It’s been amazing to see how people from around the world search ‘chatuchak’ in the search engines. Many of them stranded at this blog.Well, the article about Chatuchak market here is quite…. adequate, I would say, even the posting is quite old. ‘Chatuchak’ refers to the infamous Chatuchak or Jatujak weekend market in Bangkok city. So what’s going on now at Chatuchak weekend market? Nothing is really changed I suppose. I know it from the tone of stories from old friends who are still staying in greater Bangkok. But let’s revisit it a moment.
People write tons of stories about the place. So let’s zoom it in at a particular part. Let’s go to the corner where music instruments are sold in a shop. The shop is owned by an old man who is an army retiree. He was a soldier and was a musician at the same time. He plays violin and guitar for sure (I saw him played) and probably other instruments. He used to play violin professionally and his skill even ever made him visit New York for a concert. He showed me his picture standing on a crossing boat at the bay. At the back, Liberty statue and the WTC twin tower were standing (it was before 9/11 for sure). The photographer was facing New York so he was at New Jersey side, I think.
He told me stories of many things. His English was good. He told me that his son also had a shop of amulets and old bank notes. And he told me what amulets mean to Thai people. He said that if a man wore the amulet, it could protect him from mosquito bites and even bullets. Well, amulets are not good for pest control industries, I thought.
Beside his shop, there were chairs with children sit on them practicing violin. He nodded to the female instructor and told me that she was his daughter. There was kind of unusual – good one – feeling to see the little kids playing missed tones with their smiles at this quieter part of the market while vendors and shoppers were making a buzzing world a block away from there.
As the conversation went on, I started to wonder if could make an offer. I told him that I would buy a guitar (used one) with one condition. Maybe few months from now I would leave Thailand and so I would sell the guitar back to him by the time. He said yes. That is what so called trading-minded and a win-win for all. So I took the guitar.
Other time I went to Chatuchak, I spent time exploring the pet shops. Cats and dogs were sold in glass boxes/rooms and were just two of many species traded at this section. Pet food, fishing gears, aquariums, cages, all sorts of things necessary for making your pets healthy and comfortable or live in misery were available.
I just read online news this morning that in 2013, Thai government will declare 2013 the Year of Intellectual Property Rights Protection to demonstrate the Kingdom’s commitment to recognition of IPR. The Intellectual Property Department will closely cooperate with the Royal Thai Police to suppress violations such as manufacturing, importing and trading of counterfeit goods, and will also work with the Education Ministry to increase awareness of IPR among Thai youth. What is the meaning of that?
It means that you will probably need to try harder to find counterfeit shirts, bags, jeans, etc. of famous brands that are now freely traded in Thai markets, including Chatuchak. The objects of the operation will mainly be Panthip Plaza, Klong Thom, Saphan Lek, Baan Mor, Chatuchak, MBK Shopping Centre, Siam Square, Sukhumvit Road and Patpong Market in Bangkok; Karon Beach/Patong in Phuket; IT City in Pattaya; and the Rong Klua Market/Friendship Border Market area at the Aranyaprathet border crossing with Cambodia. They are so called ‘red zones’. I call them heavens of piracy and counterfeiting. I find places like them too in my country, to be honest. And of course there are them anywhere in the world.
Violins and guitars, amulets and bank notes, cats and dogs are no exception to be counterfeited. Cats and dogs? Well, nothing like pet cloning happens now in Thailand. Not yet at least. So they are safe from forgery. So we’ll see what the face of Thai market this year will be with the enforcement of the law. But sure, we’ll still find fresh unripe mango that I love so much anywhere in the markets and on the roadsides. What about Turkish ice cream??