Monday, 31 October 2011

Day 279- Young Maya

My name is Maya.

I think a lot.

I then write what I think

in my diary.

But mostly I dream. 

You can find me 

sometimes sitting behind our wooden gate

and other times 

on the threshold of our front door.

But you will find me always

with fresh flowers in my hair, 

a pencil in my hand

and a diary in the other. 

I made young Maya from this resin couple on 1st October 2011. I found them in a shop in Little India possibly around a year ago. From the moment I set my eyes on her,  I knew she was the young daughter in my Rolla household. This girl is very small and makes a perfect 10 year old. I don't know what to do with the boy yet or if he will ever meet young Maya again. Let's see what fate decides for them. Dolls have destinies too , you know. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Day 282- More of Chatuchak

Sunflower Screen - part to enter

First stop, Flora and Foliage.

For those of you who love flowers and plants, JJ has an incredibly extensive garden sector that is well worth a trip.

Every time I visit this treasure trove of all-you-need-for-a-tropical-garden, I half wish I live in Bangkok. How else can I bring home these amazing cascading silver needles?

Or those giant bulbs of hyacinths promising blooms I can already see in my head, down to their hues,  thanks to the differentiating strips of reds, blues and yellows.

Still, for you and me who live a few custom officers away, 
we need not go home empty handed. 

There's always these charming hanging planters of cane baskets  

and some very versatile perennials that will never die.

Whether it is for you,

for your friends, 
or even for your dolls

Plants and planters at home in Singapore

Chautuchak really has it all.

Jasmine and other flower garlands for prayers

And because the Thai people really love their flowers,

 they are everywhere.

From ancient times on an emperor's dress

to a pair of vintage spittoons from the 50s

or these three vases of traditional painted masks.

And till today, you continue to see them

 in their cloth sandals,

 on their soft clutches,

even funny signage for loos.

There are flowers on the ceilings,

flowers on the floor,

flowers, flowers, flowers
on drawers, cupboards, doors.

Even in shops selling products that have nothing to do with flowers,

there is still space reserved for favourite plants.

Combining their love for flowers and their obsession with details, 

the Thai craftsmen have truly refined the making of artificial flowers 

down to an art.

They use natural materials like sanoh, a softwood perfect for texture 

or dried Sesbania leaves 

so that their man-made lotuses look like Mother Nature's.

 I often cannot tell the real 

from the fake.

Then there are the colours,

colours that leave you spinning and giddy 

so deceptive they make you believe rags is
high fashion


so intoxicating they make cute irresistible

(even if you are not a fan of cute).

Colours that make your spirit soar 
quicken your breath 
 excite your senses

so much so that you don't even realise that  
you have already walked for 5 hours.

How time flies...I am tired and thirsty and I am sure you are too.

Let's rest here, shall we? 

I don't think I can walk anymore.

O dear, and we are only at flowers and foliage.

I haven't even shown you Pets, Ceramics, Handicraft, Miniatures!

But before I go, 
I just want to thank all of you

It is exhilarating for me that we have almost 25 people returning. Especially since this is my first trip to JJ where I did not end up spending the bulk of my time just squatting  at some miniature shops. I started the trip determined to show those of my friends here a more complete picture of the flea market I love so I went to the sectors that I hardly visited. 

The people gazing , picture taking and of course, buying, buying, buying turned out to be such a pleasure that it was the most fun I had ever had, shopping on my own. In a way, this was all because of you. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Day 282- Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok by Pinyada Ratanasungk from Bangkok, Thailand
Grand prize winner of the Marvellous Map Contest organised by theydraw&

I was  in Bangkok for 4 days between the 8th-11th of this month with my sisters and dad. I almost always planned my trip there over a weekend so that I could visit Chatuchak, the flea market touted to be the largest in the world. 

With an estimated 15000 stalls squashed side by side on a 35 acre land, this weekend market receives about 200,000-300,000 visitors a day. It is like a city unto itself and it even has its own map! 

Chatuchak or Jatujak or JJ Market as it is now more commonly known seems to unite everything buyable under the sun and it is of course  impossible to see the whole market in 1 day. In fact, I have yet to visit every sector even though there was once when I was there three days in a row!

Some of you may have noticed that I often mentioned JJ market or Chatuchak in this blog, far too many times maybe. It is after all, my numero uno favourite flea market. Let me be your guide and show you why.

Opening Hours: Sunrise

Closing Hours :Sunset

Days: Weekends Only starting from Fridays for some shops.

Be prepared for a long walk in hot weather. 
So wear your most comfortable pair of shorts and flip flops.
Bring your map but enjoy getting lost anyway
 (which you inevitably will) 


confusing, contrasting and crazily creative. 

Let's start with this narrow lane..

 a makeshift stall of homemade craft?

And just as you are thinking folk art being hawked off in a nook with no vendor?,

the lady boss appears, as if from thin air. 
Don't be fooled by her age, she is sharper than a samurai sword and can 
probably run faster than you. 
When she senses danger (police), she and her plastic bags of art will disappear quicker than you can ask how much?

Let's move now to the fashion sector. 
Say hello to the owner 

cum bag designer 

cum salesgirl.

And in a marketplace of the tens of thousands 
where differentiation is key,

she is also sometimes the model 

in her own billboard
 lauding the wonders of washable hair colours

or the secrets of your future.

But there is no better way to convince your customer than to say
I use my own products too.
Squirt squirt...blood streaming down my eyes evil laugh.
Halloween specials! You can't get any scarier than this!

Or maybe you can.
240 Baht (S$10) for the big hands , S$5 for the small
1 for a lizard
and a whopping S$15 for the combo of hand and lizard!

Here he is, the HANDsome artist with his HANDmade HANDs.

Alright, alright, enough with the HAND jokes already! Let's move on, shall we? 

The HANDicraft sector?

The first and only sector I would usually visit, I could stay here for hours, maybe days.
 Like when I sat in this shop watching him

make these and
he was explaining to me how he used local clay for them
and I was telling him how a rat had eaten my clay cucumber and chillis 
and all the time, hardly understanding each other.

These are the people of Chatuchak.

It matters not whether they are making art,

making music

or just plain making a living,

whether they are cute

or young

or old,

there is invariably a quality about them I admire

and they are the reasons why I kept coming back.

Shall we return again tomorrow?
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