A day after salaciously reporting the violent deaths of a domestic worker and her Bangladeshi lover in a short-time hotel room, the New Paper carried a feature about Bangladeshi men as toy boys sought out by Singaporean women.
In a story dated March 7, 2012 (Toyboy targets, by Shaffiq Alkhatib, Amanda Phua and Amanda Yong), the newspaper said some lonely local women shower Bangladeshi workers with money and gifts to buy their affection and turn them into toy boys, quoting construction worker Makbul Hossain.
The story also said that:
Foreign maids are also attracted to Bangladeshi workers, but the men claim the maids are gold diggers who expect them to top up their pre-paid SIM cards and pay for their shopping and meals.
One of them, who has Bollywood star looks, said both Filipino and Indonesian maids have insisted on giving him their phone numbers but he was not interested,
But the maids countered that the Bangladeshi men are the ones who hit on them and ask for their phone numbers.
Stories such as this cannot but have an impact on how Singaporeans stereotype foreign workers, especially at a time when many employers of domestic workers are objecting to the new rule requiring a weekly day-off starting with new contracts from 2013. One of the reasons often cited is that the maids will get pregnant through sexual relations.
TWC2 always point out in response that it is not as if domestic workers have never had days off. About half already have monthly days off and roughly one in eight have week days off, even now before the new rule kicks in. The empirical fact is that instances of domestic workers getting pregnant are few and far between. In any case, employers have no right to control the sexual lives of their workers.