DUCK has always been featured in many of the highlights of Chinese cuisine. Every part of the fowl – from the head (including the tongue) down to the neck and all the way to the feet – can be turned into a delicacy.
Peking duck, a dish that was once reserved only for the imperial families, is perhaps the world’s most popular duck dish.
Other well-known Chinese duck dishes include the Cantonese roast duck, Nanjing salted duck, Hangzhou old duck soup, Sichuan smoked duck and eight treasure duck.
But it was not the foodies that got excited last week when a club offering ducks became hot news in China.
These are not ducks of the feathered variety. With the club’s ducks, just one quack may cost you an apartment.
Yes, we are talking about the human ‘duck’ – the gigolo.
The Chinese commonly refer to a female sex worker as ‘chicken’ because in Mandarin, the character for a prostitute (ji) sounds similar to chicken. And by extension, ‘duck’ was adopted as slang for a gigolo.
The White Horse Club, an exclusive and private entertainment spot for wealthy women, became infamous overnight after a worker posted photographs of a birthday bash thrown for a guest relations officer (GRO) by his lover.
In his Weibo post last Monday, the club employee wrote, “Last night at Shanghai White Horse Club, a duck celebrated his birthday. 28 years old. His financier gave him 28 presents to make up for the past years that she had missed.”
Among the gifts were a golden cup, a car and a love-shaped box containing 280,000 yuan (RM170,000) in cash.
The post on Weibo included several pictures showing plenty of presents and a man, believed to be the birthday boy, cutting a cake.
Some people studied the gift boxes in the photos and concluded that they contained, among others, a luxury watch and branded apparel and accessories. It has even been estimated that the presents were worth more than 2mil yuan (RM1.23mil) in total.
The post and the pictures made the rounds on Chinese social media sites and eventually caught the attention of the police.
The club was raided for suspected vice activities and was ordered to be closed down.
It was located on the top floor of a posh office block in Shanghai’s most bustling area. According to its website, the female-only club occupied an area of 1,600sq m. Started with an investment of 20mil yuan (RM12.3mil), it has 19 VIP rooms, each in a different style.
Apart from a short description of the joint and some pictures, the information on the site has been wiped out.
Also deleted are all the “sensitive posts” (including photos of topless men) from the club’s official Weibo account, which has nearly 18,000 followers.
According to a recruitment notice put up last October, the club was looking to hire male models with a minimum height of 180cm.
“Image must be handsome, cheerful, fashionable and hot,” the post said, adding that the job scope was merely chit-chatting and drinking with female customers.
The minimum monthly income promised was 80,000 yuan (RM49,000), and the working hours were between 8pm to 4am. Tips were from 1,000 yuan (RM600) onwards.
A former club worker Xiao Bai (not his real name) told Beijing Youth Daily that the birthday bash gone viral was nothing compared to parties held at the club before that.
“We have seen many with more expensive presents,” he said, adding that all the workers at the club were men.
He said the club owner operated a number of other clubs, but the one in Shanghai is the most popular.
The daily reported that the club was registered as a restaurant under a different name.A night out at the Shanghai White Horse Club was expensive, with patrons forking out at least 100,000 yuan (RM61,000) for a seat at the bar. And only those with assets of over 20mil yuan (RM12.3mil) have the chance to be entertained by the “gigolo kings”. It is not clear though how the customers proved their net worth. Maybe they had to show bank statements or vehicle or property registration certificates.
Soon after the birthday party became the talk of the town, another online post popped up claiming the gigolo was bashed up by the husband of his so-called financier. The husband supposedly was furious after finding out that the presents were bought using his money. But the news turned out to be fake.
China has shown no mercy in its war against gambling, drug abuse and the sex industry.
Last year, police busted a cross-border syndicate that provided online sex shows, with the arrest of 162 people.
It was the biggest live pornographic platform ever smashed by the local cops, with help from their Cambodian counterparts. The amount involved reached 250mil yuan (RM153mil).
Investigations revealed that with a password, sold for as low as 100 yuan (RM61), people could watch online men and women performing sexual acts. Some 3.5 million people have bought passwords.