“The Bag Slashers of the Street Market”


When nobody’s expecting, it happens. None of us thought it would. And it dropped anchor for a while, perhaps an hour, the festive mood we thought would be unhampered and pleasurable as it happens. As they say, every place in the world has its share of petty crime doers who victimize tourists who aren’t aware of the place’s nests of crimes. Hailing from  Southeast  Asia, we only knew of Bangkok’s cheap garments on-line. Sold at bargain prices in the district’s night markets, flea markets, and other similar places that cater to tourists, domestic buyers and bargain hunters, we flocked to these markets hoping to find a lot of cheap items other than garments. We’ve done internet searching about the attractions of Bangkok, its hows and whereabouts.  But we never knew nor post-read about its slashing techniques where we’ve helplessly fallen victims. Bangkok, behind its glittering golden temples, and Buddhas, tempting cuisines that drew upon an eclectic mixtures of both Western and Asian menus, ubiquitous tuk-tuks, heavyweight elephants, deadly cobra shows, the nightly clubs shows of dancing women, and the snaking floating markets, there hide some distinct kind of crime though petty enough  to be considered heinous but can etch a different kind of pain to their victims.

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It was a calm morning and we just came down from a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Our group was about to celebrate our free day after a “four-day-tiresome” guided tour. Excited of painting the town red, and spending our  “US dollar-baht exchanged” pocket money at a Thai market our itinerary was bearably eased off. Just a couple of steps away from our hotel, my companion’s bags were slashed diagonally a feet long on a crowded street. Done by a motorcycle duo who inched their way through under the cover of the bargain seeker crowds. Riding in tandem, they were  unmindful of the multitude of  buyers busy browsing every bargain items displayed on both sides of the street.

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“Your bag has been slashed!”, exclaimed my terrified companion as the motorcycle slowly left the shoppers-stuffed street. How remiss of us to be so noisy as other people  started examining their bags making  the scene infectious as our action echoed to the far end of the corner street. Unmindful of the dialect we were speaking where other shoppers don’t understand what the commotion was about, our actions spoke loudly overcoming the language barrier. We couldn’t do much at that time but to go back to the hotel and see what was lost to the Thai slashers. Luckily, nothing was lost to the tandem riders.

After some time of talking and reacting, retelling the whole incident to the group, the women victims and the would-be victims decided to change bags to a  “not so catchy” to the robbers’ eyes. The bargain hunting continued but, now, with smaller bags tightly clutched in hand and with eyes so full of awareness and doubts, uncertainties and some traces of fear. Back to each room at the hotel after a fruitful shopping, we can’t help but make some spoofs  and laughing loudly at the shenanigans about the incident. “Aren’t the slashers our countrymen exporting and practicing their expertise here in Bangkok?”, someone quipped. “They did not get anything from your bags because they sensed you’re their countrymen”, another added . “If they got my passport I’ll report them to the police”, said one victim. “Report to the police?”. “The slashers will bribe the police and they can get away with it”. “They will bribe the police? But haven’t we left our place?” “We are in Bangkok now, are you crazy?” We could hardly believe that slashers were also proliferating in the land of smiles and temples. Is there no other safe place in the world? Can’t we get rid of them? Well, well, that’s the prize of being too confident in a place you only knew and met on-line. Fed by people, all information are groomed to a clean-cut manuscript to convince and assure readers without jeopardizing the state or condition of the place as tourist-friendly. It’s vulnerability to petty crimes is defined by the social status of a place and its citizens. The poorer the place is, the more it is exposed to crimes of all kinds that profanity sometimes seeps into the moral fabric of Thai homes.

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Bangkok, as Thailand’s capital city, shines in Asia as a great macrocosm of modernity within the embrace of the values of its remains and ruins left from its glorious past.

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Despite that lone unfortunate stroke of luck, we’re still thirsting for beautiful spots to see and discover, something memorable. Being slashed at the street market was not a deterrent for us to make the most of our travel. And this time we tried the malls. There are big malls popular to the middle and upper class shoppers. Naturally, street markets are cheaper but the chances of being victimized, if you’re not careful and watchful, by some bad elements are high. We’ve learned our lesson.

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As we boarded the plane for the take-off, memories were with us, good or bad, to be told to relatives, friends, and fellow folks about the travel. Learning a lot from it, future travels, particularly mine, will be effortless and less gloomy although skepticism is always at a race about the certainty, safety-wise, of the place that I choose to travel to. This was the first time we spent the new year high up in the dark sky.

https://thehutownerblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/tuk-tuk-of-bangkok-street-photography-bangkok-thailand/

–oOo–

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2 thoughts on ““The Bag Slashers of the Street Market”

  1. Pingback: Tuk-Tuk of Bangkok – Street Photography , Bangkok, Thailand | the hut owner blog

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