A look at Singapore hostess bars through the lens of Negri and Chakrabarty

Kieran Edmond James*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Downloads (Pure)


This article, written in a confessional, autoethnographic style, explores the author’s experiences over a number of years with Singapore hostess bars/pubs. The research method is participant-observation of practices, discourses, pricing models and customer demographics, and knowledge gained from hostesses, bar managers and musicians. The law aspect of the article is critiquing the lack of citizenship rights and marriage rights for foreign workers in Singapore such as pub hostesses and construction workers. It also looks at the working conditions and cultures of the pubs, and describes the alienation and emotional labour involved in delivering heavily racialized and gendered services. Neither Filipina/Vietnamese hostesses nor Europeans have established places within the Singapore citizenship narrative or in government policy, which relies upon the hegemonic CMIO (Chinese, Malay, Indian, Others) Model. Filipina and Vietnamese pub hostesses do not fit neatly within this model and are hindered by the power of the narrative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Access Research Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2024


  • Filipinas
  • gender
  • hostess bars
  • ladies' drinks
  • moral panic
  • race and class
  • Singapore


Dive into the research topics of 'A look at Singapore hostess bars through the lens of Negri and Chakrabarty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this