Thieves Market aka Sungei Road

1

A personal story of how the thieves market helped me in my photographic journey and tips on how to be a happy buyer every time you visit it.

When I was somewhere around 15 yrs old, I was traveling with my dad in a bus. When the bus passed by Thieves Market, he pointed it out to me and briefly told me that it’s a place where people would set up a stall and sell all sorts of stuff but most of the stuff are not stolen goods as it used to be in the past. He also told me not to visit it, because according to him, the people there are not friendly and it could be dangerous.

I never forgot about the place, and I always had been eager to visit it, but every time I felt like going, I remembered my father’s words and I would scrap the idea. But about 3 years ago when my dad went overseas, I decided to give the place a visit. On my first visit, I was very scared as I heard from a friend about how in Bangkok, if you touched an item you would have to pay for the item and I was worried if there was such a similar rule here too. I walked around the market tightly hugging my bag in front of me. It was a weird feeling as I felt sacred and happy at the same time, the place was like a treasure land. You can easily find old film cameras, vintage items, old clothes, typewriters etc. I once bought a Supersampler for SGD6.

Thieves market has a special link with me and photography. I bought my first DSLR (a Pentax K-X about 2.5 years ago). I got it with the money I earned through a holiday job. Always short on cash, I could not afford more lenses. On one of my regular visits to the thieves market, I found a gem. A Pentax Takumar 50mm F1.4 lens, I did not know anything about the lens. All I knew was that it has a screw mount so it will fit my Pentax with an adapter and it is a 50mm lens. I checked the lens for dust and fungus and it looked clean. After bargaining, I managed to get it for $20. Since that day, it has been my main lens. It forced me to shoot in full manual mode; this allowed me to learn the technical bits of photography thoroughly. I have shot numerous events and photoshoots with this lens and it still amazes me. I wonder where I would be in my photography if I had not visited Thieves Market that day.

Credits: chomdee

As mentioned earlier I would spend most of my money at thieves market buying film cameras and lenses. Most of the time, the items would be spoilt. I would get disappointed but not deterred and I would visit it again. But overtime, I started to be more careful and started checking the cameras before buying. If you are planning to visit the place to find some deals on cameras, here’s a checklist of things you should do before buying it:
- Carry a set of batteries (AA, AAA, CR123A) – these are the common batteries used in old point-and-shoot cameras). This will help you check if the camera is working or not.
- Ask the seller before testing the camera because sometimes they might not want you to test it.
- Check the lens for fungus, dust etc. (point it at the sky or shine light through it, if there is anything on the lens you can easily see it)
- Check if all the buttons can be pressed.
- Check if the backdoor is working the way it’s suppose to work
- Check the shutter. You can do this by opening the camera and pointing the camera at the sky. Upon clicking if you see light passing through, you can be at least sure the shutter works.
- Negotiate the price.
- If you choose not to buy and the seller gets angry, try not to fight back. Just say sorry and move off.

Singapore being a small and fast developing city, it lacks places like this. Old buildings/places are torn down to make way for new development. It’s sad to see old places disappear. And the same is happening to Thieves Market. It used to be much bigger than it is now. That’s due to the building of a new train station. This has forced most of the sellers to move off or squeegee in the remaining place. I am not sure how long this place will last, if you are yet to visit, Thieves Market don’t waste any more time. It’s open daily from 2pm to 7pm, there are more sellers on weekends but there are more people on weekends too and you would need to squeeze your way through. For me, the ideal time to visit is around 4-5.30 pm as most of the sellers have already set up there stalls and there’s a smaller crowd compared to closing time.

All photos taken with a Konica Big Mini 201 + Sensia 200 x-pro.

written by dashkad on 2012-01-30 in #world #locations #local-flavor #sungei-road-singapore-thieves-market #select-type-of-location

One Comment

  1. phantomphoenixphotos
    phantomphoenixphotos ·

    Very interesting place. I would love to go there.

More Interesting Articles

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 5

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-06 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 5

    Last week, I received the strangest thing through my letterbox. It was a postcard with this photograph on 1 side. The photo is of me sitting by the sea whilst I was on vacation last year. But I have literally no idea who took this shot – That’s why I came here, to ask for your help on my search for my mysterious photographer and to try and get to bottom of the riddle they wrote me. Please help me if you can!

    10
  • Matt Anderson’s Nomad Life

    written by cheeo on 2014-10-10 in #people #lifestyle
    Matt Anderson’s Nomad Life

    A life on the road can be perilous as it is rewarding. Photographer Matt Lief Anderson’s photographs of sweeping fields, calm waters and sloping mountains have different stories to tell.

