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Social Science Research (10 days in Singapore 1)

Updated on June 12, 2013

Brief Introduction to Social Science Research

Brief Introduction

I arrived Singapore on Thursday 15 September 2010 by Jetstar Airline to conduct a social science research for my Independent Study (IS) by using the research methodology of Ethnography is a branch of Anthropology. The social science research is a methodology of gathering data of social and culture in the specific area and the most properly research methodology to obtain precisely or validated data by empirical observation or is called ethnographic method. The interest groups will be observed their behavior, attitudes, and other elements related to the working conditions on their regularly basis.

Note: Unfortunately this project cannot be completed due to tough working environment.

Target Group (Samples) : the Thai girls and guys who work at night clubs in Singapore including other underlying businesses such as Thai Cocktail Lounge, pub, karaoke, Thai bars (similar to Japanese bars on Silom road, Bangkok, Thailand).

Timeline : 1 month observation in the selected field site(s).

Methodology : Ethnographic Research based on Social Science Research. This method is an empirical observation at field site.

Research Objectives :

· To understand the causes and effects of human smuggling or trafficking aboard.

· To identify the motivations of migrations and the factors of becoming human products, being prostitute, being victims of human smuggling and trafficking.

· Insightful comprehension of the study targeted group in several aspects such as their behavioral patterns, making a living, community and other relative elements.

Assumption :

1. Is the under privilege condition cause the migration of those Thais who work at night club, pub, lounge, bar, and massage parlor and the cause of prostitution?

2. The lumpy money is the key motivation for Thais to migrant to Singapore.

3. What are influences, persuasions of becoming victims in human trafficking, smuggling such as advertised or persuaded by family members, relatives and friend(s) accelerate or any other factors affected their decision making of migration.

4. Is there any other factors influence those Thais relocate to Singapore such as neighborhood country, no visa requirement, recommended by friends or relatives and so on. And to figure out are there any factors causing this procedure.

Immigrant process to the underlying business in Singapore:

Prior to come to Singapore I have to submit my scanned passport and my will to the manager here to identify who I am and why I need to come here. After that they asked me for a photo of mine to show my face prior to come. I have to confess that my cousin who has been working at Thai night club in Singapore was the influencer or we can call her a trafficker who will cheat or fraud Thais by luring lumpy income at least 100,000 baht without going out with customer they can generate from working at that night club. This is the most popular advertising method the traffickers use to cheat the target victims or volunteers.

Working Hour: Night club will start at 9.30.00 p.m. - 04.00 a.m. in the daily basis with 2 days off per month.

Payment Date: At the end of the month (via agency) and compensate by the target number of drinks I can achieve. But some staff will receive salary and allowance twice a month (on every 15 and 30 bimonthly basis).

Thai staff member segments:-

1. Singer (mostly is Thais and only one Singaporean)

2. Dancer or Coyote

3. Club Managers and Securities (Singaporean only)

4. Waiters and Waitresses

5. Cheer Guest (Flower seller)

Note: There are Vietnamese girls working in the same place.

Why Ethnographic Approach?


- The nature of human behavior can be observed and a researcher could get the accurate data from observation.

- Less statistical involvement. If you don't like the stats and number, this method is more appropriate to you than others.


- The data is not consistent because the behavior, attitude, perception and value of human always changes.

- Timing : Applying this method to a survey, the proper timing has to be determined.

- Difficult to obtain the research evidences such as VDO recorder, MP3, and photo from field work. In the unpredictable scenarios, researcher possibly not getting any information from the field work observation.

- More difficult in assessment or evaluation than other type of surveys.

- High cost.

Field Work Observation : Diary

Day 1- Thursday 15.09.2011

After I’d arrived Changi airport I headed to a house that I reserved earlier. When I reached there I met a lady who in charge of a house namely T. She's helpful and sincere. There were nothing much to do here so I just help her cleaning a house and cooking. No TV but most of girls and guys who stayed here have their own notebook, netbook and tablet. At night time, everybody was preparing themselves for work. And it seemed that everybody here has their own duty to do as well as mine.

At the night club, I have to scanned my passport together with the boarding pass at the reception counter. Tao gave me the staff ID number 4319 and brief introduction what I have to do as a Dancer and month target I have to achieve is 250 drinks. There are 4 rounds for dancers but each one can go on stage 2 rounds/night and it takes 10 minutes approximately. The rest of time the dancers have to take care the customers by taking, dancing with them in order to get more rewards for them. I did not perform today just sit there and watched the overall performance.

