Expat@Large

Orchard Rd, Evening Street Scene

Posted in 4FoW, Bruce, coffee, hookers, Orchard Rd by expatatlarge on September 17, 2012

Bruce sucks up his ice-blended coffee on Orchard Rd, runs the mouthful of sweet crystals around for a taste, swallows. The Coffee Bean and Tea-Leaf. Not his favorite coffee shop, but OK, it passes, and it’s convenient for an hour or two of quiet contemplation before things start, before he finds some dinner, before he kick on across the road to the 4FoW. A Spinelli (San Francisco’s best) Spin would suit him better, the ice is finer, the coffee less bitter, but outlets seem few and far between these days. He makes a mental note to Google their locations.

The table has a nice vantage of the footpath. Young Singaporean girls in their ultra-short jean, inside pockets visible, their white singlets and push-up bras, chatting with friends, briskly gesticulating, walking fast. And those ambling ones, generic Asians, maybe even in a cheong-sam, a tight skirt, nothing ostentatious, and a tight top, an LV handbag and a lean hungry look. And so slim, narrow waist, trim buttocks (as they say, there’s a Latin term for this), thin thighs.

Bruce loves this town. Old man, single, financially secure so long as his job lasts. Lecher. Typical nomad, it’s his new word for ‘expat’. Is it merely because they are slimmer that he finds these girls so attractive? Discuss.

It is after work on Wednesday and evening is hanging around like these hookers, it’s half-light, it’s a half-real world. He feels sticky and warm, man we’re in the tropics, and so welcomes how the ice-coffee cools the inside of his body, at least as far it can get down into his throat. Every now and then when he has cold drinks like this his oesophagus goes into a spasm, as it does now. The drink is too cold. He pauses from drinking, it’s sitting – just – there. And he waits, sighs. A central chest pain. Another heart attack? He can’t belch, his stomach is unavailable. Then the mucosa warms the ice, melts, his body heat, and the constriction eases, the ice-coffee slips past. GORD. Is there no health problem he doesn’t have?

Birds, the feathered ones, in the many plane trees (not fruit tree, there is no orchard here anymore), have begun their evening chirping, and slowly, as it builds up to a 76 trombones effect without him noticing, their combined song has become a roar. It covers the bursts of traffic that flow according to the traffic light’s rhythms. Maybe not throat-singing Ferraris and Maseratis, let them scream, let them roar. White noise. He has one of his several thousand unread books in his hand and he is not reading it carefully.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

A person is beside him. Her presence sudden, blue sparks, ozone, she’s here to hunt him down, that’s all she does.

He looks up at her and sees the thin ridge of angular cheeks, smile showing small teeth constrained in expensive wire, bright green eyes and a line of mascara going up at the outer edge to emphasis her exotic face, as if she needed that. She is one of those women who had been walking in front of him, parading past several times, up and back in the previous half-hour.

She had at last caught his eye, his Nordic blue, hers emerald green, held his gaze past that special time, into the who’s going to be the first to break zone, and then smiled at him, the killer. However he had been lost in reverie, not in his book, but somewhere else, even further away than Cloud Atlas. Some place where a tightness in the chest from ice-choke didn’t mean impending death, myocardial infarction, spilled coffee and an unpaid bill. He had hardly been aware that he had been making eye contact, and every working girl looks at him like that anyway, like he was target demographic. He was now looking away, into a nowhere, but she didn’t notice that he was more than day-dreaming, he was willing himself to stay alive. She only saw a man. With a wallet and a sex-drive. Or perhaps she saw more. Probably not.

“I can join you?” she asks. Slim, in a dark green, eye-matching, body-hugging top, white skirt, tight.

”I’m sorry?” The background bird chirping, he didn’t hear. “Of course, of course,” he says, ever the gentleman. He shuffles his chair back and nudges the table so that she can slip past the pole onto the chair opposite him. It doesn’t have to slipped far, there is not much to her body.

And soon the banalities are out of the way. The special massage price, so cheap, how come?

“Tomorrow, I go back Hanoi. Need have some money.” The implication is that she hasn’t been making much. Good English, pleasant GFE personality, nicely faked sincerity. He is surprised, genuinely.

