Asia Dispatch Week 2006: Four Floors of Whores
Filed Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 11:35 PM by Kirin Sapporo
It’s hot and muggy as usual in Singapore, probably about 86 degrees with 90 percent humidity.
But what’s really bothering me is the thick smoke.
“It’s from Indonesia,” my contact says as we drive down the highway. “Today not so bad, around 100 index. When it reach 150, that’s when you stay inside.”
Apparently the smoke condition is caused both by pollution and the deliberate burning of forests by farmers in nearby Jakarta, Indonesia. The result is a huge cloud of smoke that drifts across various neighboring countries depending on wind direction. The sky is grey, and visibility poor. And it’s GETTING IN MY FUCKING CONTACTS!
“So what do you like to do?” he asks. “You like shopping? Eating? You look for cheap computer equipment?”
“Not really,” I reply. “There’s plenty of shopping and food in New York. How about, you know, historic areas and... that sort of thing?”
“Tomorrow I take you to the red light district for frog legs. You been there?”
“Oh yeah, hookers hanging out near the main road.”
He shook his head. “No, those are not legal ones, those are freelancers. Legal ones are off main road and indoors. Only freelancers stand outside.”
“They don’t get arrested?”
“Sometimes they do, but they very careful who they talk to.”
I see the same thing later that night as I stop by the Orchard Tower Mall, otherwise known as the “four floors of whores.” Picture your typical indoor shopping mall, except this one has four floors of bars and clubs. And hanging out next to the escalators and by the railings and in these establishments are, well, a whole lot of whores. They don’t say hello. Shit, they barely even look at you. But there’s no mistaking who they are.
Especially the “ladyboys.”
So much for Singapore being a repressed city.