China dolls and love: Don’t be crazy! It’s just for the money, darling!


I HAVE a very good friend who is a taxi driver in Kuala Lumpur. I came to know him 18 years ago when I first moved to Peninsular Malaysia.

A few years ago, he related to me a story about one of his fellow taxi drivers – a buddy of his whom I had also met casually a few times.

It turned out that his friend, a widower in his early sixties at the time, was involved with a China doll. She was only 26 then and was working as a masseur in KL.

Well, the story went that he had fallen in love with her. Eventually, she stopped working and moved in with him. Although his son did not approve of the father’s young girlfriend at first, he later accepted that his old man also needed a companion to care for him. The lady was also a help in the house, cooking and doing the chores while the men were at work.

From the horse’s own mouth, this was what the old man with the ‘sweet young thing’ told my friend as the relationship ended.

It just lasted 14 months with the ‘sugar daddy’ having spent all his savings of about RM100,000 on her.

Beside a monthly allowance which he would give to his dolly, there was always the ‘extras’ he had to fork out for her. At regular intervals, she would ask for money to send back to her family in China. There would always be this problem or that issue at home. Her father or mother would be sick and a younger brother or sister would need money for school fees or this and that.

Having exhausted all his savings, the so-called fire of love was also extinguished.

Finally, the friend conceded to what has always been as clear as daylight in this symphony of a love affair – No money, no love!

In a case like this, we can’t really say that love is blind although it can be at times. This case is one of men who think with their other ‘heads’, period!

I was reminded of this story after reading the report of wives in Miri going on a signature campaign against China dolls said to be flooding the town now.

According to a Borneo Post story, 24 women, from various non-governmental organisations, have ganged up to go after China dolls who are plying their decadent trade, including “take away” services, at reflexology centres and health spas in Miri.

The women have launched a signature campaign urging wives to support their initiative to bring vice activities in the city to a halt. They wanted their protest to be taken seriously, saying that immoral activities would destroy the family institution and spur social ills. While I must applaud the Miri wives for their initiative, I also wonder how effective such a campaign would be.

But I would agree that immoral activities must be curbed, or at least controlled.

Seriously, you don’t have to be a genius to realise how immoral activities and the sex trade have managed to flourish, not only in Sarawak but throughout the country.

Miri mayor Lawrence Lai has given a hint.

He explained that the role of the council was only in terms of licensing while curbing prostitution was actually under the purview of the police and Immigration Department.

“Only these two bodies have the legal teeth to tackle this issue,” he pointed out.

In fact, these two departments are the very authorities which should be in the forefront of resolving the issue at hand.

What one blogger wrote recently on the matter says it all.

“China dolls are willing to pay agents relatively high fees to obtain tourist visas for ‘long stays’. The agents of course will have access to the top immigration officers to ‘kau tim’ (settle everything), as reported in the Malay Mail recently.

“Agents charge these China dolls exorbitant rates of between RM1,500 and RM6,000 for visa extensions of between one to six months. The government’s normal rate for extensions per month is only about RM100.

“Money makes the world go round,” he added.

As for the police, it is widely believed that police raids on suspected vice dens or sleazy joints like karaoke lounges or night clubs are often carried out just for ‘show’, as all too often an informer would tip off the operators before such raids took place.

Although such stories could not be independently verified, the apparent influx of China dolls into Sarawak makes these rumours hard to ignore. It’s unfortunate and sad but such is the way things go in this ‘great’ prospering nation of ours. Nay, we are not proud of it!

According to a Kuching blogger, there are 195 massage parlours and reflexology centres in the state capital and about 3,000 Chinese girls from mainland China enter Sarawak every month!

“They have local agents to look after them and procure clients for them. At night, after mid-night, these girls descend on a few local eateries in hoards after work.  They are crazy about eating crabs.  Apparently, back in China, crabs are beyond the means of poor villagers.

“A taxi-driver once told me that he overheard some China dolls saying that they were able to remit between RM10,000 to RM20,000 back home every month.”

Ho ho ho, Sarawakians (the men of course), are certainly contributing to the economy of the great People’s Republic of China.

As always, it’s only fair that we also take note of the positive side of the China doll issue.

This is one letter in a blog which I find heart-warming. The writer, Jasmine, has this to say.

“It’s a pity that girls from China are ‘labelled’. The stigmatisation is a little unfair to them.

“I went for massage too in Kuching and the girl who provided the service is just over 15 years old. She diligently did her work, and later I saw her going to the back of the shop, open her ‘packet rice’ and finish the bits of food left.

“Is she eating packet rice every day? Ya, away from her home, from the home cooked rice and dishes by her mummy.

“It’s pitiful that at such a young age, she has to work abroad in order to sustain her family. I think they are very filial children and I feel for them.

“And I do not think there are any parents who are willing to let their young daughters travel across the oceans to find work if there is comfort at home?”

Well said, Jasmine. Yes, there are China girls who are really earning a decent living too. That is a fact.

But then again, reality must sink in. At the end of it all, the majority who are here are for the money – quick, easy money!

So men, never plunge into a fantasy world with them unless you have really deep pockets.

Remember, use your head and er, the one on your shoulders because “it’s all about money, darling!”

Comments can reach the writer at

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