Pratunam Market is next to be cleared – a tragedy for Bangkok?

Pratunam Market is next to be cleared – a tragedy for Bangkok?

Pratunam’s Flashy, Trashy Fashion to be Swept Away

A pedestrian walks through stalls specializing in apparel and fashion items in Bangkok’s Pratunam area.
Photo: Jef1947 / Flickr

By Sasiwan Mokkhasen
Staff Reporter at Khaosod English – Click here to see the original Khaosod English report

BANGKOK — The sidewalks of Pratunam, the nation’s biggest clothing bazaar, are the next target for the cleanup broom powered by a government tidiness campaign.

Nearly 700 street stalls will soon be gone from the area famous for affordable fashion as City Hall tightens up code enforcement and moves forward with its cleanliness and order campaign.

More than 100 street stalls located on the sidewalk outside an area where they’ve been allowed were ordered to leave by March 8, according to District Chief Chatree Wattanakhejon in Matichon Online. Another 576 stalls lawfully operating on the sidewalk will soon be forced out when the city revokes their permits to clear the sidewalks.

As has become a routine, authorities have prepared alternate sites for the vendors that many are likely to find objectionable. Three hundred vendors will be asked to move to a private market on Soi Phetchaburi 29, while a market in the Bang Kapi district can accommodate 1,000 vendors. A third at the Kuuk Kuk Tha Din Daeng Market can hold 600 vendors.

The biggest destination for clothes and fashion-related everything, Pratunam Market is known for selling at wholesale prices. It is situated in the heart of Bangkok at the intersection of Ratchaprarop and Phetchaburi roads in the Ratchathewi district.

District Chief Chatree said the reorganization plan was recently submitted to City Hall and vendors would have a later opportunity to discuss the matter.

Since the military government announced its policy to reclaim public space after it seized power in 2014, Bangkok has cleared a number of its informal markets well-known to both locals and tourists. The latest recently cleared spot was the famous Pak Khlong flower market.

The campaign has been met with cheers by those who want a tidier capital city and criticized by those who see a loss of its unique culture and attractions.

Added by blog author Barbara Simmons:

At present Pratunam Market sidewalk is closed every Monday and it truly looks like a sad, deserted, lonely and dirty ghost town. Is that what they have in mind for all of our precious City? I hope not, as will many thousands of tourists who come to the Big Mango to soak up their days wandering through these iconic markets picking up bargains along their way.

Pratunam Market closed on Mondays

Pratunam Market closed on Mondays

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Thai Police award themselves the 3 million baht reward for capturing the Bangkok bomber

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Khlong Thom: where old mobiles get new life

Khlong Thom: where old mobiles get new life

Old mobiles get new life

Old mobiles get new life – Living Thailand

EVERY TIME a new iPhone is launched, people flock to the shops just so they can pay well above the odds for a brand new shiny one. In sharp contrast though, the other day, several people were seen on their hands and knees on the street looking for a working mobile phone in a pile of shabby old ones.

People check secondhand cellphones and batteries at a roadside stall in Bangkok.

“Only Bt40 per piece,” Somjit Pornpimon, a vendor selling old mobile phones, announced.

Somjit, 46, is among 10 other vendors selling used cellphones in Khlong Thom – a weekend flea market nestled in a narrow lane between five-storey shabby buildings.

She explained that typically she buys used or damaged mobile phones from ragpickers in different parts of the city from Monday to Thursday so she can sell them at the weekend.

She then piles up her purchases on the street to sell, with prices changing according to the time of day. For instance, on Saturday mornings the price is Bt50 per piece, but it drops to between Bt10 and Bt30 late on Sunday when the market is wrapping up.

Somjit, who has been doing business of this sort since she was 16, explained that there are three types of buyers.

“There are those who like antiquelooking phones, then there are the repairers – those who buy mobiles so they can fix and sell them – and then there’s the factory guys, who buy between 500 and 1,000 pieces in any condition to sell as material.”

More than a million cellphones are thrown away in Thailand per year. A survey by the Electronic Transaction Development Agency released last year showed that an average Thai changes his or her mobile phone every six months. The reason for this change can range from keeping up with the rapidly evolving technology to getting a device with better battery life, a bigger screen or just getting one that looks good.

Few people nowadays would even consider an old-fashioned Nokia.

“Can I have the same amount today?” a middle-aged man can be heard asking Somjit.

This is Pon, a regular customer who buys about 2,000 phones every time he visits.

“I’ve been doing this business for more than a decade now. Every week I purchase some 10,000 shabby phones before separating bits such as copper, lead, silver, gold and plastic. Then these parts are collected and sold to factories,” he explained, as he begins counting and throwing phones into a sack.

Then there was a man wandering around with different mobile phone batteries of different brands. He identified himself as Tee, saying he has been in the mobile-repair business for six years now. He usually buys old phones at the market and then looks around for similar models to use as spare parts. He then fixes the mobiles and sells them on the street for prices ranging from Bt100 to Bt1,000.

“I also repair phones earning between Bt500 and Bt4,000 depending on my luck. I believe this business is going to pick up as people often change their mobile phones. However, the only thing that concerns me is that this is a small market and will not be able to deal with the rising number of used phones,” he added.

So, if you wonder where your old mobiles go, maybe visiting the Khlong Thom market behind Klang Hospital might give you an idea.

Original article from The Nation 22nd February 2016

Posted in Bangkok. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Khlong Thom: where old mobiles get new life
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