Conscience Wrestling For Beginners

It's a struggle. Really, there are times I just can't do OT. Sometimes the 4FoW totally defeats me. Or something *in me* defeats me. The 4FoWs is throwing itself at me... but I can't bring myself to accept its offers.


There was this lithe limbed man/woman in a short white skirt which revealed long toneless legs that were pressing almost accidentally into my groin. He/she was in a bikini halter-top that supported two exquisitely sculpted breasts. She/he was sitting opposite me, asking me for a tip. I was getting up to leave, I couldn't take any more of this. He/she was staring deeply into my eyes, saying how she/he is going back to Vietnam in 2 days, only one month into a 3 month visa to finish his/her design degree. He/she wants to open a shop, many shops, she/he nods, with a plaintive sincerity. "I like make this, design this," he/she said tugging at the shoulders of my shirt like a real tailor and running his/her broad hands down my shirt to my waist

"Maybe even I open a 7/11 store," he/she says. I am certain his/her desire for a store or several, that dream of a new life, is genuine. "Many shops!" she/he says, gesturing wide with his arms...

Yeah, right, I can see that happening.

All I can think is "sad."

This is so sad.




You are so trapped in a seriously deep tragedy, you unfortunately pretty young man (who doesn't attract me one tiny bit)...

Gender issues (are you a a man or a woman - you won't admit it to me, will you admit it to yourself?)
Poverty issues (do you think the money might make in your short stays in Singapore suckering in naive tourists for a massage and a blow-job, before they see your dick and run away, will give you enough to reach escape velocity from Planet Poverty in Vietnam?)
Moral issues (you're a transvestite hooker, not high on the scale of positive things to do with your life)
Great dreams doomed to failure (your desperation and sincerity will not be enough, the money you make from those one or two tricks you turn a week will not be enough),
AIDS (more than probably) and a desperate defeated end somewhere... with someone nasty (in all likelihood)...

I refuse to give him/her a tip (should I encourage and prolong her/his situation or not?) and I grab my tourist friend and drag him away from a similarly large-handed, prominently cricoid-cartileged friend...


"What?" he said disbelievingly as we walk down the stalled escalator. "That was a man? But she was... he was... so pretty! You've gotta tell me in future if we are going into a lady-boy bar. I could seriously embarrass myself."


We move instead to Ipanema where the 'girls' really are girls. How many Western men are here tonight on the prowl, it's amazing! It always amazes me, stuns me, makes me incredulous. Where do they all come from?

How can they do this, the leering, cheering, smiling, lunging, grasping squeezing, laughing, hands in the air, eyebrows raised, "Not me dahlin' ..."

This is just not me tonight either.

The hoops I have to jump through to quieten my conscience just to enter this building. Raging at myself about injustice, exploitation, powerlessness, colonialism, globalism, the random luck of a country, class, sex and sexual orientation to be born into.

The lies I tell myself subdue my self-revulsion. The justifications I invent to overcome my moral and ethical objections. The rationalizations I make so that I do not give in to my desire to tear at my hair and scream. How much effort does it take to feign being nice, to smile at these girls rubbing at my prominent tummy, grasping at my less than prominent crotch as I shake my head, look away as if nothing has happened, to indicate non-interest - but without offending or demeaning them.

Too much. It's all too much. I just have to get out of here. My friend has already gone, grinning broadly, he's an innocent with a broad, in fact a very pretty Vietnamese girl in a white lace bodice and tight jeans to be precise, which somehow makes it all alright.

I clench my teeth onto the last chunk of ice from my vodka tonic and after a moment of cold resistance it shatters in my mouth.

A place the empty glass on a table as I near the exit.

A hand reaches around my waist and slides forward, down to my fly. I ignore it.

Some days I just can't do this. Of course, some days, the days you probably think are really more worth exploring... I can. But that's not tonight.



Posted by: expat@large on Aug 18, 07 | 2:16 am | Profile


That my friend was one of the most honest posts I have seen you write...

...I hope it makes your book.

Posted by: Indiana on Aug 18, 07 | 10:40 am

It's easier if you don't want anything. Overcome desire my son.

Posted by: Dick on Aug 18, 07 | 11:08 pm

Indy: there's a book?

