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Tue, Oct 09, 2012
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Find a spot... and watch sparks fly
by Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

As a child, my parents used to scare me from going to dark, secluded places.

"Evil spirits will swallow you," they warned.

As an adult, I now know that's not true.

The only "hantus" (Malay for ghosts) I came across on Thursday night as I went about in the dark for this assignment were the ones I saw huddled in cars and on benches.

And no, they did not disappear into puffs of white smoke, though they'd give you the evil eye for disturbing their peace.

These were lovers locked in nocturnal embrace outdoors, cherishing every whisper of sweet nothings from their partners.

On Thursday night, I might have been the cause of many a magical moment lost.

You see, my car's headlights had on several occasions inadvertently unmasked their little romantic corners when I visited some of these lovers' haunts.

I wasn't being nosy on purpose. I was just trying to understand what all the online buzz was about.

Recently, many netizens have been talking about these islandwide lovers' haunts, after juicy details of the so-called sex-for-contracts case became public.

Overnight, carparks at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Mount Faber and HortPark became famous.

That such places exists is no big secret - they're as old as the word "love" itself.

But when you have a fine-looking woman like Ms Cecilia Sue, the IT sales executive at the centre of the corruption trial, accusing former Central Narcotics Bureau head Ng Boon Gay of forcing her to perform oral sex at these carparks, it would naturally invite curious minds.

Some netizens on and sammyboy. com have shared their favourite lovers' haunts, while others vowed never to reveal theirs.

Coincidentally, there was one satirical report claiming to see "more than 50 couples at four different carparks around Singapore" after Ms Sue took her stand in court.

The report was re-posted in other forums, inviting more debate on the case.

So there I was, all alone at one of the carparks at SGH on Thursday night.

There were 230 other empty carpark lots, making this one of the perfect places to find privacy - but only if you don't mind paying the parking fees.

And at one of the long-time lovers' haunts at East Coast Parkway, I felt a sense of camaraderie.

Older couples sat in pavilions or on benches facing the sea, enjoying the cool breeze.

It was after midnight, yet it was filled with parked lorries and cars.

You could barely make out the figures - slumped in the backseat through the heavily-steamed up windows - or hear them. The only sound is the hum of idling vehicle engines.

As one 25-year-old dating couple told me: "The carpark is filled, but it's peaceful. People here still respect your privacy. They leave you alone."

But is there a scientific explanation for making out in public?

Is it the thrill of doing something naughty outdoors (albeit in a vehicle), or the pleasure of gazing at the stars?

Perhaps the answer is uncomplicated, says Dr Tommy Tan, a consultant psychiatrist.

"It (the answer) is as simple as that... People want to find a quiet place where they can communicate their feelings to their partners," he explains.

"It's a phenomenon that happens in any city in the world."

East Coast Parkway carpark F3

Why: Safety in numbers. The people in the vehicle parked next to you are probably there for the same reason - to make out.

This is THE make-out spot, judging by the packed parking lots with vehicle engines idling away.

Watch out for: Watch your step. Inconsiderate couples leave trash and used tissue papers on the roadside.

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) carparks

Why: Plenty of parking space. After visiting hours are over, you'll find most of the carparks there empty.

Unfortunately, its discreet nature has been exposed by the court case.

You might end up being spotted there by curious onlookers.

Watch out for: Paying for parking space. The parking meter starts ticking the moment you enter the barricaded carpark.

Mount Faber carparks

Why: Depending on where you park, the view of Sentosa or Telok Blangah and the city can be great.

Some carparks offer more privacy because they're mostly deserted on weekdays.

Watch out for: Nosy tourists hoping to get a good "view".

Marina Barrage

Why: You get a full view of the Singapore Flyer and the dazzling lights from skyscrapers in the Central Business District.

The rooftop field allows couples to stretch out and gaze at the stars.

Watch out for: Rain. There's no cover on the roof, yet that didn't stop six couples we saw on Thursday night from finding quieter spots on the ground floor.

Kent Ridge Park

Why: Some praise the high-ground view of Singapore's southern seas. We suspect it has something to do with the busy port activity at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

Whatever it is, the prime benches are usually taken up if you come late.

Watch out for: Insects like fire ants and mosquitoes. Come prepared with bug spray.

Fort Road carpark

Why go there: Huge parking space available. It gives you "options" for that perfect spot.

Watch out for: Unfortunately, there are now more lorries parked there.

Its reputation as a cruising spot for gay men has also attracted unwanted police patrols.

TNPS's little secret

Our lips are sealed. All we can say is that this spot is near the Marina South Pier, along Marina Coastal Drive.

Why go there: You can sit on the breakwater with your partner, looking at ships sail into the distance without any intrusion from passers-by.

Watch out for: In the event of an emergency, like one of you falling into the sea, help would be some distance away.

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