Monday, May 27, 2013

Thieves Market


I jumped off the bus onto very hot asphalt, burning all four of my feet. It was mid-day, unbearably hot, and the sky was cloudless. Ahead, I spied a long row of umbrellas so I ran as fast as I could to get into some shade.
When I got under the closest umbrella, I stood still for a moment to let my toes cool off.
A kindly old gentleman saw me and asked me what such a pretty kitty was doing in the THIEVES MARKET! He sensed I was an intelligent feline and understood him but knew I couldn't verbally respond.
As Uncle (Old folks are referred to as Auntie and Uncle in an endearing way in Singapore) walked through the market, I followed him as he explained the history of this unique place. It's real name is Sungei Road Flea Market but everyone calls it the Thieves Market. It is located on a blocked off road and it has been in existence since the 1930's.
All the vendors are worried because there is a lot of construction going on around the area to make way for a new train station. They are concerned about how this change will effect their life style and don't know how they will make ends meet if they are displaced. The market is opened 7 days a week from 1 to 7 PM. The vendors pay no rent, no licensing fees and no taxes. They simply come here every day, lay out their wares and sometimes, someone purchases something. I saw lots of used electronics, tools, clothes, shoes, toys, musical instruments, books, jewelry, pots and pans, and religious artifacts. Mostly I saw a lot of junk!
What I really liked was all the interesting and eccentric people. The vendors appeared to like what they were doing but did not seem to be overly concerned if they sold anything. And yet, people were buying their stuff.
It started to drizzle so I knew it was time to go. I really enjoyed my visit and showed my appreciation to Uncle for his kindness by rubbing up against his leg. The rain on the sidewalks cooled them off so my walk back to the bus stop was much easier on my feet.
I had a great experience and I am fairly sure the vendors are not really thieves.


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