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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

AdilanClub: Women, sex and Singapore

Sulaiman Kamal | 7:12 AM | | Best Blogger Tips

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SINGAPORE- Sealing an agreement with sex. Singapore currently finds itself wracked with scandal over sex corruption in the Southeast Asian city-state after the chief narcotics official reportedly used sex to get deals.

The women, who hold senior positions, allegedly exchanged sexual favours for “advancing the business interest” of their companies in IT-related tenders.

Legal experts in the country say the women themselves could face criminal charges, but for many women, especially businesswomen in the country, using one’s body for business has become more commonplace than many Singaporeans want to admit.

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“I have seen it happen over and over here. You just sit at a dinner and you know that the woman at the table plans to get what she wants and no cost is too high,” said Leanne, a top executive for an international company. “Women will use sex as a means of ensuring that the deal they want signed gets done. It is no different than prostitution really, and it is happening more and more often.”

While Singapore maintains an almost Asian stigma surrounding sex: don’t talk about it, the reality on the ground is often strikingly different than the discussions that take place in cafes and at home concerning the topic.

For Leanne, the government must come down hard on both the men and women involved in the current scandal, or the country won’t be able to rid itself of this problem.

“We are working in business, but that does not mean we can trade our bodies in order to get something done. But right now, women want to get ahead and the system isn’t helpful, so they have sex with executives to get where they want to be,” she added.

Another female executive in the city argued that revamping the business regulation and structure is needed to end “sex-for-business” deals in the city.

She argued that the current pay scale and advancement available to women is limited.

“There must be a change from the top down if this is to end, because often many women believe that only through sex can they get where they want to be. It is unfortunate and degrading for the rest of us, because other businessmen will think they can proposition us when they want a ‘little extra’ for a deal to go through,” the executive told Bikyamasr.com.

And companies appear unwilling to take action, women say, arguing that companies actually promote women using “all means necessary” to ink an agreement.

“This is the biggest problem we face, that business owners, CEOs and others are pushing their female employees to do more than their jobs, and they even threaten firing if it doesn’t happen,” Leanne argued.

She said that sometimes, she has heard, in the workplace, women are forced to give sexual favors to their bosses in order to keep their jobs.

“This is disgusting, but with the economic situation terrible and uncertainty in the air, the women cannot afford to lose their jobs,” she added.

Both executives argued that the government must use the recent scandal to implement new strategies to combat sexual abuse in the business environment. Obviously, with government officials using sex as a tool, it may be difficult.

One top Singapore police official told Bikyamasr.com that the police force in the country “is taking this situation seriously and want to end this type of acts, because it is a threat to the very nature of Singapore society.”

With women increasingly using sex to get what they want, society must reflect on themselves, the women executives said.

“While this may be business-related, the fact that we in Singapore are often afraid of sex, it must also be discussed and talked about at all levels of society if it is to see an end,” added the executive.

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