But there was one girl who works in this field for 5 years asked me to accompany her approaching the customers. As the target is high when she was refused by customers, she upset and complaint that the customers just enjoyed touching her without offering any drinks".

The night club closes around 4.00 a.m. and all employees must sign time out. Finally, I wrap up my first tired working day.

Day 2 - Friday 16.09.2011

At 6.30a.m. I wake up as an automatic clock wise. Then, I slept again until 11.00 a.m. approximately. After I finished a routine basis I went out because I felt not really good with my work so I need refreshment. I went to Bugis and tried to learn the public transportation over here by using MRT and SMRT. I went back to a house around 6.30 p.m. then, went out with my cousin who is a singer here to Bugis shopping arena before went to work.

I reached the night club around 9.30 p.m. with my cousin and it's too early for a dancer like me. As my work is not really good at all when I asked a waiter for a pain water, he just replied that "if you want a free water, you can find in the toilet?".

The club crowded with the customer again but I preferred not to talk to anybody.

At night there were many customers came to the club and I tried to approach them with lack of confident at all. When I talked to them I really don't like it (dizzy and felt bad in my guts like I wanted to vomit). But this time I went on stage in order to complete my duty as a dancer without chatting/taking care of the customer. I cried again just because I missed my class and some classmate.

My cousin was really nice to me, she tried to teach me how to approach the customers and, diffinitely, many customers were introduce by her. Besides, Tao pushed me all the time. When she saw me sit at a sofa at the sidewalk, she totally pissed off and said that "Why you're sitting here, go approach the customer." "You come here to work, don't you."

Sometimes later I went back to that sofa again and pretending that I drunk, LOL!!

I got 4 flowers today. And there are many Thais who caring about the others, especially, the first comer like me. Then there was a guy approached me there, he seduced me and asked for my cell number. I just gave it to him.

Finally 4.30 a.m. again it's time of ending my tired and difficult life of today again.

A markerBugis, Singapore -
Bugis, Singapore
get directions

Day 3 - Saturday 18.09.2011

I get the short phone message from the customer who approached me last night at the workplace. This is a very good example of a customer who seduce a girl who work at night club. This is my good opportunity to conduct my first experiment in interacted with customer outside a work place. I tried to get some value information about building a relationship between a night - club girl and the customer.

Example of SMS correspondences.

2.06 a.m. I miss you

2.08 a.m. I love you

11.39 a.m. You'd better love your wife and kids (Self)

11.48 a.m. Where are you now. Later you free

11.50 a.m. In bed!!! Ummmss yes I will be free in late afternoon or evening (self)

11.50 a.m. But I also love you how

In my conclusion, there are many formative seduction both customer and night-club girls such as second wife, girl friend proposed and some just straight away proposed his/her needs.

At a night club I tried to approach the customer again but I could not do it because I am too scare to do so and the same fear is haunting me. But today was my lucky day because the boys interested in me and he came over and invited me to sit with them. They are really shy after I reached and introduced myself. Nobody talked to me again (LOL!!). Then I asked other girls to join before I left them browsed around the club.

Finally I could obtain some value information from a group of customer who come here regularly. One of them seduced me and asked me in Chinese to sleep with him at home because he doesn't have any wife. He offered S$200, S$300, then S$500 for 2 nights with him. I reject again. He keep asking me how much he has to spend if I will go with him. I just replied 10k (LOL!!). He laugh out loud over again and again. After he give me a tip 30 bugs, I tell him that I will ask my friends to company before I disappear from his table.

But finally I could obtain value information about the one night stand proposal from a group of middle aged customers. One of them offered me.

I just walk out of the night club without going with them. Ending of one tired day with a good information.

Note: The offered price start with S$100.

The Diary

Day 4 - Sunday 18.09.2011

I wake up with a very terrible headache and painful body this morning. Today is my turn to cleaning the house. After I've finished my duty I go to sleep because I am very tired with my job last night. But my housemates are quite nice, especially Madam T cook a very delicious food for us today.

I started drinking whiskey today and seem to be most of the clients here know that how chicken I am. By the way today I have an opportunity to talk to a girl who work at night club namely Chan in Bangkok before coming here. She told me that when she worked at Chan, she had to wear bikini during her working hour. But at a night club here she can wear just a sexy dress to work so that she feels happier here.

