December 10, 2008

#50 Pasar Malam

In your endeavours to befriend Malaysian people, you will encounter them in a myriad of places such as clubs, mamak stalls or shopping malls. However, one place which brings out some of the best qualities in Malaysians is the Pasar Malam, otherwise known as a night market.

In contrast with morning markets, the Pasar Malam draws a much more diverse crowd and allows for a colorful display of Malaysian mannerisms. The Pasar Malam is a purveyor of things such as pirated goods, raw food and vegetables, clothing, shoes, reading material, confectionary products, etc. The mass provision of such wares therefore warrants a large crowd and demonstrates that traffic congestion doesn't just apply to the roads and highways of Malaysia.

Pasar Malams are one of the places where you will witness a distinctive Malaysian trait: haggling. Malaysian people will never agree on a price for a good or product if they haven't haggled and bargained for it. The rule of thumb is to counter offer the initial price with an absurdly low amount, then work to the middle. Even if the item's price isn't negotiable, Malaysian people still get a sense of satisfaction out of prolonging the purchase process and proving that they're nobody's fool.

Most of the time, Malaysians head to the Pasar Malam even if they don't really need anything from it. It's just the Malaysian need to wander aimlessly and peruse stuff to occupy themselves. So the next time you're at a Pasar Malam, strike up a conversation with a Malaysian person about the DVD movies you bought or the delectable hawker food by the monsoon drain. Your enthusiasm for Malaysian nightlife will be well received and they might take you on a tour of the other Pasar Malams in the vicinity.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

walking in Pasar Malam is very good destressing method :D

B.H. said...

Lisa,

Really. It causes more stress for me actually. Ah well, to each his own.

B.H.

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