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2008.06.03

Comments

saupin

Hi..
i am one of your blog's fan!
we have the same habit which is like to visit the market!
you have been in Kelantan Pasar Siti Khatijah before?
This is one of the famous market throughout the Malaysia where you can take some great scene of photo as the design of the market made the sun light beautify it.
See ya and continue the effort on posting some great entries!

Robyn

Saupin - thanks for your comment. Is that Kelantan market the one in Kota Baru with the hexagonal central hall? We posted on that a couple years ago -- you'll find it if you do a Kota Baru search on our search bar. I agree, it's a spectacular market, definately high up on my list of favorites. :-)

mary shaposhnik

Now I feel remiss for not having commented when I saw these renovations last year, though I had only had one pre-renovation visit with which to compare. I still ate incredibly well there, but that explains why I could not find your khanom jeen lady -- I thought I was just turned around or had too dim a memory of her.

The argument for renovation for modernity's sake is a lot less compelling at Aw Taw Kaw than at many markets--it was quite fine "before." While I could not agree more that it is not just nostalgia talking to say something is lost in many of these changes, this gets us to the question of who the decision-makers actually are, and whether there is enough of a community to influence them. Or is the answer in finding innovative ways to change but retain -- or regain -- community? Can new vendors be part of creating a new and better community? Maybe so, but it's hard to keep from wondering where the others went. Or is it an architectural issue, about how design influences interaction?

Joanne

Hi.I feel the same way, most of these renovations and modernisations rob the places of their very character and life. Now everything is ultra modern, too clean, too sterile, too unreal. I want to go where life is, where characters and things leap up to say hi, where everything is unique. I hope Malaysia will not be that way, because I love it as it is.

Robyn

Mary - that's sort of how I feel. Aw Taw Kaw was already quite 'clean' and hardly a truly wet 'wet market' before ... I know street food-phobes who happily ate there. I suspect that with many of this sort of market renovation project the people making the decisions are not fans of traditional markets - most probably never shop in them. So it becomes a matter of fixing what's 'wrong' with market (everything) and making it 'better' through wholesale 'modernization'. There's also, often, a sort of simplistic view of what is modern (Tesco, not a wet market) and a belief that traditional wet markets project poorly on a country that's trying to show a twenty-first century image to the world.
Heck, you could write a Ph.D. on that alone.

My feeling after visiting a lot of markets is that design definately does influence interaction. For instance, narrow aisles might make for a bit of discomfort when shoppers are trying to squeeze by each other, but vendors interact more, it seems. Or perhaps I'm imagining it. I haven't been to the new Aw Taw Kaw, of course, but it's hard to imagine the sort of jokey back-and-forth that characterized the front prepared foods aisle of the old market taking place in this cavernous space.

Hi Joanne - thanks for your comment. A great line - 'I want to go where life is.' I agree completely. The day they turn Pudu market or Chow Kit Market into something like this will be a sad one indeed.

Lizzie

It's such a shame when things like this happen - so much character is lost. A little bit of dirt never harmed anyone; I spent a lot of my childhood going shopping with my grandma in dirty stinky markets full of live poultry and fish stalls. All the better for it!

saupin

ya..it's in Kota Bharu..
u did visit it?
thx for posting it also!
i do like my hometown a lot and i am proud to be Kelantanese also!
currently studying in MMU Melaka.
Looking forward for your next market posts!

Xander

I'm always grateful to you for introducing me to things I don't know in my own city. I'll have to go check that out for myself. -X

Robyn

Lizzie - I would agree, but there are many who would not. I think it all depends on what exactly you go to a wet market for. If it's ONLY for what you put in your mouth and take home in your basket then the new Aw Taw Kaw market would be a delight. The seafood is still breathtakingly beautiful, the selection of northern Thai foods is still admirable, etc. But to me markets are about much more than that. And that's what's been lost at Aw Taw Kaw, IMO.

Thanks saupin. We had some amazing food in Kota Baru! Hoping to get back soon.

Xander-that's the beauty and the beastliness of Bangkok. So much packed into that one city that it would take decades to discover it all!

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