Thieves and Time.
People of the Sungei Road Market - 2017
Last weekend (22-23 April 2017), I took a walk along Sungei Road Market... My first time there in what could be 25 years.
I remember my dad bringing me along these streets of old wares and hidden finds. Of course it was much bigger back then, but just as chaotic. It also earned it's nom de guerre of "thieves market" due to the allegedly questionable means by which the items were obtained back then. "If it's so cheap, it must be stolen!" many reasoned.
Time hasn't been kind to these gentlemen.
It saddens me to learn about the dissolution of this space, the closure of what I would consider the Singaporean precursor to eBay. Many of these vendors have eked a rough living here over the years, and the rag-tag bunch of hawkers have a strong sense of belonging to these rough streets.
I am hit with a big sense of nostalgia as I took a stroll down memory lane. The spirit of entrepreneurship is still very much alive here and I'm sure many of these grizzled veterans have lessons to give about tenacity and market economics. Day-in and out, they brave the elements and have probably seen every single consumer trend for the past 80 years.
This series of photos is to celebrate and remember a chapter of the Singapore Story before it becomes another footnote.
If you have the chance, please drop by the Sungei Road markets, sign the petition, go on the guided tours and show your support by picking up something from the aunties and uncles who man their stores tirelessly every single day.
Here are some photos I've taken over those two days. I will be returning most weekends until the 10th of July 2017 (the market's last day) to add to this documentary project of mine. If you would like to learn more about the Sungei Road Markets, or get involved in the community, please check out the campaign's Facebook Page.
- Nicholas Koh.