Bangkok: Chathucak Weekend Market

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِكَ لَهُ، لَهُ المُلْكُ وَ لَهُ الحَمْدُ يُحْيِي وَ يُمِيتُ وَ هُوَ حَيٌّ لَا يَمُتُ، بِيَدِهِ الْكِيْرُ وَ هُوَ عَلٰى كُلِّى شَيْءٍ قَدِيْرٌ

“Laa ilaaha illa Allahu wahdahu laa syarika lahu, lahu al-mulku, wa lahu al-hamdu, yuhyi wa yumit, wa Huwa hayyun laa yamutu. Biyadi-Hi al-khoyr, wa Huwa ala kulli syai’in qodir.”

“There is no illah (the one to worship and maker of Shari’a) worthy of worship except Allah. The Almighty, there is no partner for Him. To Him the kingdom, to Him all praise. He is the All-Powerful and Deadly. He is the Living One, will not die. In his hand goodness. He is the Almighty over all things.”

We started the adventure in one of the iconic city of Bangkok by reading the prayer of market entry which exemplified by the Prophet. In addition to following his instructions, also as a plead for God’s protection from the negative things that are common in the market. Lying, manipulating, abusive speech, neglecting prayer are some of the negative effects of the market; but this does not mean going to the market is a haram or forbidden thing. Not at all! Visiting or trading in the market is permissible in Islam, but every Muslim must understand the existence of market-related, minimal market entry prayer.

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We entered through one of the gates no more than a narrow alley before the gray sidewalk. Tuktuk drivers and hawkers glance at newly arrived guests in a market open only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We entered the narrow street.

Masya Allah, represent a large labyrinth, the appearance of the narrow gate was like an illusion. It turns out there is a row of tightly lined kiosks selling a wide range of products. What are you looking for for a gift? Knick knacks? Shirt? Pants? Thai Sutra? Thai Tea? Boxing gloves? Toy? House dress? Incense? Snacks? To get it all, one has to walk down the aisle of human beings. Uniquely, the more we get into the more we are hypnotized by the many good things that can be bought.

Steps take us to the other end of the market. Is the adventure over? Of course not, because right in front of us there are other market buildings that are ready to be explored. It’s just to get in there we have to pass a coconut carpenter who looks at the gray asphalt with a grim face. In his right hand a fresh coconut awaits anyone thirsty; in his left hand a black machete seemed intimidating. Either because of thirst or intimidation, I was willing to spend 30 Baht to sift the sweetness of coconut that cooled by white blocks of ice.

The deeper we get into the market the more choices the group has to be broken down. My wife was busy buying a typical Thai dummy while my mother completed a deal with a tea-seller. My son sat sweetly watching the tourists who passed in front of the store while sipping cold tea supplied by the shop owner.

The deeper we get into the market the more choices the group has to be broken down. My wife was busy buying a typical Thai dress while my mother completed a deal with a tea-seller. My son sat sweetly watching the tourists who passed in front of the store while sipping cold tea supplied by the shop owner.

Now I’m walking down the aisle alone. Looking for what products are worthy to be marketed in Indonesia. After a few minutes to look around, my step was stopped in front of a store. Like finding long lost love, happiness fills soul. A white man had just completed a few dozen Baht transactions for a small dagger. Now it’s my turn.

“Swaadi kaab.” Greet me to the old shopkeeper who answered kindly, “kaab.”

Without further ado I immediately pointed to a red-scabard krabi or Thai sword. At first I asked in English but the grandpa did not understand. Apparently he does not speak English. Then I also use the Malay language and the result is the same. “Do I need to use Arabic?” I thought, but I undo the idea because there is almost no benefit. Luckily there is a calculator to be our translator. Using Lingua Franca (a foreign language that everyone can understand) and numbers, we reached an agreement for the sword. Now just think about how to send it to Indonesia.

How disappointed I am because the cargo can not send weapons. I also had to settle for some knee-length pants for practice. Alhamdulillah, the disappointed can be remedied with a plate of briyani rice plus fried chicken served by Saman Islam; a halal restaurant in Cathuchak Market.

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