    3
  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 4

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-05 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 4

    Read on dear friend and I will weave a story for you. There may be more questions than answers raised by this peculiar tale. But if it’s clarity you seek, have no fear, things will become clear in time (they always do, don’t they?). So rub the Sandman’s dust from your sleepy eyes and take a journey with me. If you think you have an answer when we reach the end, please do share it in the comments!

    8
  • Shop News

    Colorsplash your World!

    Colorsplash your World!

    At 30% off you can now color your analog images with 12 different color gels. Experiment with 35mm slide film and play with the built-in color flash for the most intense colors!

  • The Story of the Lomo'Instant, as Told on Social Media

    written by borisb on 2014-11-19 in #lifestyle

    The journey of the Lomo'Instant is a tale of unpacking, dating, ghost spotting, and so much more. From the day it appeared on Kickstarter to the time it landed on the doorsteps and into the hands of its would-be owners, its story has been a colorful and eventful one, retold and captured on social media.

  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    written by dermanu on 2014-09-22 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand, located at the Danish west coast, with my brothers and parents. I stopped going there as I grew up. In 2012 however, we hit the road again. It was my first return visit in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In part two of my journey log, I'm going to show you the pictures I took with my Lomography cameras.

  • My First Lomo Affair: Wesco and his La Sardina

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-07-17 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Wesco and his La Sardina

    It may take a while for some lomographers to figure out the perfect combination of camera, film, and accessory that suit their needs. But, Wessel de Haas, aka wesco, has been extremely lucky to find his early on his journey to Lomography. Find out what film and accessory he likes pairing his La Sardina 8Ball with in this edition of My First Lomo Affair!

    2
  • Shop News

    Belair X 6-12 City Slicker Back to Back Bundle

    Belair X 6-12 City Slicker Back to Back Bundle

    With your overwhelming support, we have run out of Belair Instant Backs! We'll restock it in April, but don't worry because the Belair Instant Camera is readily available to satisfy your instant cravings!

  • My First Lomo Affair: Clownshoes and his Lomo Smena Symbol

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-06-05 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Clownshoes and his Lomo Smena Symbol

    For a short time, Blaine Vernicek, otherwise known as clownshoes in our Community, needed to be away from his beloved muse, Miss Katie, and stay in another state because of his new job. But thanks to his Lomo Smena Symbol, he was able to bring with him photographs of his sweetheart that somehow helped him forget the unnerving distance between them. Read on to find out more about this heartwarming story in this installment of My First Lomo Affair!

    7
  • December 18th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-18 in #news
    December 18th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    With the holidays just around the corner, it's a great time to make sure you have loads of wonderful films for all the fun festivities coming up. Today's Advent deal of the day is here to help you do just that! Head on over to the Online Shop and save 10% on our wide selection of films. Do the right thing and keep your camera happy this year!

  • Fun Close-Up Portraits Courtesy of the Lomo'Instant!

    written by chooolss on 2014-06-24 in #news
    Fun Close-Up Portraits Courtesy of the Lomo'Instant!

    Lomography's on a mission to conquer the world of instant photography, and we need your help to reach this goal. Find out how you can contribute (and be rewarded with a super cool close-up lens, too!) after the cut!

  • Shop News

    the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

     the perfect surprise for every analogue loving enthusiast

    Let your loved one pick the gift of their dreams. Lomography Online Shop Gift Certificates are the perfect present for every analogue devotee on your gift list

  • Workshops and Events for January 2015 at Lomography UK

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-01-05 in #events
    Workshops and Events for January 2015 at Lomography UK

    Happy New Year Everyone. We're confident that our January 2015 workshops will help you dust off those January blues and get you smiling again. You'll be able to learn how to expose an image onto fabric or canvas with our LUMI paint workshop, learn the basics of our super Diana F+ camera and take to the streets with the Lomo'instant. There is also a great exhibition of analogue prints from photographer Arat “Huge” Komsawadichai. Find out more and book your spot by clicking here.

  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    written by dermanu on 2014-08-31 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand located at the Danish west coast with my brothers and my parents. However, I didn't anymore when I grew up. But in 2012, we hit the road again. It was my first visit there in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In this article, I'm going to present to you the photos I took with my Nikon F-501 SLR.

  • Analog By Nature

    written by Cameron Jean-laing on 2015-04-17 in #world #lifestyle
    Analog By Nature

    It's late October in Copenhagen and summer was well and truly behind us. With the nights drawing in, the chances of going out with one of my cameras was slim. All was not lost at this time of year, however, as it allowed me time to focus on my own personal music projects—I am a professional composer/musician and audio engineer at my own studio by day.

    1