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Sexual Prejudice At Its Absolute Worst

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  • Mr Sillipore
    By: Mr Sillipore 16 June 2004 Singapore Review Sexual Prejudice At Its Absolute Worst Singapore is one weird country. That thought ran through my mind as I
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 16, 2004
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      By: "Mr Sillipore"
      16 June 2004
      Singapore Review

      Sexual Prejudice At Its Absolute Worst

      Singapore is one weird country. That thought ran through my mind as I gazed
      upon the Sunday edition of the Straits Times (copy attached below).

      I am still trying to come to grasp with the subtle logic behind the mesh mash
      of policies implemented by the nanny state. On the one hand we are told in no
      uncertain terms by the government that chewing gum requires a permit (and
      registration), and on the other hand it is entirely legal and possible for an
      18 year old to avail himself of the services of any one of the few hundred
      legal brothels located along the infamous Geylang district.

      What gives? Where is the logic? Lets put all that aside and naively accept the
      official line towed by Singapore's law enforcement officers, that basically it
      is impossible to control the oldest profession in the world, so some control is
      better then no control in the noble interest of the general public.

      But wait a second here, there’s more to this then meets the eye. Not content
      with micro-managing the sex lives of the citizens, Singapore’s law enforcement
      officers have also declared that street walking is outlawed. So whilst its
      perfectly legal to have a fling with a prostitute in a Geylang brothel, its a
      NO No if the same lady approaches you on a street outside the Brothel and
      invites you to intercourse in any one of the readily available motels located
      in the same street.

      There is a hidden agenda in this mesh mash of haphazardly implemented laws.

      1) The first obvious economic effect of the mesh mash of convoluted policies is
      that they have the net effect of creating a virtual monopoly on the sex trade
      in Singapore. Now this is starting to look vaguely familiar if we view the sex
      industry as simply another commercial venture.

      Make no mistake there is huge money to be made in the gambling and sex industry
      and it is small wonder that it has remained the oldest profession in the world.
      And like any typical mafia boss, the powers from the havens want a piece of the
      action. Usually with a normal trade, the modus operandi is for the GLC/TLC to
      move in on the stakes and "unlevel the playing field."

      But this is a rather delicate situation...No, Mr Lee and Ms Ho will not (and
      cannot) adopt the tried and proven formula: set-up another GLC/TLC to
      corporatise the sex trade. That's really not in keeping with the immaculately
      clean, virgin white uniform of the dominant party. So how do you have your cake
      and eat it, without getting your grubby fingers dirty?

      Legalize the trade, and impose a tax on it. Make no mistake, the government has
      a direct stake in the set-up. Of cause the actual numbers are shrouded in
      secrecy but the amounts involved are substantive. Each working girl in the
      legitimized brothels can charge up to SGD150-SGD200 for 45 minutes of tender
      loving care. The figure can go up to SGD300 if the customer happened to be a
      foreigner who was not conversant with the house rates.

      2) The flip side of the coin is that only ladies with permits are allowed to
      work in the legal brothels. The Anti-Vice squad maintains a daily log of each
      working girl as they have to log-in to their place of work and register each
      customer they bed. So it is possible to calculate right down to the dollar, the
      daily takings of each girl.

      The girls typically originate from either Malaysia and Thailand. Now here's
      another mystery, why limit issue of permits to girls originating from only
      these two countries?

      Again the ultimate effect is to create barriers to entry for other races (from
      eastern European countries and especially from Mainland China). The Anti-Vice
      squad conduct nightly raids on illegal streetwalkers (who also happen to be
      mainly China girls). The women are often chased and physically beaten by
      Singapore Law Enforcement officers, all in the noble name of cleaning of the
      streets. Never mind the minor fact that their legitimate counter-part is
      selling the very same product next door in a legal brothel.

      In this respect we must really applaud Singapore's conscientious law
      enforcement officers. So dedicated are these virtuous gentlemen to their duties
      that they even saw it within their duties to avail themselves of the services
      of the very victims they were targeting. In the past years there have been
      several formal reports of law enforcement officers who have performed above and
      beyond their call of duty in this aspect.

      So that then is how we end up with this unholy marriage of policies. The merits
      of the venture are determined solely on corporate business strategies. Moral
      values have no place and is rendered totally irrelevant in the final analysis.

