I have about 3 posts I’ve been planning on writing about my 2 months in Singapore (it will be 2 months next week). But I’ll do the most obvious first because it’s the one people seem most curious about.

legality

First, the boring legal stuff. As far as I can tell with very minimal research, sex for money is legal in Singapore if done by licensed, medically-checked prostitutes in certain areas. Soliciting is illegal otherwise. However, it is quite all right to sell your time as an entertainer or “social escort.” This becomes very obvious if you take a look at the myriad of agency sites online. There are hundreds of agencies and five indies, including myself. I interviewed with a nice agency but they’ve never thrown me any work so…doing it on my own.

There are many options for a girl to work. You can stand on the streets in Geylang or work in one of its licensed brothels. You can work in a KTV club (karaoke/TV bar). You can walk Orchard Road (not all that recommended), work in Orchard Towers (commonly referred to as “four floors of whores”) or the nearby Brix nightclub. (Haven’t hit Brix yet, but I will fortify myself one night with a Red Bull and go in just for grins and maybe some money.) I’ve seen women working the street in Little India (well, okay, it was just two women on different nights). I’ve heard a rumor that a lot of the women working in Orchard Towers have their yellow medical cards.

I’ve asked around and it seems that there are more than a few bars/nightclubs known as pickup spots. The rest of the city seems to be fairly hooker-free. It seems that women are given some choice spots to do their thing so they leave the rest of the city alone. Though I do see random women on the streets in various locations, everything seems to be kept very low-key.

And then there’s the whole Internet. Steering clear of sex for money means one is left alone to pursue their destiny. I like that. Frankly, the police in Singapore are more worried about drug trafficking and terrorist activity than adults having sex for money or dinner or a pseudo-relationship or whatever. They may well be the first police I’ve encountered to have their priorities straight.

online work

Since sex work is basically decriminalized in Singapore, I feel safe here. Not quite as work-safe as in the UK but safe enough. I still do not refer to sex and discourage anyone who tries to talk about it.

I started off here offering outcall-only (I’ve preferred this low-overhead method since I started working in Las Vegas). The demand for incall grew so I rented a decent hotel room in the middle of town (as opposed to the trick hotels I was happily living in in Geylang) and offered incall. The response was good but eventually became burdensome. I was sometimes working just to pay for the damn hotel. Since I have a place to stay in Singapore, the hotel was unnecessary overhead. So now I’ve jettisoned it and raised my minimum to 2hrs. My rates haven’t changed, only the time-minimum has. If the client wants an incall, he is responsible for booking the room himself. This avoids a lot of problems for me, namely no-call no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

Unlike the UK, I’ve had very few NCNS but a rash of last-minute cancellations. Once again, the decriminalized system has this downside. Because I don’t do any screening (not much need), the clients aren’t invested if they flake off. As always, I keep a bad client list. My UK list was much longer but still, it’s annoying: lost money and lost time.

CraigsList and Expatriates are really good for posting. I’ve gotten more than a few boyfriend/drink offers off CL. I draw two possible conclusions from this. 1) Guys are stupid (if you want a traditional date, try the Personals section, not the Erotic Services section). 2) The Asian culture of bar girls and professional girlfriends/sugar babies has skewed things so that a guy thinks offering me an evening of drinks with maybe the hope of payment is something I’m interested in. Needless to say, I’m not. Independence means much more than simply not working for a pimp.

cultural stuff

As an American, I’m a rarity. As an indie, I’m a rarity. As an articulate English-speaker, I’m a rarity. Most of the time this is a good thing. Sometimes it’s not; like when I’ve seen a couple very curious locals who were so nervous they could barely make eye contact or speak much English. I’m not sure what they were seeking and so I ended up feeling like I failed at my job. Frustrating, but not their fault.

I can’t wait to get to Australia for real. It’s true: Aussies and Americans have an ongoing love affair. We just seem to appeal to each other and get along well.

Because of the heavy Asian sex worker population here, many of the expat clients I meet are sick of the bar scene and are thrilled to talk to someone not only here of their own volition but also someone they can carry a conversation with and exchange ideas.

