WEIGHT: 62 kg
Sex services: For family couples, Striptease amateur, Rimming (receiving), Strap-ons, Humiliation (giving)
Lunchtime is when this back alley is busiest. Some doors have notices pasted on them informing customers that the women they belong to are overseas, and all around are posters detailing reminders to practise safe sex with a condom. They are printed in all four languages just in case the public service announcement gets lost in translation. One particular corridor, dimly lit by a red lamp that is supposed to evoke both desire and eroticism, is so narrow that I have to press myself against the wall to let a customer exit before I can venture further.
The walls are so stained that instead of memories of the film Eyes Wide Shut , all I get are flashbacks from the horror video game Silent Hill. Men enter one by one to inspect the rooms, sometimes locking doors behind them. They note my presence with a quick glance, but pay no further attention, moving quickly with purpose. Flanked by condominiums, City Square Mall, and sandwiched between two redevelopment projects, this dilapidated row of shophouses sticks out like weed in an increasingly gentrified area.
Save for a convenience store, the signboards of a physiotherapy clinic, and a law firm on the other side of the building, the shophouse units are nondescript. Despite this, the back alley where the brothels are located sees a steady stream of foot traffic every day. She laughs, before gamely entertaining my questions about her work at Petain Road. At 40, Hui is already considered one of the younger prostitutes here.
I have to pay rents for this room and my own room in Geylang where I stay. In recent months, business in Petain Road has been particularly bad; the number of customers that she receives has fallen by half, and she is only barely making ends meet.
To compound her troubles, the special license that grants Hui the authorisation to ply the sex trade legally also prevents her from working in any other industry, killing any hope of earning additional income. Operating elsewhere would lead to deportation.