In Hong Kong, a center of thriving commerce, sex is no less an industry than anything else. For centuries, Hong Kong has remained one of the foremost ports of pleasure in the world. One of its most alluring aspects is the incredible variety of available women Chinese, British, Thai, Filipino, American, Japanese and Australian a true sexual smorgasbord. Unfortunately, this time-honored tradition is likely to soon end. In 1997, Hong Kong will be turned over to mainland China, and sweeping changes will undoubtedly follow. Although the days of this sexual paradise are numbered, there’s still sufficient time to get in on the fun so don’t delay! S.W.P.
Hong Kong can be described as the G-spot of China, a pulsating megacity that can be heartily appreciated by Easterners and Westerners alike. Unlike the huge People’s Republic of China that hovers over it, Hong Kong is a crossroads where the visitor finds a tantalizing convergence of the commercial sex of the East and the singles’ scene of the West.
Bangkok and Manila may be legends, too, but Hong Kong offers a different, more varied menu. The island metropolis presents a unique cultural medley exotic, outlandish and thoroughly accessible. Large colonies of Europeans and Americans, and thousands of Filipino workers and entertainers, share the city with its five million or more citizens, most of whom are of Chinese ancestry. Each group has created its own sex scene, and you can hop from one to the next as quickly as you can change bars. No doubt about it, Hong Kong is a fast and easy lay. And if the British Crown Colony is unable to satiate your appetite which would be hard to imagine only an hour away by high-speed ferry is the Portuguese colony of Macao, a time-honored mecca for sybaritic seekers that is still as wonderfully sinful today as ever.
Ed a long-time resident, unabashedly anchored in the city for the available sex was to be my guide. He had first visited Hong Kong during his army service in nearby Vietnam, and he fell in love at once, both with the city and a Chinese girl. She turned out to be no more than a fling, but Ed’s love for Hong Kong has endured.
Upon my arrival, we headed directly for Wan Chai, the sailors’ quarter, a notorious district of seedy dives where the cheung-sam the traditional, tight-fitting Chinese dress is worn split to the waist.
Not too long ago, His or Her Majesty’s sailors would land on the wharf at the naval dockyard and flood Wan Chai in their quest for “China girls.” During the Vietnam War, American troops poured into the city for R and R Wan Chai was a fortress of fornication.
Ed and I installed ourselves in a timeworn dance hall on Tonnochy Road, a dark and shabby place with rows of little booths where couples can happily grab and grope in private. The music was loud and scratchy rock ‘n’ roll with Chinese lyrics. It was nearly midnight and the establishment was still nearly empty. Hong Kong nightlife starts late. A dozen or so hostesses eyed us playfully. One of them swished by, hoping to be invited for a drink, but Ed ignored her.
“Chinese women are something special,” he told me. “You must remember that they’re of a culture that’s been studying the pleasures of sex for a long time. The Chinese were deep into the fine points of eroticism when our forefathers were still chasing women with clubs. A Chinese woman seems to understand instinctively what you want or, better, what you need. You don’t have to have a long discussion about it. She just understands and does it. Besides, she probably looks fourteen, is twenty-five, and has the experience of a forty-year-old.”
“If they are understanding,” I wondered aloud, “why didn’t you bring your Chinese girlfriend Lee-Ann?”
“Now that she lives with me, she won’t go to bars,” he replied. “But she never complains if I go out in the evening. She’s clever. Whenever I come home, even if it’s at dawn, she snuggles against me and tries to turn me on. It’s her way of figuring out what I’ve done. She knows my limits.
“It took me a long time to realize all her subtleties. Obviously, if I can’t get it up, I’ve been screwing around, which means I’ll have a scene on my hands. On the other hand, I can’t resist Hong Kong’s temptations so quite often I call Lee-Ann to tell her that I’ll be working late. When that happens and I pick up a woman, I always pull out before I come. You know, coitus interruptus. The girls are usually surprised, but I think they’re sort of glad. They always try to get me to resume and finish what we started, and we often have a wild tussle before I get my clothes on.
“At first,” he went on, “it was almost impossible to pull out like that. After a while, though, it became easier. It’s a question of self-control. And Lee-Ann always gets what she wants, no matter how late I arrive home. In fact, she probably gels more of it, and gets it better. Recently I learned that the old Mandarins practiced the same withdrawal as an exercise of self-discipline. They could have as many women as they wanted, but only as long as they didn’t ejaculate.”
Dick, a Hong Kong-born Brit, joined us. After one of the hostesses brought his customary drink, another girl came over almost immediately, and the two sat down on either side of Dick.
“They know I like a pair,” he explained to me, “but not just for the reason you think. These days, it’s for my own safety. I have a theory, you see, that if any one of them has Buddha’s revenge, the others will know it and shun her. So, for safety’s sake, I always take a duo. Of course, they could both have it, but you have to take a little risk if you want this kind of fun.”
