We study two hostess pubs on Joo Chiat Road, Singapore - a “Filipina pub” and a “Vietnam pub”. We compare and contrast the customer demographics of each establishment, and the resultant culture, which is a function of the ethnic-group of the hostesses, the demographics of the customers, the policies and ethos of the owner/manager, and the pricing model whereby hostesses get financially rewarded. Regarding pricing model, the Filipina pub relies upon “ladies’ drinks” whereas the Vietnam pub fosters a tipping system. Whilst the ladies’ drinks model signifies a hyper-capitalist business environment, the tipping model is feudal, honour-based and debt-based. We use as a theoretical lens the concept of “cosmopolitanism” and ask whether a “grounded” “cosmopolitan ethics” is even possible in an industry which is attractive to customers largely because of its structural, racial, and gendered differences and inequalities.
- hostess bars
- ladies' drinks