Headed to Little India with Lionel, and my sister’s bf, Sam. My lazy sisters decided to go back to the apartment to nap after a long day of shopping (ha!).
After checking out the Main Street, passing a pretty cool Hindu Temple, noticing there were great bargains to be had (Sam bought some sunnies for $2.40 SGD) and also that there were very few women around, we accidentally walked down a side street. (Not so much accidentally, but more that I decided to cut across a side street to get to the train (MRT) station thinking I was a true local!)
So there were we, Lionel, Sam and I walking down this street when we noticed that the few people in the street were staring quite intensely at us in quite an odd fashion. We also noticed the back alley doors were fully opened, so naturally I looked in. That’s when I saw several female faces looking back at me, sitting in those white plastic garden chairs. We walked past and I made a joke to Lionel and Sam, ‘haha, I think we walked into the Red Light District’ and then it dawned on us, we had walked into the Red Light District! At first it was fine, we giggled a bit, then got over it. Then we arrived at a main street but decided to ‘commit to it’ and walk through the rest of the alley way. Big mistake. That’s when we saw a huge line of men waiting to be attended to at what I assume, was a popular brothel. We could no longer deny where we were.
As we walked past, and at this point, I became quite uncomfortable as there were clearly no females walking in this alleyway and we were being stared at un-subtly, we suddenly heard yelling from the popular brothel doorway. A guy (owner, boss etc.) was yelling at us quite aggressively and suggestively. Telling us not to pretend we ‘didn’t know what was happening,’ and that he knew what we wanted. That’s when our pace quickened, our faces became steely with determination, all to get out of that seedy alleyway.
From then all, everything seemed to freak us out a bit, we kept thinking people were staring us down, that mobs of people were about to attack us. All in our heads I’m sure, but Lionel and Sam did end up walking in front and behind me after they noticed men were staring at me (there were no women around at all).
All in all, Little India in Singapore is interesting but very different to the rest of Singapore. It felt like we were in a different country despite being two streets away from major Singapore shopping strips. I would exercise caution as a female traveller, and I can’t deny that I was very glad I had two males with me. We didn’t feel initially threatened until that guy yelled at us agressively, but just felt it was very odd that we saw very few other women along the very packed streets.