How to address family members in Mandarin for Chinese New Year
At first glance, you’d think I was just like any other 20-year-old student leading an average life. Well, this is  partly true – I get to study without any financial worries because I work as a social escort.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this – I didn’t always work as an escort. Although my family wasn’t rich to begin with, we still managed to make ends meet. Growing up, my parents made sure my three siblings and I were always well-fed and went to good schools. We were a loving, close-knit group.

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Then my oldest sister, Anna*, got pregnant at university. By the time she called our parents, it was to tell them that she’d already had an abortion. They were devastated.

To help cover the costs of her abortion, school fees and all her other expenses, Mum and Dad took a loan and moved her to another university so she could still continue with her studies. After she graduated, she got a job overseas – and none of us have heard from her ever since.

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Things started going downhill thereafter. My father’s contract at his company wasn’t renewed, and my mum’s salary as a clerk just wasn’t enough for a family of five. We could barely pay the bills. To pay off our loans and debts, Dad resorted to selling whatever assets he had. Mum cried a lot and Dad kept to himself. It was a really difficult time for my family.

Still, my siblings and I were able to pursue university degrees. I spent most of my time in the library and often went home late at night. One evening, returning early, I was shocked to find them eating only steamed tapioca. That sight left me in tears.

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The burden of providing for us had become too much for my parents to bear, so I immediately applied as a part-time tutor to help ease their financial woes. However, the tuition centre I was working for closed down soon after. A restaurant took me in as a part-time kitchen helper and dishwasher at night, so I could go to class and study during the day. My siblings had part-time jobs too, but their pay was too low.

During my search for a better paying job, I came across a massage parlour advertisement that was linked to an escorts-for-hire website. The whole idea of being paid to provide companionship sounded scary and alien to me, but I was at my wits’ end. As much as I valued my dignity, I could not bear to see my parents suffer any longer. 

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couple hug affair
(Photo: Pixabay/posed by models)

I decided to leave my personal details on the website. The response was immediate; I received many bookings to give “personal massages” with companionship. I soon became quite popular. Deep down, I felt ashamed that  I was doing this and I considered myself a sinner and broken beyond repair.

To date, I have escorted 17 men, and I continued freelancing at massage parlours to provide “special services” to men. But the money I earned from these outings was nothing compared to what I received when I sold my virginity to a French expat. The amount I got was more than sufficient to support my family for half a year. When they asked me about the money, I lied and replied that it was from the private lessons I gave as a tutor. I had no choice but to maintain the facade of a dutiful daughter and hardworking student.

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sad girl at the window on a rainy day
(Photo: Pixabay/posed by model)

My mother is planning to retire next month and I will be graduating from university soon. We still haven’t heard from my oldest sister. But it doesn’t matter any more. Right now, I have to excel in doing what I do best – living my double life to support my family and keep them happy.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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