Singapore Slings And Arrows

Singapore is a very safe place for anyone to visit but it is not without risk, nowhere is. I was exploring the Geylang area which, it turns out, has more than old world charm going for it. It turned out to be a red light area, but only off the main street. Here women lined the footpath to be ogled by dozens of men, all Indian, mostly holding hands in friendly pairs. As I turned to return to the main street my instincts were proven correct when a soft drink can just brushed my hair. A milimetre or two closer and it would have hit me. I scanned the dozen or so faces of the men surrounding me but they were impassive, yet hostile. Obviously they resented a European on their street. In the next street it w nearly all Chinese men watching the handful of women dutifully lined up and on parade.

As I made it back to the relative safety of the hustle and bustle of the main street I wondered how many men each must see every night. These were the second and third tier of prostitutes apparently. The younger ones no doubt working more upscale venues. I could clearly see, especially with the Sri Lankan women, they were not happy with hat they had to do. The Thai and Chinese, Vietnamese women seemed to be there voluntarily but the looks on the Indian/Sri Lankan/Bangladeshi women told a different story altogether.

Wherever there is alcohol there is a chance of trouble brewing. Throw in women and the risk increases. In this case it is prostitution rather than girls at a disco but the formula is the same. Men + Alcohol + Women = Trouble. There were places in Kuala Lumpur I had read about that were great places to go in the daylight and shop, but at night they were low rent red light areas, known for pimps and prostitutes ganging up on clients and even likely victims just passing through. Spiked drinks, violent robberies and bashings are to be avoided at all costs. If you have the back up and the curiosity, by all means take a trip there but be prepared, travel light without your valuables and just enough cash spread around you to get you through the night. As I was on my own and not in the market for female company I felt the best thing was to make sure I left the area well before dark, hanging out close to my hotel where there was more than enough local colour to keep me interested.

Coming back from the Skybar where I had spent an enjoyable hour or so taking in the view of the Petronas Twin Towers by night, I spied a gang of local youths charge across the road and towards a single, male European. He was outnumbered about ten to one and the only other people around were older locals, none of whom I think would come to his aid if need be. The crowd mock charged him, stopping short about two metres from the man. He faked a counterattack and as they hesitated he turned and legged it. I told the cabbie to slow down and slid open the door to the 7 seater mini van and called to the man to get in. Either he wasn’t paying attention or didn’t grasp the seriousness of his predicament but he just looked at me then ran past the cab. At this point the mob were closing in so I slammed shut the door and locked it and the driver hit the gas. I have no idea what happened next as we soon rounded a bend and they were lost to our sight. I gave him a chance and he failed to take it. I wasn’t going back for him and putting my life at risk in a fight I didn’t have a dog in.

Overll both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are safe cities but of course, if you go looking for trouble, it will find you. As we used to say in the Military Police, it is all about  the Three Ps; Prisoners, prostitutes and property! Also known as Cash, Bash and Gash!

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