The connectedness of Thailand and its relation to the marketplace is what first attracted me to this subject matter. Before I explain the connections, which I have observed, I want to first provide you with historical context that stresses the importance of these market hubs.
As a direct result of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Thailand experienced one of it largest economic downfalls. Within months the Thai baht value abruptly increased from THB25/USD to THB56/USD and unemployment rates nearly tripled. With thousands left unemployed, and having nowhere to turn they could only hold on to the traditions that would one day save them.
The culture and lifestyle in Thailand is one, which is heavily influenced by tradition. Markets have been up and running in this region of the world for hundreds of years and are considered a traditional aspect of life. With the newly unemployed unable to find new forms of work the marketplace became a business venture sought out by many. Individuals turned to traditional ways of life such as farming and craftsmanship in order to make some cash. Others would sell excess items, which they acquired during their times of flourishment, making second hand items a common sight in the marketplace. Some took these ventures to a business level making deals with local farmers to help sell their products by buying in bulk.
With people working together and more products being produced the market place transformed into a center of affordable essentials. As time pressed on and people began to make money the utilization of Bangkok’s cheap imports and wholesale ordering became popular among many. Vendors became thirsty for more moneymaking opportunities and the marketplace made its way into every aspects of Thai culture. Vendors can be found lining streets during holidays, tucked away next to temples, and moving daily to adhere to the peoples needs. The people need the market place just as much as the marketplace needs the people.
This is the connectedness, which drew me in and allowed me to understand the meaning of the human experience. Coming from a world where everything is said to be “dog eat dog”, I was in aw of the context that displayed such humility and community during a time when things seemed nearly impossible. These markets are a reflection of rebirth and I so desperately wanted showcase every aspect of their empowering significance.