The SugarBook — an online dating site that “provides a platform for modern relationships to form and grow” — has come to the attention of the government for teetering close to being a sex-for-money platform.
In case you’re not familiar, The SugarBook is a Malaysia-based platform that helps connect wealthy older folks (sugar daddies/mommies) with willing young people (sugar babies) and lets them have a relationship that allows the former to lavish material and financial gifts on the latter for company and/or sexual favors.
It’s morally and ethically questionable, of course, but hey, there are willing participants on both sides of the “sugar” relationship.
According to The Independent, Singaporean users currently account for about 75,000 SugarBook members — the second-largest group behind Malaysian users. Free premium membership is even offered to university students if they register with their respective university email addresses — The SugarBook states that it’s a “modern way to avoid student loan debt.”
It’s this popularity among young Singaporean females that some Members of Parliament (MPs) are clearly alarmed by. In Parliament yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development (MSF) Desmond Lee responded to questions by MPs Seah Kian Peng and Tin Pei Ling, stating that the government “collectively objects” to sites such as The SugarBook that “commoditize” relationships, reported.
According to Lee, the police are currently keeping “a close eye” on the platform and monitoring the activities of the individuals using it. Enforcement action will be taken when there is any procurement of sexual services for payment.
“Not only do such sites encourage (young women) to demean their own sense of self-worth, they also expose them to the risk of being exploited and abused,” said the minister.
“Young women, for instance, may feel pressured to comply with their wishes or demands, and risk physical or sexual harm if they reject them.”
Surprisingly, the MSF has not been banned the site as it did with Canadian extramarital dating platform Ashley Madison back in 2013. Lee noted that this was due to the fact that Ashley Madison explicitly advocated infidelity, and could undermine Singaporean families and society at large.
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