You and I do housework the same with the exception of I tend to clean in a bikini because no matter how much I run my air con, 25C is as low as I can cool our spacious condo. I have surprised more than one delivery man when they ring the bell of a 40 something, sweat covered, crazy lady in a fuchsia bikini. I refuse to get a maid so "Sweat, Swimming Suit, and Sweeping" is going to be my newly released exercise DVD. Look out Billy Banks because my workout regime is going to go Tae-Bo on your spandex ass.
Finally I have a story worthy enough to share. R2 and I made a pact to try new clubs, restaurants and sites at least two times per week, and so far, we have overshot this target. We are always on the go, whether to Haji Lane in the Arab area, to Clarke Quay to watch the tourists, for walks on the beach or exhausting bike rides on the hundreds of kilometres of bike paths in this country. Each day is a mystery; sometimes I am screaming when I see a rat, sometimes he is annihilating cockroaches before I discover them and sometimes we are just enjoying not wearing toques and mittens, in our rooftop hot tub.
On this particular night, we decided to take in the Year of the Dragon festivities in Chinatown. I am not certain why this area is called Chinatown when the country is eighty per cent Chinese but who am I to argue? It is a cool, entertaining area to hang out and people watch.
We got rockstar seating at a quaint seafood restaurant and dove into a delicious helping of Chilli Crab - one of the local dishes made famous in Singapore. While digging out the meat we began to play our favourite people watching game, "Gay or Straight," "Real or Fake," or "Why is that Gorgeous Girl with that Homely Guy."
Once we devoured the final shred of crab, wiped the sauce off our faces and licked our fingers clean, we decided to see what else was happening in C-Town. We ventured off Pagoda Street and wound our way through the dim, semi-deserted streets. It wasn't long until we happened upon a section of CT unbeknownst to us.
We discovered antique shophouses that had been converted to trendy restaurants, luxury condos, gay bars, and eclectic boutiques; boutiques I will return to with R2's Platinum card, but not R2.
We heard a band playing some mean blues in a run down tavern so we decided to investigate. We walked into a funky bar with Led Zeppelin, Stones and Hendrix adorning the walls from end to end. We grabbed a drink and the last table in the joint. It was full of white guys, Asian women and us.
"Hey, wait a minute. Why is that attractive, young lady dancing with that overfed, clammy Englishman? Why am I the only pasty, white woman in this bar? Why is that same Asian lady snogging the old fossil on the dance floor?" These are questions racing through my mind as we enjoy a little blues and rock 'n roll for the first time in months.
On my last visit to Singy, I read in the paper about clubs that hire men or women to chat up, flirt, and get boozy clients to buy them drinks, so it was all coming back to me, except I was seeing it happen before my eyes. These ladies, it turns out are from the Philippines, at least in this particular bar. I am not certain they are used to dressing in such a come-hither manner because I saw one lady fall off her platform shoes at least three times while grinding on a Indian who resembled a dancing Elaine from Seinfeld.
After a little research I found the ladies are hired to come to Singapore to either freelance in a bar, or the owner flies them over, holds their passport until they pay back their flight, charges them for room and board and they often never make enough money to send home. They can only stay a short period of time and then must return to their own countries or face deportation from Singapore. Many times, the women are much older than they appear but inebriated, dense, cheating blokes can't usually tell the difference.
The ladies are paid to liaise with the men and get them to buy their drinks, but the catch is, the man's drink is $10 while her same drink can be anywhere from $30-$100. She will try to convince the man to buy the most expensive beverage because she gets a commission. Her target is to have him buy 15 or more drinks and if he quits buying, she just moves to the next sucker. Often two or more of her friends hit on the same man so he buys more drinks for everyone. At the end of the evening, he better have a lot of dough in his pocket when his tab in in the hundred of dollars. Even with this many drinks in her system, she gets so used to drinking, it barely affects her.
At first I felt sorry for the women but after more research, I learned many of these women make more cash than the tourists and ex-pats they dupe. Often the old men fall for the young women, but the truth is, they are hustling you only for the money. They can't stop working because they have a debt to repay to the bar owner and if you become their "boyfriend," they have five more behind you also paying her bills.
These women are not prostitutes but if the money is right and you spend enough on drinks during the night, anything can happen. If money is no object, neither are their actions. There are different levels of "Buy Me Drink Girls,"and it is all over the internet on what they do and don't do, if you are so inclined to research this, as I was. This activity is prevalent in Asian countries, but I thought Singapore was too puritan for that, boy, was I wrong!
For me, it was a captivating time observing the ladies in action. Because I was sober, I could tell they had been around the block several times. I could see the tell-tale signs of baby mamas in their figures, their lack of polish in their cheaply made clothes and shoes they had no idea how to walk in, but to the fifty-something, desperate men, it made no difference. All the men think is they have a young, pretty girl acting like they are all that, and not some drunk-as- a-lord, pathetic tosser. Believe me, you are just a dollar sign to the women. These women, more often than not have husbands, and children back home that they are supporting and you are just a cash register to them.
We didn't stay long because the action in the bar was getting too much for us. One of the funniest things we saw was when a hammered Aussie kept giving me a boozy, sloppy winky-smile. From my location he couldn't see R2. I think he was pissed as a newt and thought I was 8 inches shorter, my curly red hair magically turned into black, straight, long, flowing hair and my skin colour changed from the white tone I sport year round to a Filipino shade. I was so disgusted by this sloth, I would have to be blind drunk on tequila and hopped up on any drug (which aren't legal in Singapore) to even find this guy mildly hideous. Guess I would make a horrible "Buy Me Drink" hostess girl.
We have booked for Thailand in the near future, I wonder what will be in store for us there?