From ‘Sembawang raid:Forest by day, brothel by night’, 16 March 2013, article by Wang TianJie, TNP
The dense forest along Sembawang Drive looked innocent enough in the day. But come nightfall, dozens of women allegedly offered paid sex in a makeshift brothel amid the trees. The brothel was discovered in the forested area along Sembawang Drive in the direction of Admiralty Road. It was about a kilometre away from Cochrane Lodge Two, a workers’ dormitory.
On Tuesday, at about 10pm, the illicit activities came to an abrupt end when police officers raided the brothel and arrested about 40 men and 10 women. The women, mostly clad in revealing tops and skimpy shorts, were led away to police cars. Several of the men were topless when arrested.
When reporters from Shin Min Daily News visited the scene on the same day, the grassy area where the arrests were made was in a state of disarray. The ground was littered with tissue paper, water bottles and open condom wrappers.
Tarpaulin sheets were hung up to create three small rooms in the makeshift brothel. Each “cubicle” was further divided into three to five sections of about four square metres each. Thin mattresses were laid on the sandy ground in each section.
Stories about illicit sex in the wild are a New Paper specialty. In 2009, a similar open-air brothel was raided somewhere in Woodlands, where the state of amenities made the Sembawang one look luxurious in comparison. Instead of mattresses, this brothel offered CARDBOARDS as makeshift beds. It was also set up in the Kwong Hou Sua CEMETERY. If kinky open-air sex among the dead is your kind of thing, then this was the place to be. A foreign worker who stumbled upon the site told the reporter that ‘his colleagues have been COMING (for the girls’ services) for the past two months. This guy was there to pluck durians. In the middle of the night. He could have killed someone if he ever dropped the King of Fruits into an occupied cubicle.
Another hotspot is Lim Chu Kang in 2008, where tents big enough to house 10 people were erected in forested areas less than 100m from the main road. In 2010, TNP again exposed a sex den in Yishun (again located near northern Singapore), where the pimp charged $20 for a ‘short time service’ lasting no longer than 10 minutes. That’s just $8 more than my 10 minute haircut at QB House. I wonder how much of that time is spent lighting mosquito coils or swiping red ants off of your groin. For a budget brothel, you can’t expect to be put in the mood for love. No frollicking among daisies and lavender, nor blankets to cuddle in. You only have the stars above and a disgusting sheet separating your naked body from the soil and worms below. Time is of the essence, even if it feels like sex on a bed of nails.
Our foreign workers don’t mind such no-frills prostitution, of course. A 2008 survey found that an astonishing 50% of Thai construction workers visited Geylang while 10% went for the budget alternative. To many who frequent such places, sex is a treat after a hard day of physical labour, even if it means cheating on your wife back home. But getting caught with your pants down in the bushes on your off day is a small matter compared to other more serious social issues involving foreign workers caught in sexual relationships. Like murder for instance. Perhaps it’s about time the ST sent their reporters into the woods for a change, instead of TNP having a field day with such vice raids all the time.
With more green spaces and cemeteries being squeezed out, forest brothels may become a thing of the past. There’s a chance our foreign workers may flock in even higher numbers to various beaches gawking at women in bikinis, while the rest consider their options with our red light districts where one can indulge with at least a roof over their heads. But why risk dengue romping in the woods off Lim Chu Kang road, or upsetting spirits by leaving bodily fluids all over their graves? If one is having sex by the barest of moonlight, you might as well hump a lubricated tree trunk with a hole in it for free. Just make sure you check for termites first.
If MOM doesn’t do something to keep our foreign workers entertained beyond carnal pleasures, even our locals’ favourite sex haunts, the carparks, the stairwells, the gazebo in the park, may be overrun with condoms, used tissue and army groundsheets in no time (There’s still hope for Beach Road army shops). I also realise there is a candidate for worst job in the world: Picking up this filthy mess at forest brothels after a raid. But I suppose you’d only get a foreign worker to do that sort of thing, wouldn’t you?