“Why do you not have so much money? Such a pretty lady!”

“It very quiet, too many girls. And I spend my money on my plane ticket, need always to be work. Work, work. Go to home and come back only three month after. And,” she tapped at her mouth, “my teeth is expensive.”

“You should marry someone here. A dentist maybe.”

“Yes, yes,” she urges. He seems to have pressed a button. “I need husband for come here. Get visa for many entry.”

“Well you would need that, I guess. So many entries,” smiles Bruce.

“If can get marriage with local man, can get visa. Ten thousand dollars.”

“What is ten thousand dollar?”

“For husband. We pay ten thousand dollars for Singapore man get marry.”

“You pay the man ten thousand dollars if he marries you?” Bruce immediately thinks of E@L as a likely candidate for an arrangement such as this.

“Yes, he get money. And girl get visa.”

Bruce drums the table with his empty coffee container. This too, is hard to swallow. He texts E@L.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The evening is advancing quickly enough, no hurry. E@L was otherwise engaged anyway. She knew of a Thai place, we wonder where, for dinner. She ate slowly, noodles, picking sprouts form her braces. She is not in a rush now. Her flight is early in the next morning, one customer tonight – Bruce – and that’s enough. And they stand to move away, collect their stuff, her LV, his man-bag with iPad, and walk across the road to the Hilton where he is staying as usual.

“You have condom?” she asks before they get too far from a 7/11.

“Me? Why? Don’t you have a condom, surely you can claim it on your tax!”

She smiles, gets the joke. “We cannot carry condom. Working girl on the streets cannot carry a condom. Police. You know this, I am sure.”

“No, not at all. Really? Why not?”

“Police can make arrest against you if you have a condom. For being prostitute. It illegal for girl to work on streets, so we don’t carry condom.”

Bruce shrugs, impressed. He’s never thought of that – why would he? – and it makes sense. There are so many of these details in the world, where the devil lies in wait. Have a condom, must be a prostitute. No condom, must be a charity worker seeking donations.

“You don’t have condom?” she asks again.

“Yes, yes, I have several in my room. The hotel supplies them,” he lies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Within two weeks of this mythical incident not having taken place, the immigration department cracked down on these marriage scams – she wasn’t joking about the $10k. And then, later, local newspapers talked of the aggressive tactic of streetwalkers on Orchard Rd.)

Laws To Penalise Sham Marriages. Today Online.

“… Pointing to the increasing number of sham marriages – from four to five cases a year in the past five years to 12 cases this year – Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said this is a “significant rise” and is “probably symptomatic of a larger trend”.
“So we want to introduce new laws to send a strong deterrent message to individuals who contemplate entering MOCs (marriages of convenience) for the purpose of obtaining an immigration facility such as Permanent Residency, long-term passes and visas,” he told the House.
But, while there is a “desire for vigorous enforcement” in clear cases of marriages of convenience, he cautioned against unfairly penalising genuine marriages.
Several Members of Parliament were concerned over how gratification could be proven.
…” [My emphasis]

~~~~~~~~~~~

Streetwalkers getting more blatant at Orchard Road. The NewPaper

“Foreign women touting sex services are no longer just operating around Orchard Towers.
They are now covering areas as far as Far East Shopping Mall.
The minute they spot a potential customer, usually a male tourist, they would approach them with offers of ‘massage’.
Said one expat: “It’s like running a gauntlet. If you make the mistake of looking at them, they’ll be all over you in seconds.”
[My emphasis]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anywhere up to eight years ago, walk anywhere from the Marriott to corner of Tanglin Rd, and E@L would be given the look, sometimes a question. Then it went quiet for a few years, or perhaps he didn’t walk there as often as a resident, but yeah, as this hypothetical and nowhere near 100% true story suggests, it might be “on the rise” again in the areas not immediately adjacent to the 4FoW.

E@L

(E@L knows the birds aren’t in the plane trees, but the other ones. Larches? Elms? Jesus, E@L knows fuck all about treeology. And those trees are down further anyway, by Paragon.)

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Nabokov: Redux or, The Principle Of Three,

Posted in 4FoW, dancing, life, love unrequited, pathetic old man, philosophy, useless self-pity by expatatlarge on June 19, 2011

E@L does have a million things to confess to, to enlighten you with, to explain, to reveal and to review, to explicate, to examine and allow you to cogitate over, as he does himself, given the time.

Time? Things to talk about? So little, so many.

Like Tristram Shandy, E@L is afraid that the cataloguing and explanation of his life has become more and more frustratingly difficult as time slips away from him, as that evaluation of one’s life is for all of us, is a task never ends, unlike the life itself, which has its inexorable termination. Incident upon incident stumble over themselves and demand to be discussed, each incident requiring more words, even though it builds upon the facts of the earlier.

Forever in E@L’s blogging heart lurks the question that no blogger should ever given utterance to (well, not so much, at least lately) …

— Why?

— Why bother?

OK, that’s two questions but you get E@’s point. If E@L can’t keep up with what’s going on, what’s the point of your people hanging around? Don’t talk to me about the unexamined life…

For example…