      In this case the final victims are of cause the street walkers who not have to
      pay a King's Ransom in getting protection money from their personal "Ma Fu"
      (the local equivalent of a pimp who is supposed to look out for them and warn
      them of police raids). The government owned media (Straits Times and Sunday
      Times) have also been roped in to churn out bad publicity regarding female
      Chinese migrants. Many of these women are here for legitimate factory jobs but
      have been marginalized by local Singapore women who deem them as husband
      snatchers.

      To those of you who want to flame me because I am taking the side of the China
      hookers, please remember that the sex trade is already there and thriving in
      its legitimized form and any argument you wish to address to me can also be
      addressed to our dear PAP government.

      It is indeed a sad day when Singapore's Ruling Elite are reduced to virtual
      pimps and living off the takings of the sex industry. My hats of to you folks.
      That’s the government that you elected.

      Yours disgustedly

      Mr Sillipore

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


      China girls hitting on kopitiam Ah Peks
      They target older men with CPF money at Geylang coffee shop

      By Li Xueying

      KOPI, teh or China lady?

      At star station 23, in Geyland Lorong 23, heartland Ah Peks and China
      women mingle in a no-frills, no air-con, low-cost version of a
      karaoke lounge.
      A kopitiam in Geylang's Lorong 23 has gained notoriety for being
      a 'no-frills, no-aircon' and low-cost version of a karaoke lounge
      where women from China accost grey-haired Ah Peks.

      For men whose CPF pensions can't support exquisite Gong Li-lookalikes
      and $350-a-bottle Chivas Regal at swanky lounges like Tiananmen, Star
      Station 23 Cafe Restaurant is perfect.

      Some businesses in the area, such as brothels and restaurants, resent
      its presence. Others say the colourful denizens of Star Station 23
      have been good for business.

      Green plastic tables dot the coffee shop where retirees nurse 80-cent
      Chinese tea or $6 Heineken for hours. Each time a woman enters the
      premises, they check her out from head to toe.

      If they like what they see, they beckon her over. If not, their eyes
      flicker back to actress Phyllis Quek on the mounted TV screen, or to
      their copy of Shin Min.

      Making her move, a China woman zeroes in on a prospective client.
      Competition is tough, so many are bold about approaching men.
      The bolder women, meanwhile, zero in on prospects, unsolicited.
      Speaking in lilting accents, they flirt with their long hair and
      tease with their hands. If the chemistry - and the price - is right,
      they adjourn, with their trick, to a nearby hotel.

      It's a community in there.

      The friendly kopitiam cleaner came to wipe the table where I was
      seated with my female photographer colleague and asked in
      Mandarin: 'Just got here today?'

      In three hours, my colleague and I were propositioned three times.
      Referring to me, one of the men told his companion at the next table
      in Hokkien: 'This one - new girl. Never seen before.'

      Competition is tough. The women are here on 30-day social passes, and
      need to recoup the money they borrowed to pay for their air ticket.

      Ms Huang arrived from Jiangsu province on June 3, on a 11,000 yuan
      (S$2,255) loan. She has had only one customer so far, who paid $80
      for her services. She said: 'It's so hard. There are so many young
      pretty girls here. Who wants a 40-year-old like me?'

      After some flirting and teasing, if the chemistry and price are
      right, the couple may adjourn to a hotel. -- WANG HUI FEN
      It was her first time prostituting herself, claimed the divorcee. The
      high-school graduate worked as an accountant until she was retrenched
      in 1997. 'My son is 18, and we need money for his university fees. It
      costs 1,000 yuan a month. I look down on myself for doing this but
      there's no choice,' she said tearfully.

      A 60-something man, with thinning hair and a toothy grin, approached
      her and asked: 'Why so unhappy?' Some 45 minutes later, they were
      gone.

      Ms Wang, 32, who arrived on Wednesday from Funan county in Anhui
      province, was luckier. Fair, sweet and doe-eyed, she landed a
      customer in his 60s, who gave her $300 for spending the whole night
      with him.

      She had told her gambler husband that she was going to find work in
      Shenzhen. They have two children, aged seven and 10.

      'I heard that these older men are better than the younger ones.
      They're not so cunning and they won't run off without paying. Anyway,
      I just close my eyes.'

