“ Come Judy, we’ll dance again”. Nick Tua Pau Chia invited her.
Judy smiled at him. Stood up and walked into the floor. The hot music went on. There were at least fifty couples on the floor of that Recreation Club. Most of the men held their partners so tightly in their arms it could hardly be considered as moderate. Nick like Ali and the rest each paid S$300.00 for his dance ticket, which included nothing, more than a free partner. Joe Ching was the organizer. Joe was baldheaded, with bulging cheeks and exceptionally big belly. He loved the big belly as he told his friends that it signified prosperity according to the Chinese belief.
Joe stepped on to the platform near the Bend to offer his warm welcome.
“ Ladies and gentlemen,” he went on with that speech which he had practiced in front of his dressing table mirror for the past many days. “ I hope you regard this dance floor as your own. Enjoy yourselves until you are fully satisfied. I’m here to serve you all. Please tell me if there is anything that I can help.”
Around that Club House, couples were strolling along the cool and beautiful beach, which was enriched by the yellowish moonlight. Gradually the couples disappeared to where no one was able to know. But after one or two hours they would surely be back at the clubhouse again. All those free partners were actually prostitutes, which had been recruited from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines. They came under the social visit passes arranged by Joe Ching.
Judy was a GCE “O” Level student who was still waiting for her results. Being fresh from school she was naïve and unaware of all those unseen traps. She accepted Joe’s invitation with thanks. A big, dark, tall and ugly ex-infantry man was introduced to her that night. After half an hour dancing on the floor, Joe brought up a cup of drink for her and a beer for Nick.
“ Good luck, Nick. Joe whispered into Nick’s ear and patted him on the shoulder showing his set of golden teeth.
“ Let’s go for a walk on the shore,” Nick persuaded.
“ That would be lovely.” Judy commented thinking she was being social.
They came down stairs, strolled through the bush and were down on the sandy shore.
“ We’re getting near doomsday, “ Judy whispered.
“ What made you say so?”
“ Look at the couples there!”
“ Why? Isn’t that what we want instead of the dull routine of going to office and back every day?”
Nick deliberately encouraged Judy to watch the contorting couples in the field, under the venerable aru (casurina) trees, which were singing windy songs. On the seashore, grotesque rocks, hundreds of them, some as high as two metres, were resting on the superb sands washed clean by the waves. These rocks provided hiding grounds for the courting couples. The gentle breaking sound of the waves, as they arrived at the surfy shore could be heard. The breezes made them shivered. So he suggested that they should walk inland. They strolled along a path with branches pressing down on both sides. The creepers dangling over their heads with dead branches spreading on the ground.
Nick grasped Judy’s hand and plodded on. They came to a patch of turf with trees surrounding it, and the branches above his head formed a roof. He was wondering how to handle this charming lady who was at his mercy. The drug was absorbed into her system slowly and steadily. No woman would be able to resist its power.
“Judy darling. I know what you are thinking now. There is no need to fight it. You are torturing yourself.” Nick looked into her eyes and pushed her on to the ground. Judy did not resist nor shout for help. He pressed his mouth on her lips and pushed his tongue into her mouth.
“ Love is what you need and I am going to give it to you now. Nick pulled down her zip on the back and pulled her blouse over her head. He then slipped down her under wear, which was already wet. The single unit remained wriggling and rolling for many minutes on the ground. Joe surely planned his project extremely well.
The moon was high on the sky. Judy lay on the grass watching the full moon. Nick glanced at his watch. It was one o’clock in the morning. He dressed himself. How many innocent girls have been deceived in this manner?
That was a Sunday morning. Joe ranked up to enquire how Judy was.
“ Hello Nick. I hope Judy entertained you last night?”
“It was great, old man. She was perfect. A new one you know. Thanks a lot. I am going to pass her on to my boss, my department head, whom I report directly to. tonight at the Queen’s Hotel.” Joe showed some sign of satisfaction on his distorted face.
