I feel so middle aged and prudish saying it, but I was shocked by all the sex shops in Singapore.
You know how there’s usually a discreet door in Australia and a set of stairs up to the action? In Singapore they’re on the ground floor and a range of rather startling items are displayed in the front window.
There was even one in my local market.
Nobody batted an eyelid as they wandered past en famille.
It’s such a different story to 15 years ago when I was living in Singapore. Cosmopolitan magazine was still famously BANNED back then for being too saucy. Movies with bare boobs or swearing in them made NO SENSE at the cinema because they’d been so vigorously attacked by the censor’s scissors and my first issue of CLEO was almost taken off the shelves for featuring a cover line that said “How to blow like a pro …” NOT a story on haircare, but tips on fellatio from a prostitute.
I was unaware that such things were not to be mentioned in magazines … Oh, the scandal!
I was let off with a warning and became quite the celebrity. I actually heard someone whisper loudly to their friend on Orchard Road one day: “That’s Alana House!”
I was also very popular at functions when people realised who I was … The editor who published the blow job story!
Ah, those were the days!
Admittedly it wasn’t all nicey-nice in Singers … There was a darker side – a building called Orchard Towers, nicknamed “Four Floors of Whores” because it was filled with sleazy bars and “beauty parlours” offering “massages” and no manicures …
But it wasn’t something that was mentioned in polite conversation. It was the city’s naughty little secret.
But wow, now there are dildos in shop windows in Singapore! Nothing secret about that … I never thought I’d see the day.
Oh, and my friends tell me the censors let you see bums and boobs in movies now too.
I think chewing gum is still banned though …