Thieves Market at Sungei Road

Thieves Market, a flea market at the Sungei Road area in Singapore, has been around since 1930s. It used to be the place where stolen goods were sold. Today, it's just a place that sells second hand items and the negative connotation no longer exist.

Due to the construction of the Jalan Besar MRT station, the area for the flea market has been halved. Vendors have moved on to the other streets nearby and it can be difficult to secure a spot as the place is packed with people.

The guy in the sketch above is Mr Abeullah who has been selling electronics at the place for 7 years. He always takes the same spot which is at the junction of Larut Road and Pitt Street. Due to impending rain, I decided to just sketch under his tent, which was a good move because it poured. Mr Abeullah was talking about how he used to repair air-conditioning units, to getting into a car accident, and now selling electronics.

This was a sketch from a photograph.

You can feel the friendly vibes there among the vendors who knows one another. It's a social place where people gather and talk.

The Thieves Market opens from 1pm to 7pm daily. The vendors feels that closing at 7pm is too early as that's the time when the crowd builds up. Those caught selling after 7pm can be fined $300 by NEA - I heard a few vendors complaining about the fine.

It takes a few minutes walk from the nearest MRT station at Bugis.



Hello Parka,

Hello Parka,

My name is Shu Wen and I am from a design agency called Manic Design. I am part of a team that is developing an iPad app guide to heritage enclaves in Singapore and I'm writing about places in Kampong Glam that locals and foreigners should check out if they are in the area. We're keen on writing about Surgei Road Thieves' Market (even though it's not exactly in the Kampong Glam area but it's worth the 10-15 minute walk from Arab Street!). I came across your sketch after a Google search for images of an ariel-view of the market and I was wondering would it be possible for us to use one of your sketches to accompany the review that has already been written? We don't have a budget for acquiring images but in exchange of your sketch we'll give you credit for the image in the iPad app guide.

Do let me know if you have any queries about our agency, what we do, and this iPad guide-app that we hope to launch by the end of the year.

Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Shu Wen

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