~~~~~~~~~~

E@L has been on an extended tour as the previous posts might have told you, had you the wisdom to know of them, and the last 10 days have been in Croatia with Izzy, her TALL Bosnian boyfriend and another young, independent lady, of whom more, obliquely, soon.

C***-struck. Err, Croatia-struck that is. Amazing place, party time, great food and wine, old buildings, history, stoney beaches, Listerine-blue clear water. Great place to have sex, we are told. Unfortunately if you’re E@L’s age you better have an 80ft ocean going yacht to back up the size of your cigar if you want to win the heart and/or pussy of the lady who’s lounging beside you at Carpe Diem for the evening …

But Pussy-Struck, that’s an entirely other type of story.

~~~~~~~~~~~

The tip of the tongue takes a trip down the the palate to tap at three on the clitoris, or E@L’s would if it was allowed.

Yes, that sad, sad creature, the obsessed and depressed man out of his depth and mind with Nabokovian, Lolitian, illegal in some countries, desire… That was E@L for the last week or so. In the midst of all this amazing scenery and beauty, completely gone was he on the tight arse attached to the tanned legs walking in front of him.

Desire. What a word! Fuck-nutty is also a good word, little bit less serious, but hey.

Cramping over, his gut churning with physical discomfort brought on by irrational emotional disturbances, his brain reeling with completely reality-divorced fantasies. If ever there was a bust to Descarte’s mind/body dualism, then sexual longing, unrequited lust, is it.

Here’s this old fat bald ugly (yet mildly amusing) man, Dantean-forest-lost in self-hatred, self-revulsion and chronic self-abuse: and here’s this (way too) young (but not a teenager) elfin wisp of a thing, completely in control of her bi-sex-life, completely, (or pretending to be completely) unaware of the lust and longing that gives rise to E@L’s stomach acids (and his occasional bouts of depression and weeping), completely indifferent to it (as it should be) one presumes, and no matter how amusing the self-deprecating stories this Humbert Humbert may mumble out at 4am, and no matter that they are sharing a bedroom, E@L is not going to manage a successful sexual connection. Maybe if he asked politely, you say? Maybe, yes, but what can we expect, how will we ever know? E@L can’t even order kopi with kaya toast correctly

And don’t you lecture him. about the moral ambiguity here, about the lessons we all should have learned. Don’t talk to E@L about the classics, your Dostoevsky, your Shakespeare, your Thomas Hardy, your P.G. Wodehouse, the plays and poetry, the novels and the fillums. He know, he knows. He probably knows better than most of you… He has read about it, watched appalled as other men, good men, true men, were sucked into the vortex of it. But he has also watched masters surf it with skill and joy, their used condoms falling back like the bubbles of latex with traces of toxic albumen in them that they are, onto the streets below.

Unattractive stupid old man and immensely attractive clever young woman, new? A NEW thing? Read the death notices for details. Read the applications for the restraining orders.

~~~~~~~~~

Of course E@L recognizes it. He is actually enjoying the pain of it, sucking it in, it’s grist to his mill of incident. He is trying to retain the feeling or its memory, but like hunger or satiety, once it’s gone, it’s gone. Until the next time.

It’s every love-lorn tourist’s story in Bangkok, is it not?