      Some of the men at the kopitiam claim they weren't there for sex, but
      just to talk to the girls for 'company'. Odd-job labourer Khoo, 55,
      claimed: 'I come here once every two weeks not for the girls, but
      because the kopi here is very sweet.'

      The stallholders, meanwhile, said they 'don't know anything'.

      Other businesses in the area say the China girls began coming around
      two or three years ago.

      Hong Kee Noodle Restaurant, located across the road from Star Station
      23, has seen its business drop 40 per cent since.

      'The customers get scared off. These girls are here when I open shop
      at 9am, and they're here when I close at 9pm. Sometimes, they come in
      without ordering and we'll chase them out,' said its manager, 59, who
      wanted to be known only as Ms Chong.

      Chinese construction worker Zhang, 35, who rents the unit on the
      third level of the building, said the women are so aggressive that
      he's 'scared to go down to buy food'. 'They will pull at our arms
      asking if we want to 'play' with them,' he said.

      Not surprisingly, the legitimate brothels at Lorong 18 have been hit.

      Mr Ong, who manages 11 Thai girls, said: 'These China girls are very
      clever. They know how to target these old men with the CPF money.
      They eat, drink and talk to them. They're like girlfriends. But it's
      dangerous because they don't go for medical checkups.'

      His prostitutes charge $40 for a 20- to 25-minute session, and are
      not allowed to 'socialise' with the men outside the brothel. The
      Chinese streetwalkers, on the other hand, negotiate their own rates.
      Some may work with pimps.

      Shop owners told The Sunday Times that police raid the area at least
      twice every two weeks.

      But an hour later, the girls are always back, said Ms Chong.

      Not everyone resents Star Station 23's presence. On San Woh Medical
      Hall, for example, has extended its opening hours from 8pm to 10.30pm
      after business went up by 10 to 20 per cent, fuelled by sales of
      condoms and Chinese medication.
    • sg_review
      http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=2408 Policy Watch Singapore: Sexual Prejudice At Its
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 28, 2006
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        http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=2408

        Policy Watch
        Singapore: Sexual Prejudice At Its Absolute Worst
        (Singapore Review)
        29 June 2004

        On the one hand we are told in no uncertain terms by the government
        that chewing gum requires a permit (and registration), and on the
        other hand it is entirely legal and possible for an 18 year old to
        avail himself of the services of any one of the few hundred legal
        brothels located along the infamous Geylang district.

        Singapore is one weird country. That thought ran through my mind as I
        gazed upon the Sunday edition [20 June 2004}of the Straits Times.
        I am still trying to come to grasp with the subtle logic behind the
        mesh mash of policies implemented by the nanny state.On the one hand
        we are told in no uncertain terms by the government that chewing gum
        requires a permit (and registration), and on the other hand it is
        entirely legal and possible for an 18 year old to avail himself of
        the services of any one of the few hundred legal brothels located
        along the infamous Geylang district.

        What gives? Where is the logic? Lets put all that aside and naively
        accept the official line towed by Singapore's law enforcement
        officers, that basically it is impossible to control the oldest
        profession in the world, so some control is better then no control in
        the noble interest of the general public.

        But wait a second here, there's more to this then meets the eye. Not
        content with micro-managing the sex lives of the citizens,
        Singapore's law enforcement officers have also declared that street
        walking is outlawed. So whilst its perfectly legal to have a fling
        with a prostitute in a Geylang brothel, its a NO No if the same lady
        approaches you on a street outside the Brothel and invites you to
        intercourse in any one of the readily available motels located in the
        same street.

        There is a hidden agenda in this mesh mash of haphazardly implemented
        laws.

        1) The first obvious economic effect of the mesh mash of convoluted
        policies is that they have the net effect of creating a virtual
        monopoly on the sex trade in Singapore. Now this is starting to look
        vaguely familiar if we view the sex industry as simply another
        commercial venture.

        Make no mistake there is huge money to be made in the gambling and
        sex industry and it is small wonder that it has remained the oldest
        profession in the world. And like any typical mafia boss, the powers
        from the havens want a piece of the action. Usually with a normal
        trade, the modus operandi is for the GLC/TLC to move in on the stakes
        and "unlevel the playing field."