Guru Dick: All I wanted was to not be there.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 19, 07 | 1:43 am

I was just kidding. I understand your disgust. To be honest I feel the same way about Bangkok nowadays.

Posted by: Dick on Aug 19, 07 | 3:53 am

Haven't quite got to that same point about Bangkok or Hong Kong yet - I think it's a particular aspect of Singaporean hypocrisy that affects me, the mix of denial (why are the escalators turned off?) and desperation that defines OT (and Singapore in general).

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 19, 07 | 10:39 am

Well it's still not as squalid as some places. But I know what you mean about the neon desperation. Like Hieronymous Bosch on acid. No doubt the various financial and social pressures take the fun out of it.

Posted by: Dick on Aug 19, 07 | 10:54 am

"I clench my teeth onto the last chunk of ice from my vodka tonic and after a moment of cold resistance it shatters in my mouth.

I place the empty glass on a table as I near the exit."

Boy, how I can relate to that - all those years I wasted at nightclubs etc, searching for happiness, yet only finding falseness and delusion. Would hate to think of how many empty glasses I left myself "on a table near the exit!"

Posted by: Sister on Aug 19, 07 | 11:51 pm

it's not guaranteed you'd get AIDS from sucking a ladyboy, I mean the mouth is a hostile place for the weak HIV virus, surely. I mean if you just did if for a laugh or because you were a bit plastered that would make you imune surely?

what was the name of that bar again?

Mariah you're right, nightclubs are hopeless without e

Posted by: Milos Sadik on Aug 20, 07 | 1:04 am

Mariah: you weren't just on your way out for a smoke, were you?

Milos: I was actually concerned about the *ladyboy* getting AIDS. More of a volume thing... You might be shocked to learn that there are other acts in the pantheon of homosexual endeavour (that love of which we dare not speak its name, unless you are a Malaysian Deputy Prime-Minister bumming off his driver) which are definetely of higher risk. I have detailed files.

& I just say no to mono-alphabetic drugs myself.

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 20, 07 | 3:06 am

No, people were actually allowed to smoke indoors in those days, and there were receptacles provided -- they were referred to as "ashtrays". Waiters at restaurants used to seemingly appear from nowhere and light one's cigarette with a silver lighter, then they would skillfully replace one's used ashtray with a clean one, performing a quick reversal -- a lost art nowadays!! One's 'sins' were disposed of in one foul sweep...

Posted by: Sister on Aug 20, 07 | 9:45 pm

Mariah: just checking.

BTW, I've had some interesting new books come in lately, some you might be interested in. One is called "In Defense of Atheism - The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam", if you like, I'll send it to you. Essential fireside reading for those chilly Victorian evenings, cigarette in hand, Vodka tonic on the table... ;-)

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 20, 07 | 10:06 pm

Sounds an interesting book - a common theme though! But you've probably paid a bit for it, so I'll do you the honour of reading it... (maybe it might open my mind to all possibilities -- who knows?)

Yet I do respect all people's rights to to believe in what they choose, and to have a drink and cigarette whilst doing so (at the same time) if they so desire - a right which has now been taken away from some of us!

Posted by: Sister on Aug 21, 07 | 12:36 am

Actually I just browsed into the first few (brief) chapters - it's quite French in it's style. Not really straightforward - I'm almost lost already. Perhaps the Daniel Dennett one, Breaking The Spell would be easier to read. I have a few of these now!!!

Posted by: expat@large on Aug 21, 07 | 12:59 am


Your choices of literary mentors/role-models are often similar - interesting.

Before travelling to gay (original meaning) Paris, might I suggest something else French (of historical interest in this case) to read?

Non, je regrette rien (I've said here) I don't think!!! Je jeste, je jeste (joking again) - 'cos I can't find my French-English dictionary!

Posted by: Sister on Aug 22, 07 | 10:11 pm

I read a review of Daniel Dennett's book and his opinion of the author, by a Jewish guy (not that his religion is relevant) - the book to which you referred -- it's not that positive! You insist on being a rebel, don't you? And you think I'm going to give up - like my grandfather and that of others, I never do, sorry! Love you just the same...

Posted by: Sister on Aug 23, 07 | 10:30 pm


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