I was talking about flea markets with my friend T Muhamad IJ. In the 80s, Singapore had a charming roadside flea market near or on Sungai Road, outside the legendary Sim Lim Tower, the forerunner of Sim Lim Square.
I remember the area well because it was where Malaysian cars go to get a sun roof installed. A guy in the car accessory shop will cut a hole in your car roof with a electric jig saw and power grinders. It was mad but Malaysians loved it. Never mind, it will eventually rust like crazy and leak. As long as they can drive around Ampang Jaya or Taman TAR and let their kids stick their heads out of the roof. Style and gaya.
Eventually, the flea market in Singapore was to become the famous Thieves Market. I used to enjoy going there as one can find the rare vinyl record and other junk artifacts, if one is lucky. Can any Singaporean tell me if they are still allowed today in clinical and sterile Singapore?
I liked it because it was just outside my favourite electronics mall Sim Lim Tower. Sim Lim Tower was special because you can buy almost any electronic component or spare part (IC, resistor, capacitor, fuse, etc) and those nasty VCR spinning heads. If you dont know how to fix an appliance, there were also many shops there that sell repair or service manuals and schematics for every model sold on earth.
I also like the many ham shops there where I was fascinated by the many transceivers that cannot be sold to foreigners. I eventually became a licensed ham operator or amateur radio operator with my own call sign. There used to be many African shoppers there buying stuff by big bag loads for reselling back in their home country. I remember one guy buying a cordless phone with a 100 mile range capability (claimed specs on the display window). Common sense tells me that anything with that kind of transmitting power is illegal and can fry your brains.
End Of Part 1 – To be continued in Part 2 in next post.