A brothel to men is a paradise of lust, to the general public a forbidden land of disgust; to its residents – it is fate, miserable or hopeful.
Photo essay by YHO
Ring the bell. All you need to do is to literally ring the bell, and then there comes a moment of excitement. Like how as a child you excitedly kept your eyes closed until the moment you were told to open them to a birthday gift. The wondrous anticipation for the latest Robocon underneath the ornate wrapping papers. Your eyes are twinkling with eagerness. Yet this time your parents, wishfully, are absent. You are not expecting a robot under the gift wrap; you are to unfold a pilgrimage to Eros.
From all walks of life, men come here to ring the bell. At this moment, they are too busy with the storm of wild thoughts in their head, and they have no idea what is happening in the mind of the one approaching the other side of the door.
So the bell rings. All she has been waiting for is the sound of the bell. She may have hours of anxiety or a split-second of breath. The sound she loves and hates, is when the bell rings. Here comes another predator of hunger – his weakness makes him a saviour of her earthly needs. The moment the door is gently pulled open she takes a deep breath, veiling all the marks of distress and fatigue. From this moment on, she will be a goddess and she will be a slave.
Now the bell has rung and the door has opened. Their eyes meet and decide they will share the hour to come. Here starts the journey to heaven and hell.
Unlike what you may have thought, a civilised world city like Hong Kong is the hotbed to a flourishing, if it should be called one, sex industry. The locals, young and mellow, ‘compete’ with ‘expatriates’ from Mainland China, Japan and even Russia. Up on the line and down to the street, from directory websites frequented by the thirsty to neon lights showing the pathways to heaven, the industry of paid love is well-entwined with the pulse of the city. With professional tools that we call ‘sex toys’, pleasing skills coming with a hierarchy of mastery – the sex industry is a new norm bringing forth new notions of lust, desire and hope for future.
As the bell rings again, everyone continues on their different pursuit of lust, desire, and hope.
Published in Issue 39 Femme