THE BETELNUT GIRLS
I remember the first time I set my foot here in Taiwan. That was Fall season. October 2003. I was so afraid that time, siyempre first timer eh. Afraid, baka kasi kumakain sila ng tanga. Well, yes, aside from the language, I dont know much of their culture. I red a little about it on books in high school but that was their history, during the dynasty times. So for sure there a little bit different now. When our brokers, make sundo us in the airport, walang any conversation na naganap, except for asking our names & from what company are we into, other than that are through gestures, body, and sign language. They brought us in a bus along with some Thai's and Indonesians national. As the bus hit the highway, me & my batchmates are clueless to where we are heading to, until I realized, that we our going to a hospital for medical check-up, that's the time when I remembered, a JS Contractor personnel said, that after we arrived in Taiwan we will gonna have a medical check-up, a general procedure for incoming foreign workers. And besides medyo may banta pa ng SARS that time. While we are in a bus bound to a hospital somewhere I saw these girls/ ladies in their skimpy outfits in broad daylight.
At first I thought, they were hookers so I said "Anu yan?", "Bakit ganyan?", "Legal pala ang mga ganyan dito sa liwanag". And as our bus hits the highway and small streets, I still saw a lot them. Until, one of our kasama said, who is already been here in Taiwan for the second time, "mga NGANGA girls yan, taga tinda ng nganga, ganda noh!". So then, they are the so-called BETELNUT girls pala or in chinese, the "bin lang xiao jie". While seeing them in their outfits, i felt sad & amazed too. and there's a lot of questions burst into my mind. "Why they should need to dressed in kinky outfits just to sell that betelnut, shit?", "Hindi ba sila naeexploit o nababastos sa mga suot nila?", or "gusto kaya nila ang gingawa nila?" As our bus came to an end to our destination, the hospital I mean, I still thinking of them, (not to fantasize them, well, yes, a bit) and still have some questions to dug in some answers.
After my first 3 years of contract ends, I've got answers to my questions. With some research on the net and interviewing some local (Taiwanese), I've got all the answers I needed. Based on what they said, they use skimpy clothes because most or 90% of the customers are males. Sexy clothes are for attracting customers but other girls put flavors on it by selling other stuffs and sidelines. They, the betelnut girls, dont want to be betelnut girl but they are force to do that because of high cost of living here. They also said, in selling betelnut, money is easy and there in no much work load to be taking care of, but the bad part is the impression of the people, some people think that they are 'easy' to get in. Some perverts want to touch their body too. Though they wore that kind of clothes, it doesnt mean that they can be harassed.
Now, most of the betelnut stands/store have a camera for security purposes.
Photo credit here.