What’s wrong with Malay girls?

The price of an air-conditioned girl

So a Russian girl is worth twice as much as a girl from north China, huh? And Malaysian girls are discounted fairly heavily. There are 460 million young adult women in China. That’s 60 times more “girls” that you’ll find in Malaysia (even if you count the Chinese Malaysians). My rudimentary understanding of economics suggests the scarcer commodity should sell for more. Perhaps some of our economist friends over at Marginal Revolution could explain what’s going on before we become Unspun or propmt Ranting from those who know the true value of cewek Melayu…

If nothing else, I’m happy to note from the poster that all nationalities are working in air-conditioned rooms. In these days of rising temperatures and oil prices, that’s a blessing whatever your price.

Hat tip: Unknown source via Digg and Mark Zip.

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This post was published on 09/07/08 in Gallery, The sex trade.

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  1. Comment by Tim Worstall, 09/07/08, 11:57:

    Scarcer commodity….yes, but it’s scarcity at that time and place.

  2. Pingback by Why are Malay girls cheaper? « Unspun, 09/07/08, 01:52:

    […] Wisdom of Whores authr Elizabeth Pisani is wondering why Malay girls are fetching such low prices and at the bottom of the ladder while Russian girls are so hot. […]

  3. Comment by N, 09/07/08, 10:42:

    Ha. History, not economics, often governs such transactions. In Dubai, Chinese women are now the lowest-paid and least desired group auctioned off to migrant laborers. It’s interesting to see how women are grouped based on a thematic stream of sorts so as to align with preferences and prejudices.

  4. Comment by anak bugis johor, 10/07/08, 01:08:

    i believe, the malay is meant indon as well. well it will not differ much to naked man.

  5. Comment by Bobby.....back in Singapore after 3 years in Bangkok, 10/07/08, 09:15:

    Elizabeth…..I picked up the book at Changi the otehr day after reading bits of the copy Fox has.

    Here is another twist for you. The book works like a love charm and chick magnet.Converstation normally starts with “thats an interesting title”……Thanks for the extra fun…Bob xxx.

  6. Comment by lion of the west, 10/07/08, 10:11:

    I think you forgot about DEMAND. Obviously Russian women are in higher demand. Market prices don’t lie.

  7. Comment by happyjuggler0, 10/07/08, 10:55:

    Where is the sign located? I’m guessing either China or HK.

    If so, then the lower price for Philippine girls and Malay girls than for China or HK girls may well have not much more to do than with language issues, with inability to speak the local language adding needless stress and work into the equation, detracting from pleasure.

    As for the Russian girls, one can only think their very different skin color makes them more exotic, kind of like buying a white tiger instead of a yellow one. Malays and Philippinas don’t have that edge.

  8. Comment by MS, 10/07/08, 11:08:

    Demand’s the key, provided the supply in that time and place is the same for all the classes.
    It’s like producing one tablet of cinnamon flavoured chocolate, and two of plain-black-chocolate.
    If 4 people want the latter, but only one wants the former, how would you expect prices to adjust?

  9. Comment by flalawyer2b, 11/07/08, 12:08:

    I just want to know if I can get a discount for buying “bulk” or if they offer a “layaway” plan.

  10. Comment by Daniel, 11/07/08, 12:27:

    You have to have both.

    A rare commodity is not worth anything unless there is demand for it.

    Unless there is some supply, all the demand in the world isn’t worth anything.

    They are two sides to the same coin. If you don’t have one of them, you don’t have the coin.

    If Russian girls are more expensive, it’s because of two factors: low supply, high demand.

    If there’s just low supply, it won’t translate to higher prices, you have to have high demand.

    If the Chinese girls are more expensive then others, it’s because there’s a lower supply in relation to the demand.

    If a maylay girl is worth the least amount, it’s because the demand is low, and the supply is high, compared to the other girls.

  11. Comment by Capt Obvious, 11/07/08, 03:16:

    Ummm, maybe because Malay girls are willing to “work” for that price? You might as well ask why high end whores go for $10,000+ an hour. Because that is what they demand, and they find clients willing to pay it.

  12. Comment by 鬼佬, 11/07/08, 09:16:

    Presumably from a sign in Hong Kong – 旺角 Mong Kok – although the English translation is a recent addition. Formerly there was a law that prohibited English language signs selling sex. Ok written in Chinese, though. Quite acceptable in pre-handover HK. A good thing we 鬼佬 couldn’t read the local language so we didn’t know what all those pretty yellow signs said. 解放後, with the coming of democracy to HK, things changed and everybody’s now equal.

    Most of the 馬拉 (Malay) girls are not *really* 馬拉 in Hong Kong. They are 泰國 Thai. Either the Thai girls, the brothel owners, or maybe both don’t admit that “Malay” means “Thai”. Thai girls come from the poor rural areas – usually the North East (Isaan), have darker skin (not desirable in most places in Asia) and are thought to have a higher incidence of AIDS.

