Gadong Wet Market by Bruneian

The Gadong Wet Market is situated near the famous Mall Gadong. It is a one stop shopping center for chefs and the likes. Loads and loads of raw material for them here, waiting to be processed.

Anakbrunei, zadm and I went there on Sunday to do a 50mm outing. It's a perfect place for it.

The fish mongers were a little bit shy at first. We can hear them shouting "nah kana gambar tia, ada mukamu arah Pelita ni" to the ones we took pictures. Translation: Your pictures will be published in Pelita Brunei (a weekly local newspaper published by the government).

Everytime we took a snap, they always asked where we are from, "Dari Media Permatakah?" (Are you from Media Permata?) - another local daily published Malay newspaper. Anakbrunei told them "inda, dari Majalah Juran" (no, I am not, I am from Juran magazine) - Juran is a magazine published by our neighbouring country specializing on fishing.

As we ventured deeper into the market, things got more welcoming. They offered to pose for us. It didn't take long for us to become friends with them. They started to wave at us and asked us to take pictures of their counterparts, stalls and fishes. I stumbled upon familiar faces - in fact, lots of them as most of them came from Kampong Ayer and we used to go to the same school together. Some lived nearby my house at Kampong Ayer. It's been ages. It was good to talk to them again.

After 40 minutes or so mingling with those friendly fishmongers, we moved upstairs. It was like visiting a totally different place. Oh, I forgot to mention that there are 2 storeys (floors). The ground floor was where all the fishes, meat, chickens and sort are sold. The first floor was where the fresh vegetables, fruits and daily consumables like eggs are sold.

Why is this place different? I thought it should be full of people as it was on the ground floor but surprisingly it was almost empty. Not many people ventured to the first floor. I wondered why? We could see all sort of vegetables and fruits available there but yet, the floor was almost empty. They also enquired where we are from hoping that we are from the local media. They would like for us to write articles about how bad their businesses are over there. Some even told us that they can't even a single dollar in a day. Now, that is really bad. We were there on a Sunday which is supposedly the busiest day for them but yet, we hardly saw any customer on the first floor. There are lots of them ground floor though.

I wondered why didn't they go and venture upstairs. Perhaps they didn't like to climb up the stairs? Or they didn't know the existence? Or they prefered to go to Tamu Kianggeh to buy vegetables? I also realized that there are no signages - descriptive of otherwise pointing to the first floor something like "Sayur dan buah-buahan segar di tingkat atas” (translated fresh vegetables and fruits available upstairs). Perhaps not enough signage or coverage for them?

We stumbled upon something interesting. An office! Right next to the stalls at the back-end. I convinced Anakbrunei to take a picture of the office together with the stall next to it. Couldn't get a good angle, since this is strictly a 50mm only outing. We needed wide angle lens! But, a promise is still promise... This guy told us that this is the Bandaran Office (Municipal Office). Well not their main branch but this office is used for administering the market. All those admin work specifically for the wet market. He told us that this is just a temporary office since their original one is taken over by the relocated fish mongers from Kianggeh floating market. I read that on the newspaper where all those floating boats at Kianggeh have now been relocated to the Gadong wet market. They are not allowed to sell there anymore.

Wait a minute, a thought strike. My father still lives in Kampong Ayer and he does not have a car. He only shops at the nearby Bandar Seri Begawan. A friend of mine that has a stall on the ground floor told me that they could use the public transport, the bus. Now, that's one thing that is alien to us. My father hates public transport. He rather walks from gadong. Simply because he does not feel safe, he told me. Well, he doesn't have to. That's what a son is for. I am just a call away from the wet market .. hehehe. The market is also accessible using water taxi, which is if it's a high tide. It was a low tide yesterday.

We ended the trip by having iced milo and kasturi ping kosong. There is a restaurant on the first floor. This is where the fishmongers fill their hungry stomach after a hard morning trying to sell their stocks. Interestingly enough, some of them brought their own fresh fish there and asked the ladies to cook their favorite dish for them. Now, that's something out of ordinary. Bring your own fish and we cook them for you.

PS. Today's guest, wanted to share this post with everyone as Pasar Gadong is our central market. Embedded in this post with the beautiful photographs are two messages - firstly, what will people who lived in Kampung Ayer who have no access to the market do; and secondly, what is the future of the vegetable and fruit vendors in the wet market. Should the authorities step in again?


Anonymous said…
i m going there to get my fruits from now on :)
Anonymous said…
I was a wonderful outing we had at pasar Gadong and because the three of us stuck to our 50mm lens rule for the day, we got to interact with the people at the market. This was a great opportunity to get to know the venue where we were shooting inside and out. I'm sure my fellow photogs will agree that if we had used zoom lenses on that day, this wonderful narrative would not have been possible :) More power to the humble Canon 50mm 1.8 II lens. The best thing since white bread for the discerning photographer :)
Anonymous said…
Agreed with you bro. We would not know the story behind the scene. It was lovely. As I quote "Photography, meng eratkan silaturrahim"
Anonymous said…
When i was a kid, my mother used to go to the Pasar every saturday morning for fish AND veggies even after we moved to Kilanas. Nowadays she goes to the veggie market in Sengkurong mainly because it is closer to home.

Could the lack of customers for the 1st floor be attributed to surburbia pasars that have cropped up?
Anonymous said…
That is one of the factor. What we wanted to highlight here is that, there are lots of people on the ground floor and almost none on the first floor?

Why should we shop at 2 different places for fish/meat/chicken and veges while those can be bought at the same place? Why making 2 trips while we can have only 1?

Some people might not know the existence of the first floor maybe due to lack of signs point to first floor. Or pehaps lack of media coverage? Better marketing plan is definitely required for those vege sellers upstairs :)
Anonymous said…
on your last comment of better marketing plan; something cropped-up in my mind; i.e. whether bandaran or the municipal board has the capacity or expertise to do it??? That is an issue from the government perspective as facilitator to socio-economic development in this country. But what about those people who monger their fruts and vege and the like. i am sure they have beeen there, day in and day out, for many many years. Have they not learnt the trade? They should also be held responsible for whatever happened (lack of customers). I personally am, is one of those who would like Bruneians to be able to share the responsibility with the government. For one, I am pretty sure the rental is very minimal and they have been afforded this for ages. So why do we have to rely too much on the government??

Let's see what will come next with the opening of the market provided "free" by the honourable Pehin Goh (something that other businessmen shoud be envious about- jangan tanya apa yang kerajaan boleh buat untuk kitani, tanyalah apa yang kitani boleh buat kepada kerajaan [dan masyarakat]. BR and others, do you remember the song by Ismail Haron). I am sure that will provide another competition to the existing Pasar Gadong - i remember one early afternoon at the Gadong wet market, one of the vendors was caught snoring on the empty stall (not yet ready for business). He..he..
Anonymous said…
I fully agreed with you on your previous post. I have read my post and article. I did not point specifically that "government help is needed to better promote the vege sellers".

My statement is a general statement from what I thought might need improvement. I am all for "jangan tanya apa yang kerajaan bloeh buat kepada masyarakat".

That is why I am taking the initiative to blog. Trying to promote Brunei through photography ( ). Hoping it will portray and deliver good messages to tourist around the world.

I have been very active trying to capture moments and pictures of our lovely country. I am trying to contribute to the country. I pray it will do good to us all.

All I was trying to do on this article is hoping that it will help to promote those vege sellers :)
Anonymous said…
wondering abt the bits leftover from the fish and all, is it going straight to the drain or is it recycle as organic fetiliser whereas any foreign co. r doing it right nw

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