Finally, a free lunch

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Gratitude was thin on the ground on Wednesday after outlandish tycoon Chen Guangbiao hosted the three-course lunch he had promised New York’s homeless at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. Also as billed, Chen first asked his guests to sing “Good Model Citizen Lei Feng”, a song about a People’s Liberation Army soldier, before serenading them with his own squeaky version of the 1985 hit, We Are The World. Then he performed magic tricks while they tucked into sesame-seed-encrusted tuna, beef and berries with crème fraiche.

Chen arranged the lunch as evidence that rich Chinese care about more than luxury lifestyles. But the mood darkened when participants realised that they wouldn’t be getting the promised cash payout of $300. Many began chanting, “Where’s the money? Where’s the money?” But officials from The New York City Mission, which worked with Chen to organise the event, are said to have blocked the payout on concerns that some recipients would have spent it on drink and drugs.

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