Dick got up and danced with one of the girls. Then he returned to the booth and, with a knowing smile, passed her on to Ed to be danced with. When Ed returned from the dance floor, he was flushed and excited. Later, he explained why. “She does what we call the Chinese touch. Every once in a while you find a girl who knows how to do it. While you’re dancing, she puts her hand on the back of your neck and massages one of the vertebrae there. It’s a kind of erotic acupuncture, I guess, and its effect hits you suddenly, like a jolt. What it does is give you an instant erection. With a girl like that, a guy can keep going all night.”
Ed and I left Dick to his three-way pleasure and sailed aboard the Star Ferry across Hong Kong bay to Tsim Sha Tsui, a modern neighborhood, full of expensive hotels and shopping malls. Wedged between them, along a side street Hankow Road , is Bottoms Up, a nightclub whose claim to fame is that an early James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, used it as a location. Despite its name, Bottoms Up is downstairs. It’s divided into four small hexagonal bars, each attended by a naked woman. They perch on pedestals only inches from the customers.
But Bottoms Up doesn’t offer just this static titillation. The girls are friendly, and pleasant conversation is expected of them, what with their bare tits almost literally in your beer. Some of the customers here are women who occasionally bare and compare their bodies and, of course, many men aren’t at all hesitant about showing off their hardware. “As long as no one makes a fuss,” the owner told me, “customers can do what they like.”
Most impressive of Hong Kong’s pleasure palaces are three Japanese-style clubs China City, Club Volvo and Metropolitan. Each is as large as a city block. These gaudy giants, on the basis of kitsch and glitz, as well as size, are likely candidates for the Guinness Book of World Records. “We spent a million dollars for the lights alone,” the manager of Club Volvo told me. Bathing in the reflections of the ostentatious waterfalls are four hundred hostesses clad in evening gowns and furs. They could be mistaken for virginal teenagers decked out for the prom.
Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Japanese, even British and Australian girls working their way around the world, they explain greet you at the door. Each is equipped with a walkie-talkie so the mamasan Chinese Madam will know where each is and with whom. Upon your entrance, you’ll be escorted to an old Rolls-Royce that drives you down the aisle to your table, past dozens of smiling hostesses an enormous harem awaiting your beck and call.
Take your choice, as long as you can pay for her but even in the private rooms, no serious hanky-panky is allowed, just talking and petting. One side of the booth is a glass window so the mamasan can check up on her girls! Should you wonder what the tab will be, there’s high-tech assistance. On each table a digital counter tallies the cost of drinks and hostess time. For many of the wealthy Chinese and Japanese who patronize these temples of sex, the spending is just part of the excitement. The bigger the bill, the bigger the thrill.
“Careful,” Ed warned. “These women have cash registers in their cunts.”
The manager brought us each a tall cognac, the preferred drink of Hong Kongites, who down it straight, four fingers at a time. “Ten thousand liters of fine French brandy are consumed at the Volvo every year,” he told me.
Local legend has it that when the first British ships arrived, the Chinese saw the crews swill rum and run amok. But the officers, splendid-looking in their gold braid, sipped cognac and behaved in genteel fashion. And so the drink became a status symbol among affluent Orientals in Hong Kong. The more expensive the cognac, the better to be seen drinking it. If you want to impress a Chinese lady, therefore, you’d better know your brandy.
Should you want to take a hostess home, you can “buy” her out of the club for the night at an exorbitant price. The bill will probably amaze you, but there is a consolation in the thought that you are sampling an exotic priestess, a living testament to the fact that nobody can package and sell sex like the Chinese.
With all the competition she faces, where does that leave the average woman in Hong Kong? She may have difficulty finding lovers to take her favors for free. “Men are so used to having their choice of beautiful women in bars and brothels,” Harry, an English writer, told me, “they forget that for many ladies, Asian and European, sex is not a business.”
Harry lives in Cheung Chau, a small island that lies about an hour away by ferry. A bohemian satellite of Hong Kong, Cheung Chau has no cars, and its harbor looks like a backdrop for an old-time Fu Manchu film.
On weekends the small, dumbbell-shaped island fills up with the yuppie set from Hong Kong. Atop its central hills, from which complexes of apartments overlook the water, the singles’ game is played with passion and perseverance and women outnumber men by three to one.
“Sometimes the place gets a little too frantic for me,” Harry went on, “so I drift among Hong Kong’s pubs. It’s like another world white skins, blonde hair, freckles, crisp English accents and warm ale.”
He took me to the Bull and Bear to share a customary after-work pint. The pub was an authentic import, right down to the British barmaids and a dart board. There was hardly an Oriental face to be seen. Highly visible were a number of Caucasian women. They were establishing eye-contact with any single man who entered. It was obviously open season.
“Here’s where you find the forgotten women of Hong Kong.” Harry said, “the expatriates British, American and Australian ladies who stop in for a drink or two at happy hour. They’re easy pickings. Most have come to the Orient in search of adventure, but few ever find it. While most guys are hustling the Thais, Filipinas and Chinese, I often tour the watering holes where Westerners hang out, just to see what I can find.”