Then I have a chance to talk to the two girls from Chiang Mai, they are quite young actually. They are willing to come here via agent. They said that an agent haven't force her to achieve the drink's target. So they decided to come to work at this night club as a dancer and they will receive payment twice a month.

Today many people help me introduce to the customers but I was not attractive enough. I’d drunk and felt extremely sleepy so I have to keep myself awake all the time. At home my cousin advises that I should not get drunk because it's very dangerous here. The police can come and investigate any time. Next time I should be aware of this instruction.

Note: The girls who can make a dirty dancing normally will get more valuable reward from the customers.

Perception Towards Thai Girl

Last night I dress up like normally at work in order to observe the reaction of the people who have normal life. The guys at Chinese restaurant greeted me "Hi/Hello" in Chinese. And few Indian employees at mamak store show thump up to me. Along the way to work, many people were staring at me. At the traffic light, I met Idian guy said something in Tamil which I think it's not a good word. But few guys at Mamak store pay symphaty to me but they are slightly looked down at when I told him that I am a dancer working at night club in this area.

At the convenient store where I've purchase milk every day. When I entered the girls at the cashier counter starred at me differently. When I pay for my milk, after I received a change she disappointed curse with a sadly plus disgusting face that "Ohhhh Owwwwweeeeeeee". She's slightly shocked.

The day-walking people have a very negative perception towards me and they already judge me base on their perception and former experience.

This kind work is highly competitive and high cost of living. Because every day they have to spend a lot of money to branding themselves to the customers by dressing sexy attire, new hair style, put on the nice make up etc.

Sales Target

There are different target for each singer and dancer according to his/her agreement with the agent and or company. The singer, definitely, has to achieve higher sales target than dancer.

Overall, there are 3 different type of the dancers and singers as follow:-

1.) Directly hired by the company

2.) Hiring by an agency

3.) Freelance - in general, they will higher payment of the target they can achieve than those who work under the agency or company itself.

For Instance

Employed via company or agency will receive S$ 5 per 1 point he/she get, whereas a freelance will receive S$ 8 per 1 point. And there are variable targets plus salary each individual singer or dancer can select.

Target of the Drinks

(click column header to sort results)Type of Employment Target Payment Type of Reward from the customer SingerDivesification according to working experience. But in general they have to acheive monthly 600 drinks S$2,500 plus the flowers an drinks target they could achieve- Waterfall (Whiskey) = 5 drinksDancerDepends on the agreement between the girls and agent but normally they have to achieve monthly 250 - 350 drinks S$500 or S$1,000 plus reward from the customers such as flower or belt - Tarquila = 1 drinkCheer Guest or Flower/Blet sellerS$2,500/daySalary + Sales Target Achievement- Flower = 1 drink **S$10 = 1 Point- Fower for Miss Beauty Queen with the value of S$50, 100, 150, 200, 500, **1,000

Day Off

Day 5 - Monday 19.09.2011

Last night was my lucky - day day off. In day time I went out to China Town and visited Hindu Temple over there and shopping window around before making an appointment with Mr. D.

We agreed meeting at People's Complex but as some misunderstanding with our SMS communication I was waiting for him at People's Center where many elderly people meeting over there. I sat among aunties and uncles well I should says that among grandpa & grandma instead, LOL!! :P

Around 1.30 hours waiting, he arrived, then we kept chit chat while walked around the centers to the complex. I tried to get more information about him as much as I could but what I got was not enough information. No shopping, but yes staying with him at the hotel offered I just refused and he did not force me to do what I never want to do. Ending my very tired day experiment. Next 2 weeks he will come find me again, it's time to follow the research ethics - asking permission of using of his voice recorded.

At home everything just fine as they daily life, cooking, eating and chatting before working hour start again.

But today is my lucky day because I have an opportunity to hang out with a friend of my cousin at the Hi-Society Club where there have a pole dance show. It's very nice place with good atmosphere. Most of their customers are middle - upper class Singaporean We just hanged out for 1.30 hours approximately before he sent us house. I went to bed immediately because I already exhausted in day time. It's very good to relax before go to work again tonight!!!

Note: God please forgive me I did many lies here!! And I just find out some difficulties of Ethnographic method. It completely hard to narrow a FW and to analyze the data. Maybe the difficulties of conducting or using this methodologies causing rare researcher use this method. Anyway I have to complete this project.

The 10 Days Trial (Pilot Test) in Singapore


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