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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Band On The Road


What do you expect to see in night markets? Possibly anything that excites and delights you - from cute little things that you can buy at great prices to enjoyable life encounters that you cannot buy at any price. And you must have been to certain vehicular-roads-turned-pedestrians-only night markets.

My wife and I recently went to Chaingmai, Thailand, primarily to see its Flower Festival 2018. Having experienced the highlight of our visit and arranged our Thai massage, we then checked out Chaingmai's Saturday Night Market. After staying at and walking past numerous lighted-up pop-up stalls, I heard the sounds of harmonica blowing, guitar strumming, drum rolling and Thai songs in the air, complementing the fun and lively atmosphere.

We then saw a four-member band in uniform outfits, sitting in linear positions in the middle of the road, with guitars in their arms, drumsticks in their hands and blowing instruments near their mouths, busily playing. The energetic street performers throwing joyful Thai songs together were also visually-impaired. Not only did the passing audience willingly put money in their tip box, we also witnessed a tourist with a ukulele joining in the social harmony and earning the fun feel: "I'm with the band!"

The next day when we were at Chaingmai's Sunday Night Market at a different location, we saw other lone or team buskers playing, but their presentations were not unique and did not have any admirable "Musicians Effect". I thought: "How nice would it be if I could see and hear the band on the road performing here again?" Within minutes, I had music in my ears and the band on the road before my eyes - and happily, we walked away with more than we had before!

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