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Field Report: Exploring the Four Floors of Whores ("Orchard Tower", Singapore)

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I'm reposting this from the Singapore discussion page, as the thread has descended into shit-talking about Supreme key chains and what not. Then again, this report is quite a descent as well....

Wrote this back in late 2005....after a quick trip to Singapore...

Just got back to BKK after a two day visit to one of the most modern cities in SE Asia. I didn't initially know what to expect from Singapore, but it left quite an impression on me. Amid the humidity and tropical trees and plants you'd expect to find in SE Asia lies a city as clean as Charlotte, NC and brim with US stores like Borders Books and Music, Starbucks, and Toys R Us. Globalization in all of its glory. The sidewalks lining Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping promenade, are filled with faces from Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, USA, Mainland China, Japan, and other countries around the world. Actually the city reminded me a lot of DC with so many ethnicities milling together in one big salad bowl.

During my one night in Singapore, I met two American executives working for a US-based contact lens manufacturer. They had taken the 40 min boat ride from Bhutan, Indonesia, where they operate one of the firm's business units. One of the expats, Tim, in his mid-forties, had made numerous excursions to Singapore for the last 10 years. The other expat, Carl, recently arrived in Asia during the last month. Tim explained that the Singapore's "nightlife of ill-repute" centered on a random building officially known as Orchard Towers that sat right on the main strip. Unofficially, the building was also known as the "Four Floors of Whores."

By day, Orchard Towers houses numerous overcrowded electronic stores hocking digital cameras, laptops, plasma screens, and DVD players. As a side note, these shops are more along the lines of the Ali's Electronics you'd find on West 34th Street (NYC) rather than the Bang and Olufsson or the Bose Boutique in Tyson's Corner(DC). Among the other drug stores, cheap clothing shops, and phone card kiosks in the Tower, you'll also find several bars with names like Country Road, Crazy Horse, and Ipanema. During daylight hours, each bar looks deserted with extinguished neon tubes aligning the windows. At dusk once the sheet metal screens come down over the store entrances, the Tower turns into quite a unregulated night spot in a very regulated city.

A steady stream of Western men simultaneously enter and exit the infamous Tower, according to Tim, until 4am. Until then most enter in groups and then later leave paired with female in hand. Apparently, the quality of women (and $$$ to play) increases with each floor level. We decide to make a round robin walkthru of a few bars on each floor. On the second floor we hit Country Road which sports the obvious and cliched Western theme strangely popular in Asia. We make a quick walk through the mostly empty bar and rodeo competition on a plasma screen and exit into the next bar: Ipanema.

This cavernous den on the third floor boomed with activity. Inside women of all nationalities immediately make eye contact with you. All of them are on two to three week tourist visas from Malaysia, Thailand, Russia, Portugal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bulgaria, or Romania and all are vying for a share of expat dollars flowing through the greater Singapore economy. The price is $200SG or about $110US for all night back at your hotel. Walking through Ipanema with Tim and Carl, I am approached by a pretty Vietnamese girl. Her name is May and she arrived two days ago. May latches on like a vise and is determined to find her bed for the evening. I quickly motion that I'm with my friends and try to nicely disengage her as she finally leaves me alone. Tim erupts in laughter and tells me to be careful. Sunday is a slow night and the women start to get ultra competitive.

Next stop is Crazy Horse on the Fourth Floor. As soon we enter I realize what type of establishment have walked into. Unlike Carl, who has never been to Asia and represents the cliched-middle age-balding-nearsighted-cheaply dressed-overweight-American middle manager, I have seen plenty of ladyboys in BKK.

On first glance, the women are all tall and skinny and beautiful. But on closer examination something seems very unnatural. Their faces look almost plastic. Too plastic. Too pretty. They bodies are hairless and slender with large breasts and no Adam's apple. For some you have to look at their hands or feet to tell that they were formerly male. Unless you talk to them, their gender can be somtimes ambiguous. I've seen many drunk Westerners wandering off from Silom Road in BKK with ladyboys and I've often wondered if they were aware that the "hot" girl on their arm used to be fully equiped downstairs! As a guy, you take for granted your ability to differentiate between male and female. In the US, it's easy and often too ridiculously obvious of the tranny or transgender person working behind the counter. In Asia, sometimes it takes a few seconds or minutes to tell if that girl is really female or male (genetically).

Asia has a very tolerant attitude toward gays and transgender folks. This is further complicated by the fact that Asian men often are very thin and have androgynous features. It fucks with your head especially if on first glance you do a double take on what you thought was an attractive girl, only to realize that its a ladyboy. In some ways, you begin to question your own sexuality (also something you can take for granted). You ask yourself, "How can I be attracted to that? I'm straight." But looks can be deceiving. It's a girl but it's also not a girl. What does gender really mean? Does gender matter only genetically? Or does it matter only on a physical level. Genotype versus phenotype.

