E-Junkies: Mark Lee reveals secrets about prostitutes and their 'managers'

After the heartwarming and family-friendly Reunion Dinner released earlier this year, local actor Mark Lee's next film is the gritty Geylang directed by Boi Kwong.

The action-thriller neo-noir is set in the infamous red-light district, connecting five seemingly unlinked stories — surrounding crime, sex, guilt, violence and perversion — that unfold in one action-packed night. The movie also stars Sheila Sim, Shane Mardjuki and Taiwanese actress Patricia Lin.

Mark plays a foul-mouth pimp — or "manager of prostitution" as he calls it — nicknamed Fatty and in preparation for his role, the 53-year-old spent a few hours chatting with a real-life pimp in Geylang and also with a triad boss to find out more about the trade and the district.

Sitting with AsiaOne in a video interview, he told us this is the first time in his showbiz career that he's met people similar to the character he plays.

"After chatting with them about the lives of prostitutes and their own experiences, I realised how little we know — we are like frogs in a well. Their lives are so exciting, and some of their experiences will even bring you to tears," Mark said.

"For instance, the pimps really take care of the women under their charge and they even help the women find partners. There are also some women who marry their former customers, start a family and later bring their kids to visit their ex-managers."

He added the "managers" dote on their charges and would advise them to stop their work after a period of time to look for a good man to marry.

Apparently, some famous people in Singapore, including artistes, also visit a particular brothel in Geylang, Mark's contact told him.

Mark said: "Some appear on TV and some in newspapers. He mentioned a few but he didn't tell me their names because there're still ethics in the industry.

"He told me the platforms that the famous customers are on. His customers go to his brothel because it's the only one that has parking spaces at the back door."

Watch our video above for the full interview.

kwokkarpeng@asiaone.com