    I shudder to think what would happen to the marketplace if they charged high prices for dark skinned females in HK. The same logic might be applied to English teachers. Imagine hiring a nonwhite English teacher from an English-speaking country to teach your children English and charging the same price as a white teacher. Unthinkable!

    Sure glad there’s no racism in Hong Kong. Guess that’s why everybody is so 開心…

  13. Comment by Unspun, 11/07/08, 12:18:

    There is a school of thought that believes that the whiter the better. A kind of white meat appreciation society. So Russian girls are top of the heap while Filipinas and Malay girls pick up the scraps. Not saying that it is right but that’s the way some people think.

  14. Pingback by Shanghai express :: También los chinos las prefieren rubias. :: July :: 2008, 11/07/08, 01:41:

    […] O al menos así parece desprenderse de este nada edificante anuncio. […]

  15. Comment by Melvin, 11/07/08, 02:19:

    You can’t infer supply from population. To me it seems clear that malays are the most economically disadvantaged of these groups, and so engage in prostitution in a greater proportion.

    Also, as someone has noted, even if you wanted to assume the proportions are similar you’d have to take into account limited mobility, so that supply in a given place at any given time is not the same as the world supply.

  16. Comment by David, 11/07/08, 04:32:

    Does no one find it remarkable that the marketplace puts no premium on Hong Kong origin? So essentially Hong Kong and China have reached full convergence a short ten years into the project (assuming the sign is relatively recent). And if the price is the same between “China” and “Hong Kong,” why list these separately?

  17. Comment by sao, 11/07/08, 09:27:

    Liz, stumbled into your blog and quite surprise that this is a topic discussed.

  18. Comment by 鬼佬, 12/07/08, 03:38:

    Most HKers see themselves as different from Mainlanders. Language is one way. Go over to Shenzhen and it can be hard to find sb who speaks Cantonese. Migration from out of province and the gov’s promotion of Mandarin means Cantonese is being pushed aside in Guangdong province. But speaking Cantonese is tied up with identity in HK and most HKers don’t speak Mandarin or don’t speak it well.

    Big-boobed (大波) “Northern mushrooms” (北菇=北姑)are often more than locals. But 鬼妹 white girls – usually Russian – are sometimes $800 HKD in Mong Kok.

  19. Comment by 鬼佬, 12/07/08, 03:45:

    Interesting – just noticed the Russian girl for 500. In Chinese she’s just listed as a 鬼妹 white girl.

  20. Comment by Mustafa Sabuwala, 12/07/08, 05:05:

    The Malay girls are not from Malaysia but Indonesia.
    Population of Indonesia, 300 million, mostly poor and few opportunities in service industries except as house-maids.
    High supply equals low prices.

  21. Comment by 鬼佬, 12/07/08, 07:19:

    There are Indonesian maids picking up extra $$ by selling sex on their day off, true. But they are advertised as such. If you read Chinese, check the ads in the 東方日報 Oriental Daily etc. The Indonesian girls are advertised openly. Not so, or rarely so, for Thai girls. The girls advertised as Malay are from Thailand.

  22. Comment by 鬼佬, 12/07/08, 07:39:

    Light skin is prized. Our previous Filipina maid used to take a parasol on a hot, sunny day. White girls in western countries spend $$ on getting a tan. In Asia girls (especially Korea, Japan, China) want to look white. In Thailand, Isaan girls come from the poor rural area and tend to be darker and discriminated against. Lighter skin colour = higher price. Dark skin suggests lower class. Other factors too – probably willingness to have sex in other than the missionary position. Note that the 500$ HKD 鬼妹 “white girl”/Russian is described as 狂野 crazy, wild. Nothing like that for the cheaper girls.

  23. Comment by Ma, 12/07/08, 07:12:

    Russian girls seem to be valued higher, but they are also probably harder and more expensive to come by for the “employer”. They may be “more valued”, but that would mean lots of brothels would be trying to bring more Russian girls over. The fact that they don’t (which keeps the price high) suggests that the smuggling of Russian girls is done by one or two organizations and is generally more expensive than coming by Malay girls.

