Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sex in the City - Singapore's Red Light District

Last night Mr C and I decided to get out of our hood and go exploring in Geylang.

Geylang is synonymous with fabulous local food at silly low prices and smelly Durian fruits...

beautiful shop house scenery and last but not least, the  red light district.

We started off at Geylang Serai Malay Village, which was like going back in time and discovering traditional Singapore. It’s Saturday night and everyone is out eating fiery food with their families, and at this end of Geylang, the sex workers are outnumbered by far.

Jump on a bus and head down the way a bit and things are very different. The streets are lined with blacked out KTV places, and men. And then slowly but surely, the creatures of the night.

Head off the main road onto one of the Lorongs, or Lanes, and you enter a whole other world. The Lanes are lined with brothel after brothel, identified by the red lanterns hanging up outside (felt a bit conspicuous taking photos of these so no pics sorry), packs of men ducking in and out of them trying to find the best goods, pimps and hustlers, and a ridiculous amount of budget hotels with crazy neon lighting in case you might miss them...

There was a Hotel 81  on all the main Lorongs and conveniently - these charge by the hour.  Someone is making a killing there.

There are women on offer from all across Asia – girls from China, Thailand, India, Malaysia, most are young …other are old enough to be your mother…or grandmother! 

And as the men enter in and out from the brothels where many of the women are displayed behind glass walls, we catch a glimpse of them.

Strangely the ones inside the brothels seem to be relishing it, parading, fawning. The ones of the street are a completely different breed – they look awkward and miserable and I felt downright sorry for the Indian ones who looked like they wanted to be swallowed up by the pavement in their saris.

We didn’t realise just how prolific Singapore’s red light district is. Apparently it’s home to hundreds of brothels with as many as a dozen girls operating in each house.

With all the foreign workers here in Sing separated from their wives and girlfriends, the demand is high, and with prostitution legal in Singapore, the oldest trade in the world is booming. Geylang is where it’s at. Move over Four Floors of Whores.

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