We always have night markets here, or pasar malam as known locally and in Malaysia and Indonesia, where stalls are set up along the streets in the neighbourhood for a few days at certain times of the year. The night market operators will rotate their events around the country, moving the night markets to different neighbourhood each time with basically the same stalls. There will be clothes, toys, cd and dvd discs, household products, snacks, furniture and whatnot displayed in stalls along the narrow pavement where temporary tents have been set up. These days, night markets don’t just operate in the night but during the day as well. Perhaps it’s because these vendors are finding it hard to a make living and decide to work harder. So a pasar malam now isn’t really a night market anymore, just a name that is stuck with time.
But back in those days (early 70s), night markets were really held during the evening in a section of a road that was blocked off from traffic. At least that’s what I can remember. They occupied the whole pavement and people milled around on the empty road to look at their wares. No squeezing through crowds on the narrow pavement to get to the end of the long line of stalls at all like what we do now. And there was one such evening that I remember almost vividly, almost, because me and my grey matter don’t keep things up there for long LOL
It was a rare evening where mum and dad brought us all to the pasar malam. The experience of being out shopping in the night was exhilarating to a little girl. The feel of the night air, the sights of the brightly lit stalls, the sounds of blaring music from stalls selling cassette tapes and the aromas of local snacks all combined to fill my tiny senses and threatened to overload them as we walked on the road without having to worry about being hit by a car.
Everything seemed interesting but what caught my eye most was the toy stalls of course. I don’t know how I managed to persuade my parents but I ended up with a plastic toy ducky on wheels which I happily dragged all the way home later that night. I can even remember my ducky had a white body. Guess I’m not doing too bad for someone with a 3-minute memory LOL
Imagine this duck with a white body, though I swear mine is better looking 😛
So home we went. It would’ve been a perfect outing if I hadn’t had to hold my urge to use the loo for so long. It was a long walk back. I remember making a mad rush into the tiny flat but alas, my short legs couldn’t outrun my sister’s and I ended up having to wait outside the toilet for her to be done with her business. There I stood holding my plastic ducky, banging the toilet door, legs clenched together and twisting this way and that way, trying to really HOLD. But my best effort wasn’t good enough and oops, I peed…in my pants. I bawled. And as if that wasn’t humiliating enough, I remember seeing my mum laughing away. Bad Mummy.
Yep, dear readers, you are now privy to the deepest, most humiliating and embarrassing secret of my life. I may have to kill you now 😛