'If you have a daughter, you worry, worry, worry'

Engineer John Yeo moved to Geylang as a newly-wed 15 years ago. Now a father of two, the 42-year-old cannot wait to move out.

He and his wife never used to mind walking down streets filled with sex workers, pirated CD sellers and gamblers.

As a young couple, they found it all novel and appealing.

"I didn't mind it. And my wife's even braver than me," he said.

"When we were younger, sometimes men would stop her to ask, 'How much?' She would scold them!"

Now, the couple have a 12-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter to worry about and they want to move into a "good neighbourhood".

They would have moved sooner, but his wife was retrenched and he was demoted some years ago and their plans were stalled.

Now they hope to leave for an HDB estate by the end of this year.

He recalled how his daughter was just eight years old when she asked him why there were so many women "waiting for a taxi" by the side of the road. "I was so shocked. I suddenly realised, this is not the place for children."

Mr Yeo, who declined to be photographed for fear of being stalked by "unsavoury characters" in the area, said he has seen Singaporean women who come for a meal in Geylang being propositioned by men.

"If I just had a son, I'd just tell him, don't do naughty things. But my daughter, what if she gets picked up?" he asked.

"Geylang is not the place for fathers with daughters to live. You will have a heart attack one day because you'll just worry, worry, worry."

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.