Since Nick had nothing he could use rightfully to advance his career, he had to use women to please his boss who was an orang puteh ( Westerner) from Baskaran Engineering Services. He could not bring the girl to the house of the boss because the boss had a wife staying in. So he solved the problem by taking her to check in at a local hotel. The next thing we heard was that Nick was promoted to be the chief engineer.
This cunning Joe started his part-time business only recently but it brought in more money than his full-time occupation. His technique was to deceive the girls telling them vacancies that never existed. Greed blinds one to dangers.
“ Right, Kelly, you come to see me next Friday. I may be able to help,” Joe said consolingly.
All other girls had been told the same story. Most of them had been offered temporary jobs in hotels and restaurants all over Singapore. All these girls were forced to offer their bodies and majority of them stayed on this oldest profession until they were no longer needed. They were too ashamed to return to their own countries or their boyfriends.
Kelly took an air ticket from Joe and flew to Kuala Lumpur. She checked into a hotel there and was given the presumption she was going to work in her new job within the next two or three days. In this hotel Joe offered her the best wine and food and of course the drugged drink as usual. She was forced to receive customers the same night.
“ Oh, you dog. I can’t do that.” Kelly slapped him on the face. Joe remained calm. Was he immune to this sort of assault?
“ You take it or leave it. If I were you, I wouldn’t refuse. What is the difference? You have lost your virginity anyway. Think of the economic return. You will be able to drive a BMW and own a landed property in Singapore within two years. You can then look for a husband and settle down for good. If you return to Singapore now, David would not want you again. I told David and his parents about you yesterday. They are old fashion you know. They cannot accept a daughter- in- law who is not a virgin on her welding night. It is still a taboo.”
Tears rolled down from Kelly’s eyes. She flunked a glass on Joe’s face, leaving a four-inch cut on the forehead. The casualty went for treatment at a private clinic and seemed to have no intention to take revenge.
That night there was a queue of customers waiting for her at the hotel corridor. One customer after another came in, each given ten minutes privacy and was told to leave by Joe.
News spread that a Singapore beauty was entertaining in KL. David came to KL and found no such company as “Star Enterprise”. Being curious what the Singapore beauty was doing in KL, he made an enquiry, and found the story of Joe was true. Kelly was in the hotel receiving customers. Rumours can split up the most loving couples.
That pimp’s business began to deteriorate only when he launched his campaign for big fish. Senior schoolgirls from Singapore and Malaysia were recruited. This illiterate shocker, with no qualification to brag about scorned at people with tertiary education. He told a group of girls that he received no education and yet he had a huge house and four sports cars and was able to donate S$1 million to a religious organization. He added that he was sad when he saw old people having no homes to turn to and had to depend on foods provided by the local religious groups.
“ When these old people are sick, do they have money to pay for their hospital bills? What’s the use of education? We are here to enjoy life and all one needs is to have money. Money does wonders.” The girls gazed at each other, wondering if they should believe him.
No words can describe the pain suffered by David. He only talked to Joe over the phone. It was difficult finding this secretive thug.
One elegant house was located at Woodland near the seafront. Its owner was on leave so Joe rented it at a very high price to turn it into his money churning headquarters. Another grand party was held there. This time I must confess the gathering was most horrible. A small bedroom was used by not less than ten couples, all having sex at the same time. It was a matter of what I do, you do and what I have, you may also have. Surely a person would go mad unless he pays the S$500.00.
That night Joe had to tackle a most difficult client.
“ S$500 is a big sum. Where is my bird?” James Sadang lost his patient and was on the verge of becoming violent.
“ No fear, James. A young one from JB. May be the traffic jam at the stupid causeway delayed her arrival. Please give me some more time.” Joe did his best to be diplomatic.
“ If she doesn’t turn up within half an hour, I’ll string you up on that penaga tree out there, or to the police you will go. You showed me this photo now where is the bird?”
“ Tick, Tick, Tick”, the grandfather clock on the concrete wall went on mercilessly and pointed at the 9 pm position. James who suffered the physical desire could wait no longer. There are three things that most people will ever have enough: wine, sex and sleep. James dragged Joe’s wife into her bedroom and locked the room from the inside.