        But this is a rather delicate situation...No, Mr Lee and Ms Ho will
        not (and cannot) adopt the tried and proven formula: set-up another
        GLC/TLC to corporatise the sex trade. That's really not in keeping
        with the immaculately clean, virgin white uniform of the dominant
        party. So how do you have your cake and eat it, without getting your
        grubby fingers dirty?

        Legalize the trade, and impose a tax on it. Make no mistake, the
        government has a direct stake in the set-up. Of cause the actual
        numbers are shrouded in secrecy but the amounts involved are
        substantive. Each working girl in the legitimized brothels can charge
        up to SGD150-SGD200 for 45 minutes of tender loving care. The figure
        can go up to SGD300 if the customer happened to be a foreigner who
        was not conversant with the house rates.

        2) The flip side of the coin is that only ladies with permits are
        allowed to work in the legal brothels. The Anti-Vice squad maintains
        a daily log of each working girl as they have to log-in to their
        place of work and register each customer they bed. So it is possible
        to calculate right down to the dollar, the daily takings of each
        girl.

        The girls typically originate from either Malaysia and Thailand. Now
        here's another mystery, why limit issue of permits to girls
        originating from only these two countries?

        Again the ultimate effect is to create barriers to entry for other
        races (from eastern European countries and especially from Mainland
        China). The Anti-Vice squad conduct nightly raids on illegal
        streetwalkers (who also happen to be mainly China girls). The women
        are often chased and physically beaten by Singapore Law Enforcement
        officers, all in the noble name of cleaning of the streets. Never
        mind the minor fact that their legitimate counter-part is selling the
        very same product next door in a legal brothel.

        In this respect we must really applaud Singapore's conscientious law
        enforcement officers. So dedicated are these virtuous gentlemen to
        their duties that they even saw it within their duties to avail
        themselves of the services of the very victims they were targeting.
        In the past years there have been several formal reports of law
        enforcement officers who have performed above and beyond their call
        of duty in this aspect.

        So that then is how we end up with this unholy marriage of policies.
        The merits of the venture are determined solely on corporate business
        strategies. Moral values have no place and is rendered totally
        irrelevant in the final analysis.

        In this case the final victims are of cause the street walkers who
        not only have to pay a King's Ransom in getting protection money from
        their personal "Ma Fu" (the local equivalent of a pimp who is
        supposed to look out for them and warn them of police raids). The
        government owned media (Straits Times and Sunday Times) have also
        been roped in to churn out bad publicity regarding female Chinese
        migrants. Many of these women are here for legitimate factory jobs
        but have been marginalized by local Singapore women who deem them as
        husband snatchers.

        To those of you who want to flame me because I am taking the side of
        the China hookers, please remember that the sex trade is already
        there and thriving in its legitimized form and any argument you wish
        to address to me can also be addressed to our dear PAP government.

        It is indeed a sad day when Singapore's Ruling Elite are reduced to
        virtual pimps and living off the takings of the sex industry. My hats
        of to you folks. That's the government that you elected.


        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         
        http://www.brunei-online.com/bb/thu/dec4w3.htm

        Singapore bans `China mothers' from working
        3 Dec 2003

        SINGAPORE (AFP) - Chinese mothers accompanying their children to
        study in Singapore will be barred from seeking employment during
        their first year in the city-state, the Straits Times reported
        Wednesday.

        Wang Yongli, an education counsellor with the Chinese embassy, was
        quoted as saying that the Manpower Ministry informed officials "in
        black and white" of the one-year ruling in October.

        The Manpower Ministry could not be reached to confirm the ruling.

        There are between 1,000 and 2,000 Chinese mothers in Singapore,
        locally referred to as 'study mamas,' because their children are
        studying at schools here.

        Yang Mei, a 35-year-old Chinese divorcee who arrived in June with her
        11-year-old daughter, said the new ruling will force many of her
        compatriots in China to reconsider sending their children to
        Singapore to study.

        "I think many mothers in China will have to rethink their decisions
        about coming here now that the ministry says that new arrivals can't
        work in the first year," she said.

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------

        Mothers from China Face Harsh Rules in Singapore
        Thu Sep 25, 8:09 AM ET

        By Geraldine Chua

        SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Along the narrow corridors of Pearl Center, a busy
        shopping complex in Singapore's Chinatown, women from China sit outside foot
        reflexology shops and massage parlors, beckoning customers to come in.