E@L has identified the causative agent in cases like this. It is the as yet un-blogged-about “Principle of The Three”.

If one goes back to the same hooker bar and talks to the same hooker for the third time (the third time is the charm they always say) then the trap has been fired. New neuronal pathways have been established. Those lines about , “You are so handsome”, “You heb good heart”, etc… have been burned with serotonin into a new depiction of reality. The brain is a living organism (for some of us) and is capable of almost anything (except communicating effectively with cafe staff).

And the mere proximity to a cute babe, hooker or not (as in this case) over a period of three or more days can have the same type of effect. Particularly if she is nice to you. OMG how quickly “She’s nice to me” can become, “oh she’s attracted to me”…

How irrational are we, I mean, fuck it’s just unbelievable.

~~~~~~~~

And when you are a cute, sexually energised, in-control female and this previously nice avuncular, nearly three times your age, sister’s ex-flat-mate starts drooling in your general direction, well it can get get creepy and it’s best to ignore it and go out and try to fuck the people you really came here to fuck, like young international party hunks or the rich old cigar guys on their 80ft yachts, and just be polite to the creepy old guy in the bed opposite (when, if, you get home that night/morning).

But as E@L has noted before – everyone wants to fuck good-looking (or rich, if you’re Singaporean) people. Even ugly people want to fuck good-looking people. But as for good-looking people wanting to fuck ugly people? (i.e. the rest of us), well ah there’s your mis-match.

~~~~~~~~~

Still it’s reassuring to know that his heart still beats within its copious emotional frame, that amino acids can be stirred into stomach burning action, that there is pain other than in the idiopathic neuropathy of his feet. Nothing new here, move along nothing to see. Man being stupid.

Its just that happens in the stoney cold heart of E@L so rarely that E@L has to post it, and he will apologize to the parties concerned later.

~~~~~~~~

Yes, E@L can remain emotionally detached from his intellectual confusion – um, maybe he means the other way around. Um. Maybe not. Well he can write about it here, because hey, who gives a fuck, nobody’s listening, but for other reason’s as well…

Because E@L has been on the receiving end, he’s been in the same situation (apart from the being cute and young bit) himself.

There *are* (as in *have been*) women in and around E@L’s life (and not only the 50ft Zombie Divorcees of expat-land) who have become d***-struck for him, for some Darwin-forsaken superficial reasons.

We mean that there are women who had become emotionally linked, but from their side only, to E@L. OK, when we say ‘some’, E@L means one or two. E@L might like these ladies, indeed he *does* like these ladies. But never in a month of first days of the month would E@L consider sleeping with any of them. Last lady on earth sort of thing. But nice people one and all. And E@L was nice back to them, which only exacerbates the situation.

And so E@L understands the complete bemusement with which the object of his obscure desire fends off any clumsy, debasing (for E@L), and creepy (for her), moves, just as he has said, “Thanks, nioce to see you, please back off now”, to his own unwanted, wannabe paramours.

(There’s the as yet un-written novel/chapter/page/paragraph/C&P of this sentence tale of the surreptitious stroke on the arm from one stalker lady as E@L was kissing farewell to his then genuine ex-girl-friend. Urghh. Creepy.)

~~~~~~~~

These completely incoherent thoughts are not meant to indicate anything to anybody, btw.

It’s been four days since E@L had a decent sleep – more posts need to be discoursed upon concerning those days in the Croatian sun, those evenings Tequila Booming and clubbing until the wee hours. E@L needs to have more time than E@L has lifetime available, enough time to do them justice, every minute a philosophy.

He wants to do his various dances (Joyce vacuuming, the sprinkler, big fish little fish cardboard box) more. Tonight, at the Singapore Beerfest, he would have bopped and wiggled to elevator music (those jumping on the tables and chairs things during the U2 covers set, they were most embarrassing, could please E@L have this evening back), the niteclub beats were still with him (plus listening to Daft Punk TRON Legacy on the plane back) from Thursday night with the girls. Those memories are in heavy rotation in E@L’s head.

