Wet Market in Singapore

2015-08-26

Yesterday I got up early to take some photos at a wet market in Singapore.

At the beginning, I was appalled. I walked in and around me were rows of stalls selling fresh fish or chicken. I’m not sure what I expected, but certainly not rows of dead animals (note to myself: learn something about a place before you go there!).

wetmarket1

It was still dark when I arrived, but the scene I encountered was quite lively. The vendors were already busy preparing their products and customers walked around inspecting them. Everyone had something to do, their day had started early.

wetmarket18

I took a deep breath (and promptly inhaled the smell of fish – luckily I quickly got used to it) and walked around for a while with my camera in the hand in order to take my surroundings in to get a feeling of the place. People were busy and worked efficiently.

cutting chicken feet
cutting chicken feet

A man asked me if I was there for a project. For once I wasn’t treated like a tourist but like a local student. No wonder, considering the place and the time of the day. His question gave me the courage to finally approach a vendor to ask him (in Chinese) if I could take photos of him.

cutting fish 1
cutting fish 1

There were also female vendors but they weren’t as open to me as the men were, that’s the reason why there are only men in the photos.

cutting fish 2
cutting fish 2

Since I still feel anxious when I take photos of people for too long (I’m not the most social person out there) I left after covering the part of fish and chicken, leaving the fruits and veggie stalls for another day.

Speaking some Chinese definitely helped me a lot when it came to asking for permission to take the photos, I think some people would have reacted differently if they’d thought I was a tourist.

These photos show a rather local site of Singapore, away from the glam you find in the travel guides.

cutting chicken
Since I was there as a photographer and not as ‘me’, I could watch this scene without thinking ‘yuks, so disgusting!!’. I was there to observe, not to judge.

wetmarket3

shiny coins
shiny coins
rubber boots
rubber boots – parts of the floor were really wet

wetmarket7

wetmarket8

lady buying fish
a lady buying fish

wetmarket13

wetmarket14

man taking a break
taking a break

28 Comments
    1. These photos are amazing, Monika! I am so glad to see more pictures from you! The wet market looks like a really interesting place to capture and document!

      1. hihi thanks, Diana. Can’t wait to share the photos of the wet market in Manila! <3 I hope you'll like them as well!

        1. I can’t wait to see them! I want to share them as well so everybody could see how talented you are!

      1. Thank you for your comment, Wilbur. I hope you had/have the chance to visit a wet market as well!

      1. thank you, Fatima! it was definitely very interesting and thanks to Diana, I have a Filipino version of it too :))

    1. Hi Monika, the photographs you took are wonderful! :) Love how you visited the more local part of Singapore, away from the usual popular sites that tourists usually visit. It really depicts the real side of Singapore, and it makes the experience so much more interesting and genuine. :) I’ve been to the wet market several times, but one thing that’s pretty distressing about them is that they are often less popular with the youths in Singapore who prefer to purchase raw ingredients from modern supermarkets and malls. Most of my friends don’t visit them often and they’re usually visited by the older generation, so the existence of these wet markets might be threatened in the future, and that’s quite unfortunate. Thank you for sharing this, hope you enjoyed your time in Singapore! :)

      1. Dear Dian,
        I’m so sorry for my super late reply! I appreciated your comment a lot and was really happy to hear from you again. First of all, thank you for the compliment :) I’m definitely more interested in more local sites than those touristy glam areas! I think it’s awesome that you’ve been several times to a wet market. It’s really a pity that they’re getting extinct in Singapore – I was also in one in Manila and it was very lively there. I hope you keep going to wet markets and maybe you could motivate your friends as well :)
        have a lovely week and thank you again for your thoughtful comment, I enjoyed reading it a lot! :)

    1. I can feel the energy and the vibe of the market from your photos. Even how the fresh the fishes are!

    1. Lovely work! I like your approach to visual storytelling, and you can tell people were very comfortable with you there. Good stuff :-)

      1. Thank you very much, Emma, comments like yours make me keep going. I’m looking forward to reading your next post! :)

      1. Thanks for your comment – it’s cool that you grew up with that, nowadays everyone grows up with boring shopping centers.. :)

    1. wow, you really cought the atomsphere. Looking at the photos I never thougt that this was disgusting, what I normally would have thought. You showed it as a part of the normal live for these people. Really amazing!

      1. hui war ich überrascht, einen deutschsprachigen Blog zu entdecken :D vielen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar (und tut mir leid für meine späte Antwort!) <3 freut mich sehr, dass ich die Atmosphäre gut rüberbringen konnte. Ich wünsche dir eine wunderschöne Zeit in Irland! :)

        1. Dankeschön :*
          Wie war denn dein sonstiger Eindruck von Singapur? Ich überlege nämlich schon an meinem nächsten Reiseziel :D

          1. haha das ist eine fiese Frage, ich komme ja von dort und könnte mich wochenlang dort aufhalten :D aber sagen wir’s mal so, von anderen Touristen habe ich gehört, dass sie nach wenigen Tagen alles gesehen haben.. eignet sich aber hervorragend als Zwischenstop, ist im Verhältnis mit anderen südostasiatischen Ländern aber sehr teuer, dafür aber auch hochmodern :) wohin soll’s denn gehen? :)

Let me know what you think!

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