Night markets or pasar malam can be found everywhere in Malaysia, from
big cities like Kuala Lumpur to a small town like Slim River, where I live. In
my town, the night market is held once a month along the street in the middle of
the town. The whole street is closed to traffic on the first Saturday of every
month. This is the only night when the town comes alive.
The first to arrive
at the site are the hawkers, stall owners and wholesalers who come in lorries
and vans to unload their goods. The next hour is spent arranging their wares on
their makeshift stalls. Soon, the whole place is transformed into a big shopping
centre, brightly illuminated by flourescent lamps and colorful bulbs.
Many shoppers flock to the night market to get their vegetables. There are a
few vegetable stalls offering fresh vegetables at affordable prices. Housewives
would quickly snap up the fresh vegetables after some bargaining. Later in the
night, one can buy these vegetables at discounted prices as vendors try to
finish their stock for the night. It is funny to see them trying to outdo one
another, shouting on top of their voices, "Satu ringgit, tiga ikat..."
Apart from vegetables and fruit, there are also food stalls. The aroma of
freshly fried chicken, ayam panggang, yong tow foo, fish balls,
and laksa is enough to tempt any
fussy eater. As for children, there are ice cream stalls, burgers, and sweets of
all shapes and sizes.
At the other end of the street, there will be a few textile stalls. There is
also a famous second-hand stall which sells cheap jeans and jackets. For those
who cannot afford to get a new pair of jeans, this is the place to shop. There
is also a famous makcik who sells trendy clothes, colorful scarves and
tudung of various patterns and colors.
Shoppers who flock to the night market
come from as far as the nearby towns. Some are here to shop and hunt for
bargains while some are here to take a leisurely stroll on a Saturday night. The
youngsters would take this time to hang out with their friends, enjoying the
Some nights, one can come across interesting personalities who try to sell
their wares with a microphone, encouraging and urging buyers to choose any three
items for RM10. One can also come across the medicine man, crouching
mysteriously in one corner, selling medicine to cure some illnesses or to
increase one's strength.
By 10.30 p.m. the crowd slowly dwindles.
Usually, there is litter everywhere. Our night markets are quite different from
the flea markets of Europe. They offer not only cheap items for sale but also a
variety of goods. One can call it a 'one-stop shopping centre' of Malaysia.