Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flashback @ SS2 market

Today I had the opportunity to go marketing with Oka-san at the SS2 wet market after morning mass at SIC.

Unlike some of my friends who has - gasp - never step foot in a wet market before, or just do not like the conditions of the wet market, the wet market was part and parcel of my growing up years. In particular, the SS2 wet market as I grew up there during my first 14 years or so.

Those were the days where we can safely walk to the market and back without worrying of serious snatch thefts or kidnapping. Now I'm sure a lot of people drive to the market which was the reason why traffic is very bad now.

Oka-san will usually leave me and Ototo-san next to the stall selling 'Tim Kai' or frogs while she go marketing on her own. We will usually just observe how the stall uncle beating the frog unconscious, skin it and then chop it into pieces. Back then the frogs were smaller. Now the uncle is no longer there, but there are still people selling huge and ugly bullfrogs which just make me squirm just looking at them.

I still remember the faces of those stall owners which my mum patronise, of which she still does till today.

The smiley uncle selling fish. Unlike the other fish vendors who has all sort of fish and seafood, this uncle only peddles a limited selection. He usually gives Oka-san some discount and is very friendly to all his customers. Usually he will 'close shop' by 103o am as he would have sold all his fishes by then. Today he is still the same, only with more gray hair, but still cheerful nevertheless.

If there's not much choices of fish, Oka-san will usually stop by the neighbouring fish stalls to buy fish or prawns or squid. I'm still quite bad with identifying fishes, but I think I've improved now coz I can differentiate 'Tilapia', 'Siakap' and 'Sek Pan'. Last time I only know Ikan Bawal Hitam and Ikan Bawal Putih. Oka-san lamented today that the Ikan Kembung was too small. The stall vendor mentioned that it's hard to get larger Ikan Kembung now. Well, if not for overfishing, we wouldn't have to encounter such situation, right?

The veggie guy 'Ah Ngau'. Last time there were only few stalls selling vegetables, Ah Ngau being one of the biggest stalls. Now they face even more competition from those smaller stalls that popped out from nowhere, some selling cheaper than others. But Ah Ngau's stall seems to have gotten bigger as well, so maybe he's not so much affected. I remember the days asking Oka-san the names of each vegetable, something I still do whenever I go to the market. There seemed to have even more type of vegetables now, some even Oka-san does not know the name. Hybrids? Not sure.

The fruits auntie with the huge farmer's hat. The way she dressed always reminds me of my paternal grandmother. Oka-san hasn't been going to her stall as often but I still remember the auntie when I see her.

The pork stall is actually one of my favourite stalls. I remember some of my friends just hated the smell of the pork, but I am fine with it. When I was a kid, I like to see the pork strips hanging on the hooks, and was fascinated with the knives they use to slice the pork. So sharp! I will also attempt to identify the different parts of pork on the stall, but till now I can't get past the 3 layer meat, 'pai kut', 'bak tau' and 'yo bak'. How to order Bak Kut Teh next time? Sigh...

Last time wild boar meat was always readily available in the stalls, but now has become some sort of scarcity. Are there fewer wild boars now, or less people hunting them down? Not too sure. I miss wild boar meat fried with ginger......

Then there's also the stalls selling 'kuey kak', 'yau char kuey', nasi lemak, 'ban cheng kuey'. All of them are still around during my trip. I had a sudden urge to have 'kuey kak' and nasi lemak for lunch :p

Last time the SS2 market were just foodstuff , some clothing stalls, with a couple of hawker stalls as well. Now it's flooded with people peddling China products, DVDs and many others who are illegal vendors. They sell their stuff from their vans, and when the authorities arrive, they just keep everything in the van and wait. The authorities can't do anything as well but to wait. Sometimes it's just a waiting game for both.

Contrary to the believe that more people prefer hypermarkets, I still think wet markets are still here to stay. Looking back at my marketing trip at SS2 just now, I am keeping high hopes still, as it is part of our culture :)

1 comment:

ChinoDevean said...

amazing... twenty years on and we still can recognise 50% of the market vendors...