Chinese sex workers are at the top of the food chain, far as I can tell. Indians and Malays seem to be at the bottom. But again, these are my hazy observations. There is certainly prejudice and hierarchy here.

The most beautiful women at Orchard Towers are all stationed at the fourth floor: the ladyboys. They are lovely!

Asian culture is does not have Western-Christian roots. Buddhism and Hinduism does not really stigmatize sex work or sex. Sex workers are simply following their path in life. May not be all that approved, but neither are they demonized. They’re just more like slightly embarrassing relatives and a bit socially messy.

Transsexuals, on the other hand, are seen as special and I’ve been told that boys showing these traits are encouraged along that path. Which might explain why there are so many ladyboys in Asia. That, and physically-speaking, they have a much easier job of switching genders than rugged, hairy Western men.

So far it seems the Internet yields the most buck for my bang. But then, I’ve worked in a nightclub long enough that I’m no longer willing to spend my evenings hanging out in one anymore (for fun or for profit) but I will push myself to expand my horizons. I fully intend on sampling the sex work carnival that is Singapore when I return. It seems like too much safe fun to miss. Except for KTV bars. I cannot sing and I cannot sing in Chinese. I think that avenue is closed for me.

Oddly, all this sex work contrasts heavily with the normal socio-sexual lives of Singaporeans, which reminds me very much of America in the 1950s.

I’ve had a number of clients comment that I’m younger-looking, slimmer and prettier in person. While it’s great to hear that, I’m wondering if my taste in photographers is that bad! I don’t think so at all; honestly, I’m really not that photogenic. They do the best they can and I think my newest photos are great. Oh well, always better to pleasantly surprise someone than the other way around.

This is a quick post and it’s late so I’m tired. Please ask questions I haven’t addressed here!

22 thoughts on “working in Singapore

  1. Amanda,

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks now and I really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    My two cents on the photo issue you’ve had is that it might be your poses rather than the photographer. In my experience erotic poses/expresions can make a woman look a bit older. The woman I’ve been seeing for the last few months has several different shots on her website and the ones with her smiling are the closest to what she looks like in person.
    Also don’t discount personality, a great personality can take away the marks of aging better than any plastic surgeon. Not that you have any, from your pics on this site, I had guessed you were in your 20s before I saw someone wishing you a happy 34th birthday.

    Hope you have fun in Australia, hope you blog about it, that is one place I’ve always wanted to go.

    Tom

  2. I am bi-continental, living 50/50 on the Mediterranean and the Pacific NW. I have often considered tangling the sheets with a broader cultural spectrum.

    In Europe I use Expat, Craigs, and Punt to advertise my website. In the states, Eros and Backpage.

    What are your preferred online websites for getting your name out there, in the States, Europa, but and especially all the other “unknown” to me cultures?

  3. Tom,

    Nice to have you here. Hmm…”erotic” expressions as aging? Possibly. I personally think I look my best in photos with a smile but then, I don’t want to just have a big ol grin in every photo. Sigh — I’m not a professional model and it shows. But thank you for the compliment! Yes, I am 34 — for better or worse. Photos don’t go a good job of conveying the sparkle in my eye when you tell a good joke, for instance.

    Will certainly blog about Australia! I’ve wanted to go since I was 12 and saw The Man From Snowy River. I can’t wait!!!

    Silvia,

    In the States, I use Eros, Date-Check, Preferred411. And there are regional boards/lists/sites too. And it never hurts to start banner exchanges with escorts you meet along the way. Punt can work in the States too.

    As for everywhere else, I do a lot of online research. LOTS of local Google searches, finding indies, following their links, looking for discussion groups, finding regional classifieds and researching the offline scene as well. It is somewhat ironic the amount of time I’ll spend online researching the offline scene!

    There is no single global advertising resource. It’s always a new round every time as every region, every city has some sites stronger than others (even in the US) or new sites altogether or…and I know this is going to happen…no sites at all. This is when SEO on your site comes in handy!