As are the memories of E@L walking through the crowds outside the Singapore Flyer crying out like a preacher, calling out from his soul things like: “My life is a mere husk of truth, a sham, a lie, all is emptiness. I am not who you have thought I am. I need reality. I need truth, but I cannot find it amongst you people! Taxi driver, take me to the Towers…”

And the trip to Orchard Towers tonight with an over-emotional Bruce who may or may not have touched the scrotum sac of your truly, though in jest [oops and FB evidence surfaces of vice versa], that was 20 minutes of hell, from the great pile of someone else’s crap all over the toilet seat, to the choking testosterone fumes in Ip-an-enemas. All those memories needs to be expunged as well. There is not enough time, nor the need to talk about them anymore.

Maybe the truth is that E@L doesn’t need the Towers, for he certainly doesn’t want them. If there was only some other way (beyond frantic masturbation). And so he left tonight by himself, carrying a $10 posie of flowers from the guy in the wheelchair at the entrance. E@L sniffed the roses, so nice. All other things OT completely revolted and repulsed him.

What he wants and what he needs (but doesn’t really need, though it would be nice) is to fuck Izzy’s horny little sister till the stars explode.

~~~~~~~~~

And none of this is going to happen or needs to happen.

Because the words are here now, this is the reality of it for you, dear reader. Anyone else’s opinion is mere facts.

On the other hand, there’s always love. A love without self-pity.

E@L

*one word from anyone involved and this comes down if that is their wish*

Bull Wang Gib You POWER!

Posted in 4FoW, Bangkok, cialis, herbal medicine, hookers, medication, Singapore, TCM, Thailand, viagra by expatatlarge on February 12, 2009

File this under Travellers’ Warning.

Yesterday’s mood distortion was not caused by a batch of fake Cialis from Thailand, though some was offered to me on the street last time I was in Bangkok.

“Where you go? Body massage, girl, DBD porno, Viagah, Chalice?” is the chant of the superfluous tuk-tuk drivers along Sukhomvit Rd as they accost me on each Soi corner. Meanwhile I try to avoid stepping on the ragged women beggars, sitting cross-legged by the steps to the train, drugged children comatose on their laps. And try to avoid twisting my ankle on the Indiana Jones-like stepping-puzzle they call a footpath here.

Rather than the usual worn fold-up ad for a three-girl soapie and massage, the tuk-tuk driver may hold open a plastic bag, showing me the blue or orange box of the potency drugs.

I don’t buy anything from these guys. No matter what you do or where go on a tuk-tuk these days, you will be ripped off. When I first came to Thailand they were a legitimate form of transport, much cheaper, faster and more available than taxis. Now, with the traffic at lock-jaw levels, tuk-tuks are just as stuck as ordinary cars. And they charge enormous amounts of money. Demands of 200Bht for a trip that would cost 45Bht in a A-C taxi are not to be believed. A motor-cycle taxi is the only way for serious commuters to weave through the cars, though chances of smashing a knee are pretty high. As often as possible, I take the sky-train.

Tuk-tuk drivers can only make their money by scamming you, the wide-eyed, wet-eared tourist. Selling erectile dysfunction medication is their latest beat.

On the odd occasion I might have made discreet purchases of ED drugs while travelling, it would have been in a “legit” pharmacy in Bangkok while getting a top up on my other medications: blood pressure, cholesterol and nerve-pain. Mmm, I hope they were legitimate drugs (Don’t we? You know who!) I bought. They certainly cost enough – like full price, but without the added cost and embarrassment of seeing a physician to get a ‘script.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can’t bring myself to get some here. I imagine my cute female GP asking me, “How much do you need? When will you use it? How often?”

What am I going to say – the truth?

“I don’t KNOW, I DON’T KNOW! Cheeerist woman, leave me alone with your incessant cataloguing of my personal failures! I KNOW I AM OVERWEIGHT, alright!? I KNOW that’s the cause of almost all my problems, alright! I just need to have some Viagra handy in case I get so despairing in my pathetic lonely existence that I am prepared to suffer the ignominy and shame of picking up a bored and desperate Triad-run hooker in the ultra-sleazy 4FoWs and attempt to have sex with her even I don’t even know or like her and she speaks no English and when I can’t get it up… again… I’m a failure because I’ve wasted $250 not to mention taxi fare, and my life is shit, I don’t know why I even bother breathing…!”

