By: RaY KinZoKu

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Saturday, 3-Mar-2007 07:00 Email | Share | Bookmark


The Passa Besaa (*1) that I knew
was a three storeys octagonal shaped concrete structure
which opens up in the middle, topped with a sunroof.

Beneath the semi transparent roof, bathed in feverish yellow hue,
laid a scene cut from the Kelantanese laid-back kampung life,
where women traders in traditional colourful attires, batik sarongs and matching headgears, gilded with gold ornaments of interesting shapes and sizes,
gathered and sat among myriads of battling colours and textures of their goods.
Not a single space left unoccupied, other than what is reserved for their would-be customers.

The Passa Besaa that I knew was simply " picture perfect ".
Natural but unique. A class of its own. Views of which could be found donning many postcards, tourist brochures, magazines, personal photo albums of many visitors and shutter bugs, and on the strangest place imaginable.

Descriptions alone won't help.
So, let me help you with the "picture" :

Photos taken around 15 years ago.
Images borrowed from Lovelos' Malaysia Photo Album. Click image for the original source.

Back then it was called Pasar Besar Buluh Kubu
and the Laman Siti Khadijah as known today, was a busy road, crawling with vehicles of all sort with a small but often very crowded bus stop cum "bus station" at one side.

The Passa itself was lively and filled with an assortment of activities.
From the sight of vegetable / fruit traders, fishmongers closing deals, trishaw peddlers attending to market-going middle aged ladies, to occasional beggers drawing attention by chanting Quranic verses from memory, there were indeed much more things to see other than the goods displayed.

I remember the scene underneath the sunroof being so beautiful through my viewfinder as I did my Kajian Geografi Tempatan on the Passa ( the one that you need to do to pass your PMR Geography paper, at least it was in my time ). Taking shots here and there, mapping the stalls by type of merchandise sold, even went asking the mokcik for the "cukai pasaa" receipt stub ( the one given out by duty collector for payment made ) to be attached as reference together with the report that I later compiled, submitted ( got an A ! yay ! ) and still have it nicely kept to this day.

Well, those were the days.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~ # ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, the Passa is still much like before.

Generally as lively and as busy as it was if not much livelier and busier.
Though lots of changes came by with the passing years,
starting from the name change, to renovations here and there, new Muslim praying facility, PA sytems, additional commercial block and all sorts of improvements and new things done but perhaps, nothing seems greater, more outstanding .....

.... than this one particular outcome, to this one particular spot :

Honestly, with the exception of the all-new cleaner looking tiles and raised platforms, I found this new look rather disturbing.

First, the sight of misplaced containers, empty baskets and empty trays ( trust me, those are not on sale ), despite being an eye sore, is already screaming with a tragic tune. That much of the activities, had flowed out from this most picturesque part of the Passa, either to outside sidewalks or to the newly added block next door, leaving this spot now, clinging to its life.

Note that, this photo was taken not in the late evening but on Friday, quite early in the morning ( 0930 hrs to be exact, see foot note
(*3) ). Being a person who loves prowling the market place during weekends and having this observed since the past few years, I am pretty sure that they were not "away on holidays" either. In fact those hardly related stuffs are there to serve a purpose that already explained all - to make use of empty spaces left by former traders.

Well, I have to admit that those people are not there just to pose for the tourists ( except if tourism is really the main priority here ) and this is "business world" we are talking about. For that, I should learn to accept and live with this whole new reality.

Que serra, serra ~ whatever will be, will be !

I decided to dedicate this entry to the Passa Besaa that I once knew,

with the thought that for the better or for worst,

things there won't ever be the same again.

See the market place in Old Algiers

Send me photographs and souvenirs

Just remember when a dream appears

You belong to me

I'll be so alone without you

Maybe you'll be lonesome too, and blue ...........

~ Michael Buble, You Belong To Me ~

( * sigh )

Left :
Vehicle problem or just lost your way to the church ?
A newly wedded couple ( it was then ) with their totally new, revolutionary, different definition of " wedding photograph " - Click image for details.

Right :
Even the Mokciks would not expect where they would end up in
A wall decoration at the Malaysian owned, Malay Satay Hut restaurant in the United States ( Portland, Oregon ) - Click image for details.


(*1) :
Pasar , Malay for " Market ". Passa Besaa, Kelantanese for Pasar Besar or literally " Big Market " ( Central Market ).

(*2) :
The Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah is unmistakably the MOST PHOTOGRAPHED market place in Malaysia, for artistic, tourism or even romantic (!) purposes, with the above referred spot being the most favored and most publicized.

(*3) :
Friday morning is considered the best and most favorable time of the week for many Kelantanese to go out for their groceries. The day when workplaces call the day's off and public parking spaces are free. Thus, more Kelantanese come out for their groceries on Friday morning than any other day.

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