Between Rose and Thorn

loading Roja.

The International Transgender Day of Visibility falls on March 31. In Malaysia, the rights of transgenders are often ignored and they feel safe only in society’s shadows.

She is known as Roja to her customers. She is 36 years old, and a maven in Penang’s escort industry. “I’ve been in business for 17 years now, ever since I was 19,” she says, her voice husky from the many cigarettes she smokes every day.

The third child in the family, Roja opted out of school at 14 to help put food on the table. Money was hard to come by; her father worked as a security guard while her mother was a housewife. Roja took a job at a breadmaking factory.


To read the rest of the article and to access our e-Archive, subscribe to us for RM150 a year.



Related Articles

PROFILE
Nov 2016

With Enough Optimism, Success Will Come

Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim has had his share of ups and downs in life, but sheer tenacity continues to pull him through.

PROFILE
Dec 2009

Tun Lim Chong Eu: The past is not passé

The former chief minister reminds Penangites not to forget the strands of history and how these continue to dictate our economic and political thought.

PROFILE
Feb 2016

A Dreamy Tribute in 35mm

British photographer Sam Carter pays homage to Penang through retro lenses.