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Friday, June 3, 2011

Singapore escorts: Not always about sex

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:04 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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She has just returned from an 18-day all expenses paid “working” trip to the US.

Two weeks later, she set off for another “working trip” – a one-week trip to Saudi Arabia.

When she is not jet-setting, the 26-year-old Chinese Singaporean works part-time as a therapist in a hotel spa. Or, models for editorial photos in women’s and lifestyle magazines.

But Uma – as she is popularly known – prefers her “other” job as a social escort. As she puts it: “I get to travel and make money at the same time.”

Even though the tall and attractive lass can easily apply to be a flight stewardess or turn full-time model, Uma prefers the short cut to riches.

Take for example, the trip to the US. She was paid S$26,000 (RM60,840 - after the agency cut) in cash and nearly S$11,000 (RM25,740) for shopping expenses.

But the job is not so rosy and comes with risks, admitted Uma, who spoke to The New Paper on condition that we use only her escort name.

Precisely what a Hong Kong-based woman, Ms Di Di, 36, found out recently when she agreed to be an overseas social escort to a Singaporean here who allegedly promised to pay her 200,000 yuan (RM92,922) for three days of her service in Singapore.

But the man disappeared after they had sex without paying her, she claimed. Worse, the two got into a scuffle and Ms Di Di hurt herself.

While Uma counts herself lucky for not having had such an encounter, she has heard of others who did.

“It all depends on how ‘insured’ you are,” she added, in fluent English. By that, she means the social escort agencies they work with.

Said Uma: “As escorts, we won’t usually know who our clients are until we turn up at the designated point of meeting. Our managers are the ones who screen the clients, take on the assignments and send us to them.”

While some escorts accept private assignments, Uma prefers to let an agency handle her bookings. This, even though the agency can take a cut of up to 40 per cent of the fee.

She said: “I prefer not to take the risk, and because I work at the spa, it’s inconvenient sometimes to answer calls.”

She gets an average four local assignments a week – typically, they require her service for a few hours a day. At least one of the clients is a regular.

Uma said “role-playing” is vital. Clients hire escorts for companionship, or “you can act as an interpreter or even role-play as a personal assistant”, she explained.

For overseas assignments, once the agency has cleared the client and they are linked up, Uma said: “We’re on our own”.

She claimed that she had a “sister” (industry slang for those working together) who was so badly abused by a client that she was hospitalised for nearly a week.

It was a case of rough sex gone wrong. In the end, the matter was privately settled after the agency intervened on the victim’s behalf to seek compensation.

Uma also knows of some who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, Which is why some escorts, such as Pond, 23, claimed they don’t offer sex.

“I’m in this because of the quick bucks, but it’s not worth it if I catch any sexually-transmitted disease,” said Pond, who was lured into the trade three years ago.

Pond, who has a private secretary’s diploma, said she earns S$1,800 (RM4,212) a month in her day job as a telemarketer – not enough to feed her love for travelling and branded bags.

She claimed that even without the “extra services”, she can easily make S$5,000 (RM11,700) a month. The earnings double during “peak seasons” such as when there’s an event held here or during festive occasions.

For those who offer sex, overseas assignments or clients are preferred for the sake of anonymity. Ling, 30, is an example.

She told The New Paper: “Sex is an ‘under-the-table arrangement – out of the agency’s purview.”
But times are not as good for her now, said Ling, who has been working as a freelance escort for about six years.
Ling said: “I used to get about one overseas job every two months, but I’ve only had one assignment this year.” That was a five-day trip to Germany with a Singaporean-Chinese businessman. She was picked as she speaks German and English.

Her client ended up sealing the million-dollar contract. Said Ling: “He was so happy that he gave me a thank-you red packet of S$3,888 (RM9,098).”

This was on top of the S$12,000 (RM28,080) she had picked up for the trip.

Escorts who accompany clients overseas don’t usually share rooms, though some may, if extra service is in the contract.

Both Uma and Ling said that some clients may even require them to arrive separately for discretion.

Uma added: “Sometimes, depending on the number of days engaged, we may either arrive later or depart earlier.”
What the escorts look forward to are the pockets of free time. Ling said: “That’s when we really enjoy ourselves, doing whatever we want.”

Uma, who has a diploma in business administration, intends to run an online business – possibly in fashion – when she retires, say in two years.

She said: “It’s a very practical (industry), where one has an expiry date.”

So Uma, who is the sole breadwinner in her family, makes it a point to save at least half of the fees she makes from every job.

Overseas assignments aside, her average monthly earnings from the other bookings can go up to S$12,000 (RM28,080) in a good month. A far cry from the S$1,500 (RM3,510) she earns a month as a therapist.

Her mother, a housewife, does not now what Uma does. She has not seen her father since he walked out on the family when she was nine.

Flexibility of working hours was also one reason that first attracted Uma, whose younger brother, 21, is mentally-subnormal.

Said Uma: “Mama has her hands full in taking care of my brother. Sometimes, it can be very trying for her especially when he flies into a tantrum and starts attacking even strangers.”

But, said Uma: “My family background is no excuse for what I do.”

When Uma has to travel, she tells her mother that it’s for work.

She said: “For me, it’s just a job. I don’t dwell on whether it’s morally right or wrong. For that matter, I don’t have sex with all my clients, so there are times when the service I provide is clean.”

Generous – and appreciative – clients add to the “perks” of the job for Uma, who has travelled to Paris, London, Vancouver, Toronto, Belgium, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

But not every client is generous, Uma said.

“It’s only because he (the particular client) is a regular (for more than three years) and we’ve sort of developed some affection for each other to a certain extent,” she added.

Uma declined to give more details about the client, except that she knows he is “married with three young kids”.
But she dismissed the possibility of having a long-term affair with him.

Uma said: “It’s one thing to have an affection and another to be committed. This is the real world – it’s highly impossible that the client will fall in love with his escort.”

Uma was initially reluctant to say if they had sex, but later admitted they had protected sex only on one night.

Given the nature of her job, Uma said she also accepted that she would likely not settle down. All three past relationships failed each time after she came clean about her job.

Said Uma: “None of them could accept what I do. And I accept that. But I would rather they heard from me than to find out from someone else.

“So yes, this job comes with a price to pay.”

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