We stay in Crazy Horse for about a minute before quickly departing and entering the creme-de la creme spot, Top Ten. Inside we grab a few drinks as Tim approaches a blond Russian girl. I talk to a light-skinned Asian girl dancing to the live band covering Outkast's Hey Ya. She's Thai and from Bangkok and reminds me that she's here looking for work (as if it wasn't already painfully obvious). Sensing a lack of interest from my part on taking her back to my hotel, she moves on to a pack of Australian rugby players all sporting FBI t-shirts (with Female Body Inspector in large script). By now I realize I'd rather sleeping than wondering through Singapore's underground at 2:30 am and decide to call it a night. Tim and Carl, still wearing his wedding ring, are determined to find the "perfect" girls for the evening. I bid them farewell and make my way to the door.

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1. This post should be in other forums where it would be more appreciated.

2. OT is more of a joint for Westerners who are really green in Singapore. Tourists and sailors and GIs. Those who know whould go elsewhere. Although, if you are white, it would be difficult to go elsewhere for fun because many of these girls are reluctant to entertain westerners.

OT is very very different day vs night. In fact it is more bustling at night than day. Becareful though, there were murders and thefts and fights in OT.

3. US200 for whole night? I think thats too low. Most of the WL would score a customer and if there is time, come back to get another and another.

4. Asian tolerant of transgender and gays? I know Thailand is tolerant of transgender folks. They even have a beauty pageant for them but not so in Singapore. Many of these transgender folks are taller and bigger size than normal Asian men.

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always love your posts analyst. this kind of happens in some of the larger cities in china - you can ask cab drivers to take you to the "xiao jie" and if they're properly connected, they'll take you to a closed office building, have you wait while he goes inside, and they'll either let you in where there's a bunch of girls or they'll all pour out of the building.

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Great read, analyst. felt like i was there.

the genotype vs. phenotype argument always resonates. But I thought that adam's apple is always the dead giveaway? How is it removed?

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haha well written

doesnt really sound like my cup of tea.. im scared to death of trannies

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1. This post should be in other forums where it would be more appreciated.

2. OT is more of a joint for Westerners who are really green in Singapore. Tourists and sailors and GIs. Those who know whould go elsewhere. Although, if you are white, it would be difficult to go elsewhere for fun because many of these girls are reluctant to entertain westerners.

OT is very very different day vs night. In fact it is more bustling at night than day. Becareful though, there were murders and thefts and fights in OT.

3. US200 for whole night? I think thats too low. Most of the WL would score a customer and if there is time, come back to get another and another.

4. Asian tolerant of transgender and gays? I know Thailand is tolerant of transgender folks. They even have a beauty pageant for them but not so in Singapore. Many of these transgender folks are taller and bigger size than normal Asian men.

i think he said this was 2005, so prices have most likely gone up. and as far as the transgender thing goes, in my experience with asia, thailand is easily the most tolerant of gay/transgender.........it's not as open in the other countries.

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always love your posts analyst. this kind of happens in some of the larger cities in china - you can ask cab drivers to take you to the "xiao jie" and if they're properly connected, they'll take you to a closed office building, have you wait while he goes inside, and they'll either let you in where there's a bunch of girls or they'll all pour out of the building.

DongGuan in Guangzhou... literally @ the very very least, 200-300 girls per Karaoke spot... not to mention "flower st" and "salon st"

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i think he said this was 2005, so prices have most likely gone up. and as far as the transgender thing goes, in my experience with asia, thailand is easily the most tolerant of gay/transgender.........it's not as open in the other countries.

Dude, thats standard market price. Unlike oil, the price does not go up.

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Nice one Analyst.

This is more on the track of the vice oriented madness i was trying to get out of you in your last post. I would + rep again if i could dude, keep up the good posts.

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DongGuan in Guangzhou... literally @ the very very least, 200-300 girls per Karaoke spot... not to mention "flower st" and "salon st"

haha, missed this. i guess my friends were too nice to take me there, would have been interesting to see.

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haha, missed this. i guess my friends were too nice to take me there, would have been interesting to see.

Dude you should get yourself some new or better friends.

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haha, missed this. i guess my friends were too nice to take me there, would have been interesting to see.

Heard FoSan is good too... didnt get a chance to check it out though, Xia Chuan is nice, literally a fuck island... well... within the resort area of the island... kinda like TJ but less gangs, drugs, etc

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wow, good timing. i'm in bangkok.

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