    XX

  4. Well, I have a non-work question: Have you done any good shopping yet? In my Chinese art history class the professor was telling us how to tell genuine jade from the various fakes passed off on unsuspecting tourists: have a steel blade (prof used a Swiss Army knife as example) and ask if you can scratch it. Con artists will refuse to let you do this…jade is one of the hardest stones out there, almost as hard as or hard as a diamond so it’s difficult to scratch jade and a steel blade won’t do it. That’s according to my professor.

  5. Just saw your post and the part on the KTV bars. The traditional KTV bars with the female hostesses are very male-oriented and priced that way. They’re smoky places filled with mostly older men, I don’t think you’d enjoy that very much!

    If/when you get to Japan, would highly recommend that you visit the host clubs for a surreal experience (am sure that would be a mutual sentiment though 🙂 )

  6. Aspasia,

    Haven’t done any serious shopping. I hear there are better bargains in Asia than in Singapore. I had NO idea about the jade-test! Thanks for letting me know! I do plan on buying some jade and I’m going to be very careful because I didn’t realize there was fake jade (should’ve realized it though).

    Anne,

    Yes, the KTV bars here sounded a lot like strip clubs in the US (smoky, noisy, drinking) and that’s really nothing I want to deal with anymore. I, and a couple of girlfriends here in the US, have been curious about host clubs! I certainly want to go to one when I’m in Japan.

    Maybe you can recommend one? Have you been?

    XX

  7. When you get to Australia do you plan on working as an indie or in a brothel? I’ve been interested in brothel work, but I can’t seem to get a consistent story on what you need in order to do so or even what its like? I’ve heard that you need a working visa and I’ve also heard that you don’t need any paperwork at all.

  8. Sequoia,

    I’m going to try the agency and brothel routes but because of the legal requirements of working in a brothel, not sure that I can do that. I know one person who says they have worked in a brothel there, so I will be talking to them before I do the trip.

    And advertising as an indie — always.

    I also think it depends on the state. Each state in Australia has very different rules.

    XX

  9. Hi Amanda – obviously, I found your blog. lol. First, I’d like to address your dialogue with Tom. As a professional boudoir photographer, I like to think that my eye is more ‘critical’ than the next person. However, what counts is what appeals to the audience no matter how I describe my eye. I must confess that I am generally bored to tears when looking at the galleries of other companions. Even my work bores me on occassion and my fiance has a hissy fit about it. However, there are 2 ladies who’s images I thoroughly enjoy and actually study them. Yes, that’s right. Historically, artists learn from other artists and I humbly do the same. They are: http://www.silvianue.com and http://www.texasgoldengirl.ne( I found Silvia through the website of Will Santillo, another amazing photographer). Why? While these 2 ladies could not have more contrasting styles, they are both intriguing and dead on with reflecting their personalities. Silvia is thee most authentically, exotic woman I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t have a ‘perfect’ body in the ‘barbie’ sense but she’s clearly at peace with her sensuality. I’d die to photograph her. Amanda’s images are refreshingly natural and don’t try to hard. Here everyone, is the key to modern art and yes, photography: allowing your art to do what it wants. Amanda, through your images it is clear who you are. Enough blabbing.

    I used to travel to Zurich, Switzerland quite a bit and spent time with a diverse crowd, mostly who lived in Singapore. This was I’d say about 4 years ago. The buzz was that Singapore is the hip place to be. What say you?

    Lastly, my blog topics are quite different. I try to address issues that are of interest to companions. I think I’m going to diversify.

  10. Meeshee,

    I’m glad you like my photos, that’s credit to my photographers. I have the idea, they do the hard work of carrying it out. Because yes — I’ve very bored with the typical photos on escort galleries. Some are breaking out of the mold, most are not.

    Not sure how “hip” Singapore is or isn’t. There are certainly trendy young people there, just like anywhere. I’m not one of them! I usually hang out amongst the local locals and they don’t do much beyond have a beer with dinner at the food stalls and dress like they put on whatever fell out of the closet onto them. Singapore’s a very nice place and I like it a lot. But I’m the last person to be able to judge a place’s hipness!

