stay down – thinking up what story to tell the little ones when they grow and want to know who their mummy is/was. Maybe they’ll have one in their next life. Still, full marks to Buddhism for pragmatism: I’m sure Roman Catholics, for example, would insist on finding something to get sniffy about here.
It doesn’t say how many AIA IPO shares the triplets have applied for.