Dear Matt and Mar,
I am afraid by the time you are grown up enough to be let out alone, shop like this one will be fairly hard to find in BKK or even in Thailand. Some would say, these are acceptable casualty of progress. Oh, you’ll probably find a replica somewhere in a themed community mall by some seaside town, trying to create a niche for the shoppers to visit. I have already seen a couple of attempts, the soul just isn’t there as it’s not a part of the community but a setup to do nothing more than just to get you to open up your wallet.
Modern trade (large or small) will all be that you’d know, what a shame, perhaps you’ll find some real reminisce of this in some Thailand’s forgotten upcountry hamlet. This photo was taken in Yangon, although not the capital city of Myanmar, but it is by far the number one city in terms of trade and development.
Within the group I was travelling with, number of years were thrown from person to person on how many years back it is when compared to Bangkok, 20, 30, 40? Frankly and personally for me I couldn’t even make an educated guess (simply I wasn’t here).
For me the number of years back are totally slightly irrelevant, what is important for ‘business planning purposes’ (we were on a business trip) is the ‘speed and acceleration’ variable, that is how soon will Myanmar catch up with the rest of the ASEAN community, with the right budget, determination, proper planning and incorruptible people in charge, even if they were 40 years back, I can assure the both of you that 40 will become 30, 20, 10 in a blink of an eye.
So, am I sad to see this type of shops being flushed out by ‘progress’? Yes, but and I surprise? Absolutely not, at the end of the day even this type of shop (no matter how charming it is) is a business, revenues must be more than expenses, if not then ‘progress’ will win, and for Thailand it looks like soon a knockout punch will be hurling itself soon enough. If the owner can not make enough to support his/her life, it is obvious that he/she will have to find another work stream and close down the shop, making way for the 7/11 of this reality.