Slice of life: Into the swing

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We’ve all heard the rumours of the swinging scene over in DB, haven’t we? Well, if you’ve been living under a rock, there’s been a legend that has been raging over many years about its thriving existence, with salacious parties, orgies and couple swapping taking place in the Lantau Island district on a regular basis. We’ve always taken these rumours with a cheeky pinch of salt – but, frankly, they’ve never died down. So I decide to investigate. Not to join in, of course – but just to find out if this scene really does exist after all.

My journey begins HK side, though, as I quiz friends and family. And it seems that even my own boyfriend has been invited to a DB swinging party via Facebook in the past. He declined (thankfully!) to indulge but said that invites still pop up occasionally. And it’s normally in DB. Apparently you can never get to the source unless you actually go along to the event – so it’s still a mystery even to him. He says it’s always a house party and the location changes regularly. This doesn’t satisfy my curiosity, though. So I head over there.

As soon as I touch DB soil, I head to the main plaza, where I hear there are plenty of peeps who have a good yarn to tell about the swingin’ scene. Two girls in their 20s tell me about the ‘washing powder’ rumour. Legend goes that couples place powder boxes on their windowsills, write acronyms on them (FFM is ‘want a female to join us’ and BJ is… well… work it out) and then anyone who’s interested comes a-knockin’. Sadly, though, I fail to track a box down.

I then chat to barflies – but I hear the usual tales of ‘a friend of a friend’. And a bar worker says he’s overheard a few conversations in his time about swinging – but he doesn’t know if people actually do it. So I then head to the residential areas and chat to passersby. Lots of them have heard about lavish orgies – but most tell me to head to the marina. They say you get some saucy goings-on in these DB apartments – but it’s on the boats that the real parties happen… 

But, alas, there are no shenanigans at the marina either. However, one older chap, with a glint in his eye, tells me about the ‘coloured panties’ secret signal. The panties are apparently hung in a window, with different colours meaning different things are likely to go on inside. We can’t find out exactly what each colour means but we’re told that sometimes gay couples and experimental types get in on the act – and these undergarments can signal what sort of action there is to be had.

Just as I’m about to give up, though, I’m told by a helper about her ‘friends of friends’ who have been part of the scene. She says they meet at an apartment, throw their keys in a bowl and swap partners. The keys are for the golf buggies which chug across the island. Her pal also mentions the ‘legendary parties’, which range from a bit of titillating fun all the way up to a full-on orgy (and they also say that a lot of pilots tend to get into the action). Apparently the parties mostly happen on a Sunday afternoon, with helpers (and their boyfriends) getting involved as well.

So there my journey ends. I’m none the wiser. I’ve trawled DB and chatted to people I know as well – and still no-one really knows whether this age-old swinging myth is reality or not. So I head back to Hong Kong Island with my tail between my legs and my head spinning with tales of debauchery. But I’ll be back. Just as soon as one of my DB resident pals complains that a pair of their panties was stolen from the washing line…

Cat Kiely

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