Feb 03, 2011|
While we don’t know yet which of the four wives will emerge as the final winner in the war over the estate of gambling magnate Stanley Ho, there was however one definite loser to hit the news only a few days before the domestic squabble over the family treasure owned by one of the greatest polygamists in the world burst into public.
A mainland Chinese mistress was only seconds away from being given a flat as a souvenir by the legendary former multibillionaire Lo Shiu-fai, who collapsed abruptly of a heart attack two weeks ago just before he could sign the contract for the apartment at the desk of a solicitor’s firm in Shenzhen. The solicitor declared the deal void after Lo died in a spasm, still clutching the pen.
The 47-year-old former stock tycoon and drug addict was known for his super-luxury lifestyle. Apart from inviting models and film starlets to orgy parties on his yacht, he once surprised the haughty French by booking a 50,000-franc-per-night presidential suite on the top floor of the five-star Hotel Ritz, overlooking Place Vendôme in Paris before taking his troops of angels on a jewelry-shopping spree. Ever since, the upper circles of French society have been more familiar with the amorous big-spender Lo and his chuckling lovers from Hong Kong than the boring Monsieur Hu and his lackluster wife from Beijing, who have also made a few Airbused shopping trips to Paris.
But Lo had a more sensational personal signature in his commercial behavior. It is said that Lo used to employ a well built immaculately dressed Caucasian man who looked as civilized as Matt Damon—as his valet. Lo used to take the white Harvard graduate into department stores, jewelry shops and estate agents in Hong Kong and China and put on a show by yelling abuse at the man for no reason. The highly-paid gweilo servant, knowing what the game was about, simply swallowed the insults with a poker face or sometimes when in a more playfully good mood, he may have tried to look as slimy as possible like a eunuch. The Chinese managers and shopkeepers were shocked that Lo had the guts to insult a gweilo who was a few inches taller than him—to whose light-skinned compatriots he was a colonial subject of just a short while ago. It was rumored that lucrative contracts worth tens of millions were signed straightaway in China after his hosts were impressed by Lo’s patriotism, expressed in this most courageous form.
This was a decade ago. Given China’s foreign reserves today, Lo’s Green Hornet gimmick could have been carried a step further. With enough money, his white-skinned and black-masked Kato could be slapped in the face for lighting up a cigar a bit clumsily for his Chinese master. Advertise the job in London and the queue for an interview would be longer than those for a RMB10 yuan per-day laborer job at Foxconn, the assembly factory for Steve Job’s iPhone in Shenzhen.