Eliot Spitzer and Svetlana Travis


The scion to a real estate magnate in the Bronx was AG, later became the governor of the State of New York until he figured in a prostitution ring scandal that led to his resignation.

This month, he was accused for allegedly assaulting $5K-a-night hooker, Russian-born Svetlana Travis, at the Plaza Hotel. She called 9-1-1 after slitting her wrist, and Spitzer allegedly was in the room when the police arrived. Later at the hospital, she claimed that Spitzer choked her.

Spitzer’s lawyer denied the allegation though he admitted that Eliot and Svetlana knew each other prior to the incident. She recently left for Russia, confessing that she made up the allegation to avoid being sent to a mental institution. Spitzer was exonerated.

But the former governor has a history of seeking paid sexual gratification and I am phrasing this as objectively as I can because of our propensity to be condemnatory of persons who “sell” their bodies, and those who pay for them.

A friend in Hawaii once laughed out allegations of prostitution since she claimed that there were more folks in the suburb who “sell” their bodies for the comfort of a home and social status. In the diplomatic corps, she sent three kids to university at the time I knew her, divorced a husband in Australia, and I believe she referred to her own history of supporting her lifestyle on the meager salary of her diplomatic office. She also had a house in London and Paris!

I remember a Saipan indigene who flew out to Hong Kong so he can pay someone $500-a-night for unencumbered sexual relationship on the Kowloon side (the Victoria side was a bit more expensive). He claimed that many of his friends did the same thing, especially government officials who were never reluctant to officially travel to Manila and Hong Kong (and discretely to Macau). One such official even got in trouble later for charging a night’s revelry to the CNMI government! “It is ten times cheaper on Saipan,” I said. “Yeah, but this is a small island,” he replied. The social face, you know.

Pinays on Saipan in the old days regal customers of their misfortune of why they ended up sharing bedtime stories with strangers, but the Chinese workers in the garment industry were not at all apologetic for choosing their alternative cash source. It was purely a money transaction.

Svetlana once wrote: “Sex is sex and money is money.” The moralism that accompanied Pinay choices came with Hispanic delicadeza and the religious ethos that came with it; not so with the ladies from around Shanghai and Dong Bei. It was a money transaction though they did not advertise it at home as their conservative folks thought they were earning from sewing labels to clothes.

Their reluctance has to do with social face, mienzi, rather than moralism. The practice of healthy but paid girls were quite common and acceptable in Japan, Korea, and China, with the well-off man even allowed more than one consort, later labeled by moralists as “concubines.” Unable to buy a lifetime, one went retail.

I knew of a Tinian lady who kept herself and her bar girls available for other services other than serving alcohol. Before going to Tinian, she distributed methamphetamine to businessmen on Saipan, and moved to Tinian only because her boyfriend felt safer there, and they were all right until he got hooked on his own goods. He also hid from folks’ interested in his expired visa. He was later deported; she started distributing meth on her own until the local boys decided to acquire for her a “felon” title in the brand new Saipan penitentiary.

The lady was detained even after her prison term was completed when the authorities discovered that they let her passport expire, so she stayed behind bars on island until a lawyer friend sued for her release when I butted into the picture. She was a felon, all right, but she was clear that as far as her relationship to guys on Tinian, “money was just money”, and she was not lacking of the green paper for whatever services she provided.

I managed to get her home to China as soon as her legal papers were straightened and before the feds can get her deported. It was probably a mistake. I saw her home but the last I heard was that she moved to Shanghai from Dong Bei. I assume she picked up the trade to distribute meth there, too. A Chinese friend from Shenyang moved to Shanghai and just posted bail out of prison for distributing the stuff. China as a whole suffers from the calming effect of the chemical sold cheaply, especially as Chaoxian next door produces enough to keep the world calm. Recent incidences of attempted entries of the drug into many posts, Saipan included, indicate a global demand.

Meth of pandemic proportion proliferates on Tinian. Svetlana averred: “Sex is sex and money is money.” Our Tinian friend totally understood the difference. How did I know? …. Well, about that nasty weather . . .

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at pinoypanda2031@aol.com.

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