With all street market stalls, there are two sides. One side faces the street, this is where all the products are displayed and the merchant stands ready for your custom. When stalls line both sides of the street, these “customer facing” parts of the stalls form your thoroughfare – the wonders cave-bazaar which you walk through to find the items that you seek.
The other side however is less often seen, the back of the stall which will often face towards the five foot way of a shophouse. I often wonder about those shops which have been cut-off from the street by the stalls. How do they survive? That’s not the focus of this blog post though.
This back-of-the-stall is a fascinating part of stall-life. It’s not truly a back-room as it’s still in the public domain and out in the open but the scene at the back-of-the-stall is far removed from the front-of-the-stall even though they’re separated by less than 10 feet.
Here you’ll find stall workers having their meals, cooking their meals(!), children doing homework, old ladies napping on reclining chairs… and this scene pictured above.
The front-of-the-stall is a mobile phone shop. Yup, you can buy mobiles on the street. They range from the latest phones to Nokias of yesteryear. Don’t expect any of them to be first-hand though. The stall also repairs mobiles while you wait. Where’s the reparing work done? Why the back-of-the-stall of course.
This man is repairing a mobile while a steady stream of people walk by on the five foot way behind his back. Such is life at the back-of-the-stall.