FISH­BALLS DEEP

HK Magazine - - COVER STORY -

But fish­balls aren’t all tasty treats…

The Can­tonese phrase yu daan mui, “fish­ball girls,” refers to mi­nors, usu­ally school­girls, who al­lowed pun­ters to grope their bod­ies in ex­change for money in the 80s. Squeez­ing a yu daan mui’s barely-de­vel­oped breasts was said to be sim­i­lar to squeez­ing fish­balls. These girls didn’t work at fish stalls, but in up­stairs tea­rooms which were re­ferred to as “re­cre­ation cen­ters.” Just like com­pen­sated dat­ing nowa­days, sex was not in the pack­age but was of­ten im­plied.

The term came to light when David Lai’s 1982 film “Lonely Fif­teen” blew our minds with its ruth­lessly can­did de­pic­tion of Hong Kong’s sex in­dus­try. Lead ac­tress Becky Lam won Best Ac­tress at the Hong Kong Film Awards for por­tray­ing a run­away who ended up as a fish­ball girl. This (sup­pos­edly) touch-only form of pros­ti­tu­tion passed out of fash­ion when one-woman broth­els be­came pop­u­lar in the 90s.

Becky Lam tak­ing a break in Lonely Fif­teen

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