Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The Sin In Singapore
Whether it was such an ad that led to the downfall of the principal from Pei Chun Public School is any body's guess. What we do know is that prostitution is legal in Singapore. Officially, places like Geylang are DRAs - Designated Red-light Areas - where presumably, a female in financial straits may sell access to her private portals to pay off the utility bills, town council charges, or the HDB 30-year mortgage. Males, unhappily, do not have the recourse. What they have is 377A.
The tricky part is that the marketing of the goods falls foul of the law e.g. pimping of the services is illegal (as is public solicitation). Wikipedia defines a pimp as an agent for prostitutes who collects part of their earnings, which amount to 60 to 70 percent of the $70 - $200 charge for "basic services" in the current Singapore context. The pimp may receive this money in return for advertising services, physical protection, or for providing (or in some cases monopolizing) a location where she may entertain her clients - such as budget hotels in Geylang, Balestier or Joo Chiat. Now, if the pimp chose to advertise the said services with Yellow Pages, will the latter be consider part and parcel of the modus operandi? Maybe someone should ask Mah Bow Tan, who is now Chairman of Global Yellow Pages Ltd. For all we know, all those shady budget hotels were built during his tenure as Minister for National Development. Erected at a faster pace than public housing for the poor.
It is common knowledge that, in practice, the police unofficially tolerate the operation of, and monitor a limited number of brothels. The only requirement is that prostitutes at such establishments have to undergo periodic health checks and must carry a health card when the boys in blue come a calling. There's no law for the ladies in waiting to carry their passports with them at all times. Section 376B of the Penal Code stipulates that dalliances with anyone under 18 faces potential jail time for up to 7 years. Buyers beware - especially you guys in the education and uniformed service!