        It's a scene Singapore's authorities are trying to contain, and taking steps to
        end.

        Many of the women brought their children to Singapore for a better education,
        hoping to land jobs to pay the rent and be with them.

        But they've come at a hard time.

        Singapore is experiencing its worst job market in 17 years. Often lacking
        English language skills that unlock jobs here, many of the women are forced into
        the massage business, where "special" sexual services are sometimes
        just a few dollars away.

        "Before I came here, people only showed me pretty pictures of
        Singapore," said 38-year-old Wang Min. "But once you're here, not
        everything is so perfect."

        Wang's story is typical of the women, known in the Mandarin dialect of Chinese
        as "pei du ma mas" or "study mothers."

        She left northeast China two years ago and headed to Singapore with her young
        daughter, hoping to give her only child a good education. Armed with a business
        degree from Shenyang University, she planned to land a decent job to pay her
        expenses.

        But after months of looking, Wang could only find work as a foot reflexologist,
        massaging feet for more than 10 hours a day, and complains of frequent
        discrimination based on her mainland Chinese accent.

        HARD LABOR, MENIAL JOBS

        Others say the only work they can get is hard labor and menial jobs, and grumble
        that Singaporeans generally think of them as prostitutes or "gold
        diggers."

        Last month Singapore made the plight of Chinese mothers harder by clamping down
        on those working in the massage industry, after reports they were providing
        sexual favors for cash.

        The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it is now more stringent in granting work
        permits to Chinese mothers for some service industries, a step that caused about
        100 of the women to lobby the Chinese Embassy last month to seek to overturn the
        law.

        "The mothers of foreign students who are in Singapore can continue to apply
        for work passes. However, based on anti-vice feedback, the ministry will be
        stringent in granting work passes to certain occupations," said a MOM
        spokeswoman, referring to masseuses and foot reflexologists.

        Chinese mothers renewing their work permits will not be affected if they remain
        with the same employer.

        Many take on menial jobs such as food stall helpers or cleaners, which pay about
        S$800 ($457) a month, but massage therapists can earn more than S$3,000 a month.

        "It took me more than two months to find this job. Back in China, when I
        was working in a government office, my hands used to be so smooth. See, I've got
        corns on my fingers now," said Wang, who earns about S$1,500 a month.

        In the last few years, Singapore, where 77 percent of the population is ethnic
        Chinese, has become a popular destination for mainland students largely because
        of the high standards of education in public schools.

        There are an estimated 50,000 foreign students here although they come from a
        wide range of countries.

        MOM said figures for Chinese nationals working in Singapore were unavailable.

        MASSAGE PARLORS HIT

        Massage parlor owners such as Glen Tan are unhappy about the new law that makes
        it tough to employ Chinese nationals.

        "No matter what reason you give them, they (MOM) don't care. It's a
        downright rejection as long as they are from China. And they would not provide
        any reasons," said an exasperated Tan.

        "Isn't it ridiculous that I can't get Chinese therapists when I'm doing
        Chinese acupressure massage. When I put out an advertisement, not many
        Singaporeans are interested."

        Tan said that, although MOM taxed him S$240 a month for hiring Chinese workers,
        he preferred Chinese nationals to locals. "These Chinese therapists are
        skilled and generally have better work attitudes than Singaporeans," he
        said.

        Most Chinese mothers feel that, while there are cases of Chinese women providing
        sex, the majority do not and it's unfair to label all Chinese women as
        prostitutes.

        "I'm a decent women. I only work and go home to my daughter," said
        Wang.

