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February 29, 2020

Market City Yangon

A woman sells lottery with vehicle. Photo: GNLM/Phoe Khwar

People dub Yangon “Economic Hub”, but in my eyes, I see Yangon as a market city.
Most of the ground floors in the six downtown townships in Yangon are shops, and most of the houses on the main streets in suburb area are running business of shop cum residential house.

Street vendor selling fruits to tourist. Photo: GNLM/Phoe Khwar

But it is very rare view to see a big stall of a businessman who expands his business from a small shop to a big one. Most of the shops are struggling to survive.
Why? The answer is most of the shop owners in Yangon are weak in the art of commerce.
I will show you an example. I studied two teashops near a train station. I visited the first shop almost every day while I was waiting for the train but I have to wait for several minutes after ordering a cup of tea. One day, as usual, I sat down at a table, ordered a cup of tea and then wait. At that time the tea sommelier was talking to his friend and his focus was not on me and thus I left the shop at once and never went again there. The second shop is also situated near the station. But the taste of the tea is not the taste of the tea and the appearance is dirty.
A thought came into my mind that if they do their business with high creative mind and deal the people with good attitude most of the train catchers will be their customers.
The same is the fruit vendor who sells fruits on our street. He sold me who is his daily customer a nearly decayed durian with the same price of the good ones. When I got back home I prepared to eat it but it was in no position to have and I threw it into the dustbin.
A group selling durian by car shouting “Thandaung durian” also sold me a durian with just three or four segments at a cost of three thousand kyat. From then on, I decided to buy Malaysian or Thai durians.
I had an experience of buying a fish with the price of five thousand kyat believing the good talk of the vendor as she said it is a delicious one but in reality it was just an ordinary fish.
Nowadays, food with expiry date are revoked or destroyed and actions have been taken against the sellers but the unscrupulous persons brazenly lie their customers and kick them out. I remembered the story of a boy in the book named “Thardu is insolent” written by famous writer Thardu. The writer portrayed a dirty boy who was also the writer in his childhood, who after playing football and visiting famous department store in Yangon. The guard barred him from entering into the stores as he thought that boy was a shoplifter. Angrily the boy went straight to the manager and made complaints. The British manager patiently listened to the boy’s complaints and he himself sold what the boy wanted. And he dressed down the guard after seeing the boy off apologizing the boy, who was at that time under British rule.
The British manager also said, “Come again, you are more than welcome.”


By Maung Maung Htwe

Translated by Wallace


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