Brothels in Singapore are confined to a designated zone in the east of the city.
They are marked by large and sometimes illuminated numbers in front, which slyly identify them as commercial sex establishments to those in the know.
These photographs were made in the languor of the afternoon, when the businesses were nevertheless fully operational. Presented without the intrigue and inscrutability that the cover of night would have accentuated, the pictures provide a matter-of-fact glimpse of a country’s secret face.
Nguan’s photographic series Singapore is a poetic depiction of his hometown that challenges the conventional narrative of modern Singapore as a spotless but soulless nation. He has published two books: Shibuya (2010) and How Loneliness Goes (2013).