        Still, the negative stereotype appears to linger among local residents.
        "You can see them everywhere in Chinatown. It's so obvious, they're all
        sitting around, scantily clad," said Peter Lim, 52, who works in an
        electronics shop in the area. ($1=1.75 Singapore Dollar)

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Sg_Review@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Robert HO
        Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2006 11:02 AM
        To: confirm-s2-lEUNYD=BeVewAnexElTtTjf8V8o-robert.ho.ic019=gmail.com@yahoogroups.com; confirm-s2-T=mwvAAoBqUfXH1XbZszpdBwNXI-robert.ho.ic019=gmail.com@yahoogroups.com; dahkong@...; info@...; leemaychu@...; lexlasry@...; sfd@...; singaporeusembassy@...; tessensohn@...; theoptical@...; ti@...; Anthony Heng; ARDA; Bernadette YimTang; British BroadcastingCorporation; CC ChenSpore; CHIAM See Tong, MP; Daniel Ng; Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad BADAWI Perdana Menteri; David DUCLOS; David Wingfield; Dr.Wilson HCTang; Esther Siew May LIM; Frances Woon; Francis T SEOW; Frederick Dow; Free Speech Singapore; Gek Noi HO; Goh Meng Seng; Han Shih LEE; Ho, Gek Noi GN; Hock Lee KOH; Hon.Emily LauHongKongFrontier; Hong KongSouthChinaMorningPost; J B Jeyaratnam; James GOMEZ; Jason Yoke Hoong HO; Jeffrey Ho; John BHarding; Just SEMPER; Karen SiewDanHo; Kin Yong KOU; Kin Yu LAM; Lee Ching Wern; LEE Eng Chuan; LOW Thia Khiang; M Ravi; Meng Seng GOH; Michael Backman; Ms.Soo KimRosch; National Solidarity Party; Philip JEYARETNAM S.C.; Phua; Robert HO; Robert HO; Saw Family; Sew Lun CHEN; SG Review; Shin Leong YAW; SilentAssassin; Sinapan Samydorai; Singabloodypore; Siok Chin CHEE; Soon Juan CHEE Dr; Stephan Ortmann; Steve CHIA [NCMP]; Straits TimesSingapore; Suan LiangChan; Sunny, Kin Wah KOU; Susan CH&#39,ngHungYong; Sylvia LIM; Sylvia NgSpore; syntaxerreur; The Ambassador; The Ambassador; TON; Tong Ming SEE Martyn; Uncle YAP; Wei Wen HO; yawning_bread; Yoke Peng LAM
        Subject: [Sg_Review] Keeping Singapore safe for whose families?

        Yawning Bread. June 2006

        Keeping Singapore safe for families


            

         

         

        There is a 14-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister who do not know that they'll be without a father starting next week. Their father -- let's call him Chester -- expects to be sent to jail for 6 to 8 months.

        The two kids don't really have a mother. She walked out of the family years ago and Chester has largely raised his children single-handedly with a bit of help from his mother and sister.

        "How are your kids doing in school?" I asked Chester.

        "The boy's OK," he said, "but the girl -– she needs pushing. If you don't push her, she won't do anything."

        "Who's going to look after them when you're away?"

        "My sister will help out."

        But he hasn't told his family yet.

        He seemed to have made some arrangements with a friend to provide for the family financially, but I didn't enquire about the details or whether it would be sufficient. My mind was wrapped around the risk that the kids would suffer emotionally and be prey to bad influences.

        Chester himself didn't do well when he was in school. Without much of an education, he got mixed up with secret societies [1] when young. He still has tattoos to show for those years.

        He got out of it somehow and unless he told you, you'd never guess he was ever the gangster type. He's mild-mannered and quick at witty repartee, yet comes across as a lot more mature and emotionally well-adjusted than the company he keeps.

        But the fact remains that without academic qualifications, it's a struggle earning a living in Singapore. And when one is stuck in low-paying jobs with a family to support, the temptation to supplement one's income with lucrative side-businesses is compelling.

        What does one do when one has children to support and no wife to help out? You salute the man for never abandoning his kids, but you also have to understand that there aren't a lot of choices when it comes to making some extra money.

        * * * * *

        One of those lucrative businesses has been in the news lately. 30-year-old Yu Hongjin was found murdered on 18 June 2006 in a massage parlour. Beside her lay a man who was injured and bleeding but who has been charged with her murder.

        Yu came to Singapore from China about 4 years ago as a "study mama". In Singapore-speak, that's a mother who accompanies her child here, in order to enroll the child in a Singapore school. She gets a long-stay permit, but isn't permitted to work for the first 12 months. Even after that, there are restrictions to what employment she can take up. According to newspaper reports, there are hardly any jobs that pay enough to support mother and child, let alone pay the school fees. Hardly any legitimate jobs, that is.

