What’s Abd?!!

The heat on the sex industry is currently flaming hot in recent weeks (at least in my case) having attended a Southeast Asian lecture at National University of Singapore under the courtesy of Ms Ain and then followed by an invitation to visit the Red-Light Districts of Singapore by Ms Marya.

Of course, for reasons of family business, I was unable to accompany Marya to visit the locations as much as I wanted to. Nevertheless, with the research conducted by Marya, I’ve come to realize that the sex industry in Singapore is very much active – both physically and rhetorically.

I shall not hide the fact that I have visited such areas myself to satisfy my own curiosity on what is so happening about these areas which keep both the foreign and local men coming back for more. The last I visited such establishments was months back with Nish and Faiz.

I recall the first brush I had with the sex industry was back in 2004 on a trip to Bangkok, Thailand. As how the Thai locals put it to my friends and I, “You have not been Thailand if you have never been to a Thai girl show”.

I never had any idea what that meant at that point of time because I heard the guy saying, ‘Tiger Show’ rather than ‘Thai girl show’. I thought that Thais were so brave to have a show with tigers but what came next was something which was just as animalistic but in human form.

The ‘Thai girl show’ costs us 500 baht (definitely ripped us off our money as how we found out later that it cost only 100 baht in Phuket), was a show full of theatrics and stage performances by Thai girls (or so I believed based on what I saw). I had never been in more awe and fearful of the female genitalia until that day.

Who could have imagined that a chain of razor blades could be put in and pulled out of it, shoot pencils to blown up balloons more than a metre high and even be used as a water transferring container! The highlight of it all, a welcome note from the performers written using a marker held firmly by the genitalia stating, “Welcome to Thailand!”

That was probably as close as I got to the sex industry worker for the next few encounters that I had was more like ‘Window Shopping’.

Geylang as most people know is the haven for prostitution in Singapore and offers a wide-ranging variety of women as well as transexual for the testosterone-charged hungry men to choose from. This was my first stop in the Singapore experience.

I was introduced to the notoriously sleazy back lanes of Geylang’s prostitution district by a good friend of mine whilst serving my National Service. There are several lanes in Geylang and several houses which openly displays the sex workers behind glass panels. Such establishments are also referred to as ‘Fishtanks’ as the sex workers are very much similarly compared to fishes in a fishtank or aquarium.

Any customer who walks in can take a look and choose whom he finds deserving or undeserving of his money for a short rendevous in one of the rooms located in the establishment itself. Should the customer not find any desirable looking individual, he has the obligation to leave the premises. There are several establishments located in the entire district, thus, one should never have to rush when choosing.

However, do be informed that the one you pick could have just serviced someone else and therefore may not be able to provide you with optimal service unless she finds you extremely attractive.

Moving past the establishments, there are also those illegal sex workers who ply their trade along the streets, standing with a pimp around. These workers are bold as they will not hesitate to approach and grab you in areas that’ll get you jolted for a moment. Service with them usually requires you to check-in to a nearby hotel which is aplenty and cheap.

For those of individuals who are nice and friendly to the sex workers, you could even be given exclusive free patronage as how one of my friends received. Anytime before their working hours (usually they begin work at 4pm) at their premises, for free.

Prices for such services differs is race bias, usually with the Malays and Indians being the cheapest among the lot and the Chinese and Russians, the most expensive. But with good money comes good service as how one of my friends put it to me, “Licking you from head to toe, literally covering every inch of your body”.

The Chinese are mostly here on social visit pass or individuals with study passes trying to earn extra income whilst the Russians are purely brought in for the purpose of prostitution. I have no idea about the Indians but the Malays are mostly locals. So, if you happen to come across a friend of yours in those alleys, maybe you might wanna check how much it’ll cost you or her to keep your mouth shut.

In another one of my sightseeing trips, I visited the pubs at Orchard Towers. Orchard Towers, located along the Orchard Road shopping strip boasts of some of the most spectacularly gorgeous transvestites who can easily put a decently pretty woman to shame. Orchard Towers was also the first location where I was approached by one of them late one night after my closing shift.

The conversation, though short reeled me in fear of my own personal safety is as follows:

Shim: “Ehh you… tak nak I ke?” (Ehh you… don’t want me huh?)
Me: “No”
Shim: “Wahh.. dah lupa I eh.. Dulu kan kita main sama-sama” (Wahh.. forgot me huh.. We used to play together last time)
Me runs off

I remember clearly the events that took place that early morning as I was walking back to Starbucks Liat Towers where I was working at and was approached by this transvestite. She was gorgeous with a body that I’d give a perfect 10 notwithstanding the tone of her voice.

In my visit there with my friend, I was encouraged by my friend to just touch whoever I desired. This was indeed shocking to me as I’ve never dared to and worst still in such an unfamiliar territory. My friend was happily approaching different establishments in Orchard Towers whilst I was just following him. According to him, women in Orchard Towers have no qualms about you touching them in any area as long as you strike up a decent conversation. I never took up his offer, as if anyone who has ever visited Orchard Towers would tell you, there are lots of eyes prying at a greenhorn. One wrong move and you could end up on the floor, bloodied or perhaps even to the hospital bed courtesy of the bouncers.

Till this day, I have never visited that part of Orchard again.

And then, there is also the makeshift brothels located near dormitories at industrial estates also known as ‘Forest Brothels’. My encounter with one was when I was on duty as a law enforcer during one night shift. It was located just in front of a flat on a piece of land covered by the dark skies and trees as well as bushes.

I remember clearly as I approached the location with my partner, the pimp was squatting some distant away from the makeshift dens with a customer beside him, waiting. The sex workers were servicing other guys then. As he took his second glance back and realized that we weren’t there for the service offered, he took to his heels and so did everyone else. Well, who wouldn’t?

Upon our visit to the dens, I discovered mattresses so dirty that they look like they came from the trash, were being used as the bed. Underneath the mattresses lay cardboxes which serve as the underlying mat to the beds. Each ‘cubicle’ was separated by a canvas sheet hung up onto a bamboo pole and that was all they needed for the business to proceed. Condom packets were aplenty and strewn all over the cubicle. One must wonder how many men these women had to service because I was informed they cost the foreign workers between SGD$5 – $10/- only.

Whilst the government legalizes such establishments for the purposes of preventing rapes and molests amongst its citizens, one must wonder whether or not the influx of foreign workers being brought in to work to the country would help.

Afterall, such vice activities do pose a health hazard because the illegal establishments do not require its’ sex workers to be put through a health check. As the Singapore economy gets even more dependent on foreign workers to fill the hard labour employments, the demand for sex workers increases as well. In the end, whilst the economy progresses, the citizens who live around areas near dormitories and brothels suffer (the bulk of crime now is carried out by foreign workers).

Furthermore, as how the adult entertainment industry in the United States has put it, more people now need the sex industry more than ever to release the undue stress of retrenchment and unemployment. Well hey, the U.S Government even gave a financial boost to the industry! Perhaps, we should follow suit as well since the Singapore government is so dependent on the U.S economy.

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