Coffee, tea or massage?

Coffee shops in Geylang have recently seen a new trend emerging in recent months - open-air massages as other patrons eat and drink

Leaning shirtless against the chair, the middle-aged man groaned and moaned as his masseuse used her elbows to knead his back, which was smeared with oil.

Across the white plastic table, his "kopi kakis", who also looked to be in their 50s, continued drinking and chatting loudly, oblivious to their partner's back rub.

Welcome to mobile massage, Geylang style.

The New Paper learnt of the trend and visited a coffee shop along Geylang Lorong 11 two Mondays ago at about 9pm.

We spotted three women, who looked to be in their 30s to 40s, busy kneading tired knots out of their topless male clients.

Fifteen to 30 minutes later, the sessions ended and the women moved on to the next table, looking for new clients. They also appeared organised, spacing themselves about 10 tables apart as they went about their business.

Once the deal was agreed, the client removed his shirt before leaning his head on the table as the masseused smears aromatic massage oil on his back and proceeded to rub him down.

Everything was kept to waist up.

In the meantime, kopi aunties manoeuvred around the masseuse and her client, their movements smooth as dancers, as they expertly balanced the trays laden with drinks.

Although the men receiving the massage may welcome the service, some residents in the area are not happy with the public offering.

A TNP reader said that such public massages first appeared about three months ago.

SHOCKED

He said: "I was born and raised in Geylang and it shocked me when I first noticed such massages happening in public."

The caller, who is in his 50s, said he has seen a lot in Geylang, from the sale of contraband cigarettes, to fights and even mass arrests by the police, but this took the cake.

He said: "It shouldn't be done in the open. It's a really unpleasant sight and it makes people who see it really uncomfortable.

"Some of these women would even climb onto the men and massage them with their knees."

He said that the women would often join their clients for a drink or two after the session was over.

"Some of them even hug and kiss," he claimed.

When approached, one customer, who was having his arm massaged at a coffee shop, said he was getting a "Vietnamese-style" massage for $10.

His masseuse, dressed in rolled-up long-sleeved shirt and jeans, smiled at us, but declined to comment.

A stall assistant, who declined to be named, said there was nothing the coffee shop workers could do. She said: "As long as they don't disturb other patrons, we won't tell them to stop."

Open-air massages at Geylang coffee shops

Geylang, the final frontier

PROSTITUTES

Many of these women come from China and Vietnam and are said to be here on social visit passes, which means it is illegal for them to work here.

While prostitution is not illegal in Singapore, soliciting in public is a crime under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.

It is also an offence to have paid sex with anyone under 18 years old.

FOOD

Food in Geylang is definitely savoury.

Exotic dishes like frog porridge and kung pao-styled frog from Shi Sheng Claypot Frog make it an oasis of genteel activity in Singapore's centre of sin.

SEX PILLS

Peddlers sell illegal sex pills along the streets.

These adulterated pills cost between $5 and $80, but the Health Sciences Authority has warned against the use and sale of such drugs.

Several people have died from taking such pills.

GAMBLING DENS

Police regularly bust illegal gambling dens that operate within shophouses in Geylang.

In July, police arrested seven people and seized cash amounting to about $490 at a shophouse on Geylang Road.

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Open-air massages at Geylang coffee shops