        But there is a huge industry that sucks up the pool of "study mamas": massage and foot reflexology. Not only is there seldom any hard distinction between the two, they often lead to sexual services as well.

        These are jobs that very few Singaporeans would do, yet there is great demand for such services. In fact, though our mainstream press doesn't speculate on this, I have a strong suspicion that the main motivation for these families coming to Singapore isn't a better education for the child, but a better income for the family. The child is enrolled in a Singapore school for the purpose of getting a long-stay visa for the mother.

        However, since such businesses must operate in legal shadows, Singaporeans are needed as frontmen to register the businesses, sign the tenancy agreements, maybe even to canvass for customers (i.e. pimping). In return they get a cut from the income generated.

        Moreover, the market demands younger, slimmer women than mothers of 10-year-olds, so there is pressure to hire other women from China, who aren't here as "study mamas". Some of them may be here on "social visit" (tourist) visas; others may be overstayers -- in other words, illegal immigrants.

        How involved in the day-to-day running of the operations the Singaporean frontmen are varies a great deal from one business to another, but the general principle is that they take their share of the profits in return for risk.

        Chester got caught for having one such illegal China girl under his wing. He claims she duped him about her true status using false documents, but to be honest (and even though he's my friend), I don't how if he had some suspicion yet chose to overlook it.

        (Just in case you're wondering, no, he's not involved in that particular case with the murder.)

        The long and short of it is that there is no escaping jail, and for his son and daughter, there's going to be emotional trauma, social stigma and maybe even financial distress.

        * * * * *

        There are two aspects of the "China girl" industry: sexual services and overstaying.

        Generally, our government has been rather tolerant about sex-related industries unless bars and massage parlours begin to colonise districts such as Joo Chiat where the upper middle-class have purchased expensive properties. Then the hue and cry about keeping these districts "safe for families" tend to become irresistible.

        But what this story tells you is that even pimps and their girls have families, and very often, the adults do what they do because they have no other way of providing for their loved ones. It's a common danger that we often fall into, to see the world from a bourgeois viewpoint and to see the bourgeois interest as the only one worth protecting. We use the instruments of the state to protect property values more than we think about providing opportunities to those excluded from our paper-qualification class system.

        Keep Singapore safe for raising children, goes the cry. But whose children? Sweep away the low life, goes another cry. And let their children starve?

        What is "safe" for one family is unsafe for another.

        The other aspect is that of controlling illegal immigration. I can understand that Singapore cannot be a free-for-all; we'd be swamped in no time. The solution, as practised quite smoothly, is a liberal work permit regime. This is the case for domestic maids, construction workers and other fields, wherever there is a shortage of domestic labour, though having said that, our regulations are often so biased in favour of employers (the bourgeoisie again) that too many of them get away with unconscionable treatment of their employees [2].

        But when it comes to foreigners providing sexual services, there is no work permit scheme, even though the demand is most definitely there.

        Why not? The only difference from other sectors seems to be sex.

        Shouldn't we ask ourselves, what is so horrible about sex? Are we trying to impose sectarian religious morality through the instruments of a secular state?

        We have, virtually, a blanket ban against the provision of sexual services by foreigners. Yet, since the demand for sex is huge, the industry continues, even though every step of it is illicit. Women break their "study mama" conditions. Other women overstay because there isn't a chance in hell of getting a work permit for providing "massage" and erotic services. The pimps are considered accessories to prostitution or guilty of harbouring illegal aliens. Landlords and secret society gangsters have all the more reason to extort from the weak.

        Why can't we have a more enlightened system? Why so dogmatic?

        Why do we create conditions where 14-year-olds and 11-year-olds are left parentless and put at risk of dropping out of school, perpetuating the cycle of exclusion?

        Some will no doubt wish to say fathers shouldn't set such bad examples for their kids by being involved in sex businesses. Those dads only have themselves to blame.

        To them, I'd say: Don't. Don't mount your high horse until you have a solution for men like Chester to earn a decent wage. Chester, for example, has been nothing but a devoted father.

        Do you care more for the dogma of "morality" or for precious lives? I have no patience for people who see the world in black and white.

        © Yawning Bread 


         


        Footnotes

        1. "Secret societies" is the term we use in Singapore for the local mafia.
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        2. See also the article Inhumanity towards maids 
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        Addenda

        None

         


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