~~~~~~~~~~~

OK, moving on…. I think we can all agree it’d be for the best if I pick the occasional batch up when I get to Thailand and avoid that scene all together, right?…

~~~~~~~~~~~

So this article in the New England Journal Medicine is a bit of a warning:

An Unusual Outbreak of Hypoglycemia

Pasted from NEJM

To the Editor: The off-label use of drugs for the enhancement of sexual performance in persons without erectile dysfunction is a phenomenon that is increasingly recognized.1 These drugs are available in illegal forms, including counterfeit versions of brand-name drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and purported herbal remedies containing synthetic phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors.2 We describe an outbreak of severe hypoglycemia in Singapore; this outbreak was associated with contamination of illegal sexual-enhancement drugs with glyburide.

Between January 1 and May 26, 2008, a total of 150 nondiabetic patients with severe hypoglycemia were admitted to the five public hospitals in Singapore. All the patients except one were men, and they ranged in age from 19 to 97 years (median, 51). Seven patients remained comatose as a result of prolonged neuroglycopenia, and four subsequently died.

Glyburide was detected in blood or urine samples obtained from 127 of these patients (85%). On specific questioning, 45 patients (30%) admitted ingesting illegal sexual-enhancement drugs before the onset of hypoglycemia. Drug samples obtained from these patients and from drugs seized in police raids were analyzed by means of high-performance liquid chromatography. Four preparations were contaminated with glyburide in amounts ranging from 13 to 100 mg per tablet (Figure 1A). These drugs included a counterfeit of Cialis (tadalafil) and three herbal preparations for the purported treatment of erectile dysfunction (Power 1 Walnut, Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule, and Zhong Hua Niu Bian).3 All four products also contained sildenafil in amounts ranging from 0.5 to 110.0 mg per tablet. Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule and Zhong Hua Niu Bian also contained trace amounts of tadalafil and sibutramine.

Translation: Travellers in foreign climes be warned. The Cialis and crap Chinese copies/clones/competition you buy off the street in towns like Bangkok are pirated and could possibly contaminated by substances like glyoburil which is a diabetes drug that is harmful to non-diabetics. In Singapore, in a three month period in 2008, nearly 200 people were admitted to hosptial and four people died from these sprurious medications. There was a similar though more restricted experience in Hong Kong at around the same time. The NEJM article does not say where these medicines were purchased.

“Zhong Hua Niu Bian” means Chinese Bull Penis. “Saint Bovine” also hints at the non-herbal origin of the source of these pseudo-TCM’s “Penis Erecting” power. [This just screams for a ‘Truth In Naming’ case-study.]

Of course, eating the (herbal) penis of any dead animal is a total waste of time in a pharmacological sense: a) they’re really chewy, b) just don’t. The TCM idea of like for like is patently illogical nonsense to my Western eye. Eat a big penis get a big penis? What a – dare I say it – wank.

Penis munchers, you might HYPNOTIZE yourself into a placebo effect, but note that these “herbal” products are also stuffed with various amounts of tadalafil (Cialis) and sildenafil (Viagra) which DO actually work in many cases of ED. So if some of these herbal remedies eventually work, it’s because they are packed surreptitiously with the REAL medicine, not because of the TCM’s magic properties!

But note too the potential dose range across the products seized: “All four products also contained sildenafil in amounts ranging from 0.5 to 110.0 mg per tablet.” At least if you buy the genuine article you know that the dosage is going to be close to that stated on the package, and the results can be assessed in a reasonable light.

With any herbal concoction, not only are the doses basically random due to the typical slack QA at these snake-oil producers factories , there is also a higher risk of contaminants, such as occurred with the glyburide.

Of course these products were probably stamped together in a filthy backyard factory in Outer Nowheresville, China, perhaps near a slaughterhouse for a steady supply of bull products. They could contain anything, and usually do. The milk scandal is another case of un-policed Chinese regulations allowing producers to get away with, literally, murder.

If you would consider buying such drugs off the street you should first get a mirror and some Viagra eyedrops – then take a long, hard look at yourself.

E@L