    Expand your blog! No one ever says you have to blog about certain topics and stay there!

    XX

  11. I’m a little behind on my blog reader, but I have been so curious about the legalities in Singapore the whole time you’ve been posting on your Twitter. I guess I had a much different idea since the governement seems to be quite restricted in other ways, but not towards prostitution. I wish our police (especially in Vegas) would get the point too and chase after the true criminals than us. Seems never ending these days…

    Good luck on your travels and I hope Australia turns out to be better for you! I am confused on how their regulations work in their brothels and indie escorts.

  12. LV Courtesan,

    The legalities aren’t quite as wide open as one might think. BUT…they also have a very relaxed approach to enforcing the laws. It never hurts to be discreet either.

    Their government might be strict in many ways, but it’s created a very safe country. I’m quite okay with it, really. So are many of the Westerners who have lived there for years. The main gripe is the cost of owning a car and the cost of goods (since it’s an island, everything must be imported). As far as I can tell, Singapore does not send its police forces to harrass citizens but to actually prevent and solve crime. What a novel way to approach law enforcement!

    Singapore does have active censorship, though I’ve yet to have a problem visiting any escort sites. Seems that policitcal issues are censored, not much else.

    I’ll report on Oz when I get there. It really does depend on which state you’re talking about. Kind of like American and strip clubs! All the rules vary by location.

    XX

  13. I do wonder what the kink factor is in Singapore. I also wonder if there is a market for larger women. Since it seems as if the people there are rather meak, gosh I wouldn’t wish to scare anyone! 😉

    I’m sure though, as with most places, there is a market for all types of women.

    Just curious about your observations. And thanks!

    Hugs,
    Elisabeth

  14. Elisabeth,

    You would wonder about the kink factor! 😉

    There is certainly some kink out here — submissive men and the like (though don’t expect submissive men to actually read your website before contacting you asking their questions). I don’t know about larger women — not only does everyone look larger than Asians by comparaision, it does skew perception of what’s “big.” You never know until you try, but it could be a rather expensive gamble.

    Like any English-speaker, you’ll get expats. The locals you would get would probably be more fetishy, though I guess you won’t mind that!

    Ultimately, I don’t know. You would be a niche of one — which could be very good for you.

    XX

  15. good afternoon,

    hi.i am flying to singapore next week and want to work there as escort but i want to work online.please tell me whats the best and very effective website in singapore wherein i can post my service?i came back in philippines only last thursday from dubai and worked there as a bar girl escort but i had a problem with arabic guy who was always waiting in front of my workplace and did many bad and scary things on me just for free service thats why i decided to go back in manila and find for other country to go for work.i never been in any country aside from dubai and my hometown manila,so next week i will be in singapore.i am excited and also a little bit scared becoz im thinking what will be my future there as escort.hehehe.i hope online posting of escort service in singapore is ok.also i want to ask if the police arrest those who post online for escort service?please email me for your response at rhianas_Pic@yahoo.com.thank you very much!

    your’s,
    sarah kay

  16. Sarah,

    Darling, I’m not going to tell you how to work, especially not while you’re crossing international borders. Perhaps you might re-read this post and the comments again.

    Research, research, research. I do it all the time. You can too.

    XX

  17. Hi i read your blog , what i can say its depends on girl , pictures and services like everywhere.
    I was in Australia men loves me and i am not even american LOL :DDDDD haha
    Its not depends from which country you are its your personality , looks and services that can drive men crazy about you not nationality .LOL

    If your personality is welcoming and you have nice smile and you are good person men will love that .
    x

    1. Ana — Well of course it depends on the girl. I wrote a 400-page book on that very topic.

      But…Aussies really liked my Americanness. Doesn’t mean they don’t like any other type of girl or that they can’t also like some other girl’s foreign qualities too. People like having sex with someone from other countries, someone “different.” I just found a particularly good fit with Australian men, is all.

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