The house had already been filed with smell of human flesh. Joe who was squad like a toad sat in the armchair with the expression of success on his face. The armchair was actually too big for him. Don’t we love big things like large cars and huge houses? What about the padded shoulders on our overcoats?
The proud roosters flapped their wings and crowed: kerkeker. Morning came and all customers were gone except James.
He unlocked the door, with a bottle of Black Label in his left hand and murmured:
“ Sorry to keep you waiting the whole night. You see, Joe, I’m the strongest of all. I can take concentrated liquor direct from the bottle. I haven’t visited our company doctor for the past ten years.”
He walked out of the house, into the street, and got wedged in the crowds and was never seen in this town again because he actually dropped dead few hours later and the doctor confirmed James Sadang had liver cancer. His colleagues confirmed he needed the liquor to go to sleep every night because of indignation, rage, frustration, fear, tension, uncertainty and blame.
That morning David met the long awaited man at Bukit Batok. Joe was visiting a new client living on the hilltop. As David came out of a friend’s house he saw Joe’s BMW behind a flower bush and waited for him there. As the chauffer driven car came to a halt, Joe adjusted his tie to make sure it was at the right place so that he could look more dignified. He slammed the car door closed and walked with the most business like manner toward the door. Sara came out to meet him.
“Well, are you coming to-night?” Joe enquired. “I have some VIPs from Japan and I would like you to meet them. You are chosen from over twenty other girls because you are beautiful and social. You will make a perfect secretary.”
“ I can’t go because David said he would come to see me tonight.”
“ Who is this David? Is he a VIP?” Joe pretended to ask thinking he could denigrate David so that Sara would think poorly of him.
“ He is our local Singaporean.”
Joe’s face lost its natural colour. He felt a coldness running through his spinal cord. Joe was able to bully all the foreigners who were here on employment passes. These EP holders had to earn a living and could not afford to lose their EP passes. So they normally tolerate those local bullies. For the locals, many of them have friends at high places. Joe will definitely stand on an unfavourable ground. Joe could never face David. He was brave when he used the hand phone to talk. When he thought of David he associated it with brutal force.
David who was hiding under a window and a bush of tropical plants hoped to hear more of the conversation. The shocker pulled himself together and murmured.
“ That jobless David. What is he doing now? Please invite him to come along. His company would be appreciated.”
“ What do you mean?”
“ He can help to send the girls home after the party and I can assure you he is no better than that.”
That night David could not find Joe. The Japanese did not turn up. There was no party. David took Sara to the seashore for a stroll. As they approached an aru tree, he stopped facing the sea. At that instant, a dark figure pointed a shinning knife on his back and ordered David to move or David would be sent to hell.
“ What do you………..” David did not finish the sentence but swung round his right heel to land it on the right ear of this potential killer sending the killer rolling on the sand.
The drizzle began. It was possible a lashing down pour would follow. Only a few meters away, Joe appeared, pointing a pistol at David.
“ Dog, you move or I’ll pump few pieces of lead into you”, a fiendish malice showed on Joe’s face.
“ Sorry to hurt your man, Joe. That gun will attract attention. If I die, you will be sentenced to death. Why risk your life? You’re rich now. Call it quit and I will make sure this matter is never mentioned again.”
“ Dirty swine, you think you are smart?”
“ I am not smart. But at least I don’t need stupefying drugs and intoxicants to keep me going,” David retorted.
Joe dashed forward to strike the enemy on the head with the pistol. David blocked the pistol; his left hand went for Joe’s throat. The pistol dropped during the struggle. The dying man plodded his way along the sandy shore only to fall few seconds later.
Later on the next days it was reported that two men were murdered on the beach and the motive was unknown.
However, a group of ten labourers came in to give statement that they saw David hitting Joe from the back with a timber on the right ear of Joe. David, and Sara were arrested at Jurong East and were locked up by he police to face the death sentence. When the x-ray came out, the fatal cracks on Joe’s head were found on the left side. There was no sign that Joe’s right ear was hit by a piece of timber.
Copyright © 2005 Poh Tiong Ho