  24. Comment by econ phd, 16/07/08, 09:02:

    As professor of economics, I can say the following regarding this price difference. Scarcity is not determined merely by numbers or absolute supply, but rather by the relative supply and demand. As for supply of girls, with relatively low income or opportunities for low skill workers in domestic countries will bring a higher number of prostitutes in to the market for a given transportation/entry cost. Let’s look at the average incomes in the above mentioned countries. In 2003, China’s GDP per capita was $5,321, Hong Kong’s $29,550 Malaysia’s $13,317, Philippines’ $3,900, and Russia’s $12,217. These incomes per capita probably have not changed much relative to each other, so year 2003 will suffice. There is a dramatic difference in average incomes between Hong Kong and China yet no difference in price. Moreover, Malaysia and Russia have about same incomes per capita in 2003, but their girls are at the opposite ends of the price range. It appears that these income differences alone do not explain the price difference. Why? Because we lack another important determinant of value (scarcity) – demand. Compared to Malaysia, Russia is farther away from the Asian market and has more exotic women for local tastes, which unsurprisingly manifests in substantially higher prices. What puzzles me is why services by China’s women and Hong Kong’s women have identical prices while their incomes are substantially different, while Malaysian girls are priced lower than Philippines girls despite higher incomes. My guess is that to buyers the difference between Chinese and Hong Kong girls is miniscule and therefore, price is the same. Perhaps, there is not much difference between Malaysian and Chinese girls either, but Malaysians’ could be priced lower if it was a local commodity (i.e. the brothel is located in Malaysia). Thus, it would be very important to know where this picture was taken in order to explain this price difference with economic forces rather than history (because history was determined by the same economic forces)!

  25. Comment by bleepsblops, 20/07/08, 01:29:

    I guess in Japan, where I used to live, it would be nearly the same – maybe Filipino women would get a better rating, though. Anyhow, the transnationality of prostitution seems to follow the transnationality of weddings, where economics plays a key role in dictating the norms.

  26. Comment by Michael, 21/07/08, 03:18:

    The skin color thing is just snobbery . In England when only the rich could live indoors and travelled by carriage white skin was the thing to have to show wealth and status – rich victorians used to have skin peels to stay white. The peasants had brown skin from living and working outdoors all the time. In the 60’s when the poor all worked in factories and only the rich could afford to travel overseas being tanned suddenly became thing to have – it was a sign you were well travelled and had money. I find it interesting the scorn that some of my chinese colleagues put on english guys who date malay, indonesian or phillipino girls when the white guys think brown girls are exotic. In a couple of generations when everyone drives to work in China brown skins are going to become more atractive.

  27. Comment by Anonymous, 22/07/08, 05:39:

    a “Hong Kong” girl is probably just a mainland Chinese girl that also speaks cantonese. And like others said, the malay girls are certainly/most likely not malay, but thai/indonesian.

    The preference for fair skinned (white) girls in asia goes so far that many women put on white makeup.

    you probably know some asian (hongkong) ghost movies where the gost just has white makepup and red lipstick on.

    thats how the girls in many brothels in cambodia look like.

    SCARY 😉

    so… nerdy white guys… go to asia!!!

  28. Comment by Leah, 28/07/08, 06:08:

    It may be that prices go up for all categories because the gender divide in China increases. The higher proportion of men to women, perhaps the higher in demand.

    Here’s an interesting article that connects increased rates of single (versus married) men to increased rates of violence.


    I wonder if there is a study out there that shows the impact of increase number of sex workers to rates of violence.

  29. Comment by Prof of Whores, 25/03/09, 06:40:

    Fer feck’s sake a hole is a hole. Cost is determined by the weight, the amount of lipstick, and the heels.

    Sometimes, a 2nd hole is worth extra, as are any special ‘tricks’.

  30. Comment by can can, 24/10/09, 04:46:

    why is this malaysians so defensive about their price! and they will say this are from Indonesia or thai! hello?? malaysian girls are stinky with body odour like curry! and dont be so hypocrite will you!! as if you where the richest nation on the planet and its impossible for malaysia to have prostitute! wake up malaysians! your still a 3rd world nation like most asian countries. the only difference is your petronas duh!

  31. Comment by Matter of Facts, 10/06/10, 03:58:

    It is the color of the skin !
    In Asia, fair and light skin are the most desired and is associated with upper class and so the demand. If brown skin Malay or Philipinas is worth $180 then the darker skin Indians would be $100 ! Maybe the black southern Indians is even worth much less !

  32. Comment by Steve, 14/08/10, 12:46:

    Personally I absolutely love Malaysian girls. I have had some of my best experiences ever with Malaysian girls and find then much more accomodating with fit, toned athletic bodies, keep themselves clean and trimmed and very willing to please more than chinese girls who are often like ‘starfish’. As for filipinas, I find them to be the worst of all, not pretty and not good service. So I am very amused that Malay girls are rated so low (cheaper even than Phillipino girls?!) when I always found them so hot. I also suspect these girls are not really ‘malay’ but from isaan in Thailand and/or Indonesia but I guess it would be good for me if they are really Malay girls- where was the photo taken!? Also, there are many very hot young Malay girls here in Sydney working in brothels. I guess they get paid the same as everyone else in Australia and it’s easy for them to get a student visa, so why would real Malay girls want to go work in Asia when they can come here to Australia and get paid more and not discriminated against?

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