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I want nobody nobody but you! [clap clap] I want nobody but you! [clap clap]

PHILIPPINES | Monday, 19 December 2011 | Views [694]

When the all-girl Korean band Wondergirls released there soon-to-be pop classic Nobody in 2009, somehow I doubt they’d envisage it would become a pole dancing anthem.

Just like marvelling at the Borobudur Temples in Java, watching the sun rise over Borneo at the top of Mt Kinabalu or midnight skinny dipping with a bunch female Canadian exchange students, satisfying my morbid curiosity of the go-go bar phenomenon of the Philippines was on my to-do list for this sultry archipelago.

Did I not notice the subtle hints of what was to come upon arrival? The seemingly ubiquitous pleasantry of “Hello Sirrr, may I know your nationaliteeeeeee?” or something more sinister than the friendly banter amongst foreigners regarding Rufi-coladas, STD burgers or chilli sauce ingeniously used in more ways than one.

There’s always something stimulating about doing something naughty. The giddiness, the sweaty palms or the underlying guilt the conscience envelops us with. Would curiosity finally kill the cat? As this adventurous (yet arguably stupid) traveller was soon running out of lives, the blinding light that flashed before my eyes held a confronting epiphany: Is the how I would want to use my last life? Have I taken it too far this time?

That blinding flash of light was the headlights of my taxi.

Angeles, sin city itself, an enclave, an industry stemming from the nearby former US army base in Clark. Two things automatically stood when one enters: the abundance of flashing neon lights and the strangely comforting yet sickening ease of which one is made to feel that all of this all of this was socially acceptable. Bar-hopping in a place like this could be an indicator of one’s voracious libido but for this traveller it was more about peeling away the superficial layers. And yes I can see the smirk on your face whilst reading this.

Most would be under the impression that ‘One for you and one for me’ would be the polite way to go when ordering drinks. As it turns out it was more like one for me, and one for you and each of your friends. Considering her one was three times the price of my one, it wasn’t long before I had to defibrillate my wallet that went into cardiac arrest. In the midst of financial CPR I am taken aback by the sudden flurry of women racing to the stage with adolescent excitement as their favourite song is played. What was this mysterious song? Laced with foreign vocals and a catchy beat, it had an inexplicable effect on these women, transporting them into a world of melodic ecstasy with synchronised hip thrusts, hand claps and seductive finger nods.

Defibrillator aside, I was transfixed on obtaining this mysterious super-power, harnessing it to achieve complete and utter world domination. I closed my eyes and began to internalise the forces that be, channelling the powers towards my inner sanctum I uttered with quiet authority: By the powers of Grey Skull, I am He-Man!

Fail.

As the night wore on, invariably clichés would emerge. The bar-girls were all poor rural girls forced to work in this industry to support their family and all the men were twice divorced Westerners who had become disenchanted with life back home. Like every Yin there was a Yang, however this marriage of two needs created moral napalm. Not that it mattered to either party.

Sitting there, quietly observing my surroundings I’d admit that Sheryl Crow got it all wrong as it was clear that Bill or Billy or Mac or buddy was finally having a day of fun. The twice divorced aging westerner with a girlfriend under each arm, accompanied by free flowing liquor had a grin so wide that Satan himself would be envious of.  

Ironically, it’s not always the high life for these born-again hedonists. Periodically, an insignificant reference to a foreigner gone missing, kidnapped and/or murdered pops up in the local newspaper. Men who have become addicted to the glitz and glamour that their foreign currency could buy, gone broke by their lavish spending, artificial friendships and the overwhelming fear of having to address the gaping hole in their lives that drew them there in the first place. Men who have essentially become victim to the system they foolishly thought they owned. Seems like Sheryl Crow did get it right from the beginning after all.

Hit it!
This ain't no disco
And it ain't no country club either,
This is Angeles City...

But seriously, who on Earth ends a journal with the opening lines of a song anyway?

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