The pickup game is playfully polite in these places. It involves the kind of cool verbal sparring indirect and antiseptic that leads to several drinks and, if successful, to a one-night stand.
Harry and I moved on to Mad Dogs, and then to the White Stag, which were very much the same as the Bull and Bear. The last stop in our pub crawl was Ned Kelley’s Last Stand, an Australian-owned bar, named for an infamous outlaw Down Under’s Jesse James and noted for its jazz band and easygoing clientele. The atmosphere was relaxed and the lady-hunting fast and frank, a Crocodile Dundee wooing game that produced a quick, no-nonsense response. Yes! Or, no.
“After a few pints,” Harry said “I often forget the time and miss the last ferry to Cheung Chau. If I haven’t already found a woman, I usually head for Hot Gossip on Canton Road.”
A favorite for Hong Kong yuppies, both Occidental and Oriental, the neon-lit Hot Gossip caters to the singles’ set a touch of Manhattan on the shores of the China Sea. “I can usually obtain what I need there,” Harry went on, “but I have to be careful. Last time, I met two British girls who were into what they called experimental sex. It sounded pretty good in the taxi, but when we got to their place they wanted to shave my pubic hair and play with some kind of electrodes they’d wired up. I got the hell out of there and spent the night in one of the short-time hotels in Wan Chai, listening to everybody but me make love.”
Ed had promised to take me to a “pickup paradise” on Sunday morning. He picked me up at the appointed hour. At about ten o’clock, we walked together to Statue Square, a small park beside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Hundreds at Filipino women, most of them young and bubbly, were setting out baskets of food and picnicking. Most were dressed in copies of designer clothes and carrying imitation Vuitton bags.
“There are about forty thousand Filipinas in Hong Kong,” Ed said. “They typically come here on two-year contracts to work at menial jobs women without men. But those guys he pointed to a couple of Europeans who were obviously fascinated by the spectacle probably won’t get much more than a few words and a smile.”
“The secret is a simple one,” Delia, a Filipina who has worked in Hong Kong for five years, told me later. “A girl will never go off with someone she has just met, especially in front of her friends. A man would have to be a little devious. For example, he could surreptitiously slip her a note bearing his telephone number, or hurriedly arrange to meet her someplace else, away from the park.”
That afternoon, Ed and I went to a beauty contest in a large Chinese restaurant. Such events take place frequently. Mostly, they are convenient excuses for parties. About three hundred spectators, nearly all women, had filled the restaurant when Ed and I arrived. Surprisingly, few Caucasian guys were there. Something of a local dignitary, Ed has often been appointed as a judge, and he has seldom refused. He was one of three judges this time.
The girls paraded down the runway costumed like queens or bathing beauties or hookers. Some were spectacular-looking, and most moved with innate sensuality. They swept past the head table, timing their songs or dances so their tits and asses were close to the judges’ faces.
During the intermission, Ed wandered among the crowd, chatting with the girls and discreetly pressing his business card into their hands. “To be honest,” he said afterwards, “I don’t care how well they sing or dance. As far as I’m concerned, the sexiest one always gets my vote.”
During the final judging, I caught sight of Ed slipping one of his hands under the table. By the time the winner was proclaimed and crowned. Ed seemed to be in desperate need of relief. As we left, he asked, “Got your passport with you?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
”Time for a massage,” he confided. We then walked hurriedly to a ferry slip.
An hour’s voyage away, Macao is delightfully more decadent than even Hong Kong and maintains much of its original piquancy, Along with the many modern hotels and commercial centers, there are plenty of narrow, twisting streets and rundown Chinese inns where naughtiness continues to flourish. It’s a Portuguese colony that will be absorbed into China in 1997 as Hong Kong will, too. Entry formalities are minimal.
An estimated four thousand Thai girls are wedged into the colony’s few square miles, so these days Macao is a sort of little Bangkok. Most of the major hotels, such as the Estoril, have massage parlors, and sex-oriented establishments of all kinds dot the city. The Thai girls who work here retain their seductive charms and are among the real beauties of the Orient. Most people on the ferry with us, however, were going to Macao to gamble. The tiny place boasts more casinos than any other Asian city.
When we debarked, Ed hailed a taxi and we headed for the Estoril. I waited at the bar while he went into the massage parlor. A couple of hours later he emerged, smiling, smelling of jasmine, relaxed and renewed. We took a late boat back to Hong Kong, which at two in the morning was still casting its voluptuous glow.
Most people think of Hong Kong as a shopper’s paradise, but the best bargains are not necessarily found in the boutiques or electronics stores. Like some of the other urban centers of Asia, Hong Kong presents the visitor with a delicious assortment of hedonistic opportunities. Its many sex worlds happily coexist and combine, forming an intoxicating melange of the Orient and Occident. “East is East and West is West,” Kipling wrote, “and never the twain shall meet.” Except in Hong Kong.