Market Friday: strangely quiet at the shopping mall

There must have been some hiccups in the flows of energy in the universe or outer space. My mind has been going through a crazy whirlwind of fluctuating electromagnetic waves during the past week. Luckily there were few moments of peaceful respite when I did manage to center myself and reminded myself to be aware of my breathing. So, I needed to go walking at a shopping mall to get my mind occupied by some nice sensory diversions.

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To my surprise, the shopping mall was strangely quiet and there were hardly any customers which was very unusual for late afternoon. The country has become much more relaxed about COVID measures though the authority still tried to unload their stocks of imported chemicals. More people have started to get ill and hospitals are inundated with vaxx injured patients. So, many potential customers might have become incapacitated and their families had to look after them. Though I quite like a quiet shopping mall, the vibes and atmosphere there that day were not very cheerful. I couldn’t pinpoint what kind of moods were floating around the mall. There was a tinge of sadness, hesitation and hopeful anticipation for some lucky break.

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I started my routine walking in a circle from the fifth floor down to ground floor. This routine walking exercise was very nice and pleasant as the mall was fully air conditioned. I noticed more foreign tourists have arrived in Bangkok. I saw more Middle Eastern tourists shopping for cooking utensils and household items. My friend told me that people from the Middle East liked to spend their holidays in Bangkok during the rainy season. They would rent condominium units on higher floors with large glass panels. It seemed they loved to watch the display of rain storms with thunder and lightning! Our rain storms were quite spectacular and exhilarating for people from the hot and dry surroundings.

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The management of the mall tried to attract more customers by organising food fair and handicraft flea market on the ground floor. Looking down at these stalls from upper level, I couldn’t help feeling rather sorry for all the vendors. They probably wondered to where all the customers had gone. Unfortunately, I could feel that things would start to get much worse later this year. Several shopping malls in the provinces have begun to close down. Some big hotels have gone dark in Bangkok. It was quite a shock to see my old haunt for buffet lunch and health club in a hotel closed down this week. We used to have several private parties and groups’ dinners there many years ago, so I knew almost all the staff there. The good of days were gone, leaving me with memories and longing for familiar feelings and atmosphere.

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I reminded myself to take photos of my daily life as these would be the record of the life I used to enjoy and take for granted. I might find this big shopping mall being closed down one day; all of a sudden people might have to evacuate the city. Consequently, everything had to shut down. My mind was going fuzzy so I had to walk faster to be in the present. The display of soft toys on the ground floor attracted my attention as I never had a proper toy as a child. At that time, my family was very poor and my mother couldn’t afford any toys for her children.

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Later on, my younger brothers and sister were so spoiled with so many toys that they became rather extravagant. They had no idea how hard life was in the old days. Imported soft animal toys were very expensive in those days. So, I had to make my own toys such as wooden swords, bows and arrows, fishing stick, several kites including several ‘meta verse’ games in which I forced smaller kids to assume those characters and play along my scripts.

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One day I could afford to buy myself a nice teddy bear, similar to Winnie the Pooh. That fulfilled my curiosity of having a big soft teddy bear. But my mind wouldn’t be satisfied by toys as I began to have psychic experience which switched my preoccupation to intangible or invisible things. That’s a new learning phase of growing up and getting to know my inner self. However, I always had soft spot for animal toys. I dared not look at the price tags of these big animal toys, I knew they were quite expensive. Though I didn’t need any animal toys, I still had to greet them and make friendly conversations with them quietly.

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The vendors were very kind and let me take as many photos as I wished. Some of the animals looked rather sad to me as they couldn’t find their clans there. I could see that they felt rather lonely and neglected. It would be nice if some rich families could buy some for their children. These animal toys looked very friendly and gentle; perhaps they were designed to look meek and cute to attract children and parents. I could recall how crowded this mall used to be and the food fair was always popular among shoppers who didn’t like cooking for themselves. Vendors would be busy packing take away food for customers most of the time. The rows of good stalls hardly had any customers that day.

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Some big shops had already moved out of this mall and some were thinking of shutting down at the end of their rental contracts. So, I had the feeling that many shops wouldn’t renew their rental contracts later this year. I just hope that the management would lower the tents so that shop owners could cover some operating costs. The demise of big shopping malls has started and social cohesion would become much thinner.

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I dared not speculate too far into the future lest my spirit would be dampened and down for days. I really have to make a move on my contingency plans just in case something unexpected occurred in the near future. Sometimes I wondered what would happen to all my friends on this platform during a regional kinetic war. Would we still be blogging or trying to move to safer places? The future is full of stressful uncertainties and unexpected potential natural disasters. I just pray and hope for the best while trying to appreciate all the blessings I have in the present.

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Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.

Stay strong and cheerful.

#marketfriday by @dswigle

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