干爹 (gan die), a Chinese word that originally means someone similar to a godfather, that is, a non-parent male arranged to be child’s guardian. But if it appears in any news or online discussions in China now, the word is more likely to refer to sugar daddies, or more specifically, old male government officials or rich businessmen who keep young mistresses. More often than not, whenever the word “干爹” appears, a corrupted official will soon be exposed. These young mistresses are dubbed by Chinese netizens as the “ultimate corruption fighters” in China.
Taobao store: Guo Meimei Design
So how does a word that is almost the synonym of scandal becomes a hype? It all starts with Guo Meimei, which should be a very familiar name for anyone who read China news in 2011. Guo Meimei, who loved to show off her lavish lifestyle on Weibo and who labeled herself as the “General Business Manager” at the Red Cross Society of China, ignited a nation-wide firestorm targeted at Red Cross China, a state-owned charity organization – Guo was found to have a sugar daddy who held top position at Red Cross China. The whole Guo Meimei controversy brought public trust of state-owned charity organizations to record low. Ever since, anything with the word “sugar daddy” in it is sure to catch national attention.
But how is Guo Meimei today? She continues to show off her luxury buys, opens a Taobao store called Guo Meimei Design and is frequently invited to various magazines and TV shows for modeling and interviews. In a word, she becomes a celebrity, sort of.
Lesson for all the young girls out there? Fame means getting involved in a sugar daddy scandal, real or fake. As many netizens joked: “There are too many young girls who want to become famous, but not nearly enough sugar daddies.” Guo Meimei’s route to fame isn’t one that is easy to copy.
Yang Zilu, a recent Guo Meimei-wannabe who threated to have “the Internet” shut down, was shut up by Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo – her accounts on both sites were deleted permanently. Yang Zilu caught netizens’ attention last week when she showed off on Sina Weibo that her sugar daddy bought her a 8.88 million private jet trip to the London Olympics. When criticisms and scorns poured in, she posted the following message:
“I finally understand why these dumbasses came here and said bad things about me. I thought about explaining, but no longer think there is a need to. If I wish, a simple call to my sugar daddy can make all of you arrested. Do you guys think that a man who bought a 8.88 million private jet trip to the London Olympics in a blink of eye is nobody? Go home and mind your own business. If I grow angry, I will shut down the entire internet so that you cannot curse me any more! You want to dig out who my sugar daddy is? Come on! He just laughed!”
Apparently, no one has been intimidated. Yang’s account on both Sina Weibo and Tecent Weibo were deleted on May 20. Though accused by netizens of hyping up her story, Yang still insists that she has a wealthy and powerful sugar daddy.
The sad thing is that stupid young girls are not the only ones who want to use cooked-up sugar daddy stories to get famous. About a week before Yang Zilu, Hua Yue Zhi Men, an established antique evaluation TV show on Henan Satellite TV, hired a girl to show off fake sugar daddy gifts on their show.
The girl: “My sugar daddy gave me this as a gift.”
The girl: “I don’t need to work at all.”
The girl: ”He is the boss of a real estate company.”
The girl: ”It’s an emerald jade Buddha.”
The girl: “You know, it’s very expensive.”
Antique expert: “It’s a complete fake.”
Host: “Thanks for participant in our show.”
It was later found out that the jade Buddha was not the only thing that was fake in the show. The girl was hired by the show and the entire sugar daddy story was fabricated.
In fact, the show may have inspired Yang Zilu. After her Weibo accounts have been deleted, she protested on her blog, showing off a Song Dynasty vessel said to be given to her by her sugar daddy. She called for other antique evaluation shows to take a look at the vessel and boosted that the vessel was “a never-seen-before treasure.”