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Island View: Market for creativity

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Having just moved to Phuket Old Town from Bangkok a couple of months ago, the huge difference between the great metropolis and this petite community is unavoidably on my mind.

Of all its charming features, particularly the Sino-Portuguese architecture which harks back to the island’s long history, it is the Lard Yai Sunday Walking Street market which really delights me.

Certainly no visitor or resident could find fault with this colorful gathering.

Every Sunday evening from 4pm to 10pm, Thalang Road is closed off to traffic and people flock in to make this a fun place to be.

Aside from the tasty food and drinks sold at reasonable prices, it is the artists, musicians and actors who make this once-a-week market special.

It’s important to give these creative people a venue to display their talents and this is exactly what the walking street has done.

Likewise, it makes the people who stroll along the delightful market realize that there is another side to the money-mad world we live in and some things are more meaningful than what money can buy, such as listening to a good musician strum his guitar and sing old numbers from the1970s for token donations, or watching an artist draw a really good portrait of a schoolboy for just 200 baht.

Most people with literary, creative and artistic skills do not earn a lot of money in their lifetimes, and yet they have a very special talent which the general public should support as best they can.

Remember the great masters of the past, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde and Franz Schubert, and how they had to struggle with some of them dying destitute?

The walking street also brings the community together and creates a sense of oneness, which is what will help the Old Town maintain its very special characteristics going forward, as they could stand up together and oppose any drastic changes which could undermine its appeal.

Up in the north of the country, Chiang Mai also has a Sunday walking street in the center of the old walled city area and there, too, musicians, puppeteers and dancers perform after dark.

When I was young and living with my parents in Bangkok’s Chinatown, the whole community eagerly awaited the annual four-day temple fair where we all would have a lot of fun for a small amount of money right on our doorstep.

Now living in Phuket’s Old Town, this merriment is for us to enjoy every Sunday.

— Nina Suebsukcharoen

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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