Among the vice districts downtown, Coconut Island and Kampung Jawa were well-known.
“Coconut Island” “or Pokok Kelapa” (so-called because of the many coconut trees in the area) was behind today’s Hotel Bendahara. It is believed the flesh trade started there in the 1960s. Initially the majority were locals. By the late 1980s, Indonesian women began to ply their trade here, charging around RM15 per hour. Streams of men would manoeuvre along dark lanes, as the area had no access to electricity. It was abandoned in the late 1990s.
Rajah Jan, a former sex worker (Butterflies of the Night) and Ismail Maarof, a parking attendant (Antara Lido dan Capitol) share their candid memories.