Night markets are usual event found in Malaysia. Occurring close to the residential area, the main supporter of the night market operation is the surrounding community who ensure the night market sustainability. This research is to investigate the perception of the community towards the existent of night market in their area and collect suggestion to improve the night market structure. The research using ethnography method to study two night market in: Section 27, Shah Alam and Ijok, Kuala Selangor. The finding shows that the community perception towards the night market is a flavor place to go and convenient place for the near-by resident to shop and leisure. The final part of this research recommended the night market as a tourist destination.
Keywords: Surrounding Community, Supporter, Community Perception, Night Market, Sustainability
Malaysia’s tourism industry had been significantly important to the country as the second largest foreign exchange-earner and has been identified as one of the 12 National Key Economic Area (NKEA) where Malaysia has the potential to excel. In 2009, unswayed by the recession, the tourist numbers had reached to 23.65 million with receipts RM 53.4 billion, increased by 7% than the previous year. We can see the ministry of tourism had develop many new tourism product such as the homestay program, Rail Tourism, Art Tourism, etc., to go in-line with the government target to improve Malaysia’s position to be within the Top 10 in terms of global tourism receipts in 2015 that is to reach RM115 billion and providing 2.7 million jobs.
Another well-known local activity or destination that sparks during night-time is the “Pasar Malam” or Night Markets. Khalilah (2010) defined night market as a temporary weekly event that usually takes place at available open spaces, and on roads or parking lots that are temporarily closed to allow for its operation. We can discover the existent of the night markets anywhere in our country, whether it is in middle of an urban area or the rural area. Lee et al. (2008) night markets are street markets operating at night, mainly in urban or suburban areas that generally tend to have more leisure, shopping, and eating areas.
The night markets often set-up by rows of stalls selling various types of products which mainly produce by the seller themselves especially the food and beverage stalls. Khalilah (2010) mentioned the business typology of the suburban night market consist of food and beverages, house-hold product, grocery needs like vegetables, fruits, fish and meat, clothes, and other range of everyday merchandise sold at affordable price. The sellers are found handling their small business by themselves and operated at a specific place or lots which near to the resident area. Night markets have been long enough existed that it blend-in to the community activity, popular for their variety of food, convenient to access and offering affordable price. The night market is a very unique place to be visit.
Compared to the shopping mall, it is an open-air shopping area and people buying things in very relax tempo, the sounds were cheerful, nicely arranged items under the colourful umbrella. Khalilah (2010) a visitor to the site (Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman night market), the night market provides a captivating aerial view revealing a unique urban phenomenon that is spatially and experientially different to other built forms. The night markets not only become place for selling-buying activity but also a place for local social interaction. Chan (2010) mentioned that night market consists of many stalls that gather in a place, mainly to serve the surrounding community a place for casual shopping, leisure, social gathering, and relaxation. No doubt Malaysia is a country famous with its richness of multi-culture, hence night market composes more or less the culture of the local people, for example the traditional food, music played and clothes sold. Lee et al (2008) mentioned that the night market reflects the places’ history, society, and economics.
To support this, Khalilah (2010), said that the night market not only becomes a venue for commercial trades to take place, but as a source of cultural richness and identity In any tourism planning and destination, it brings impact on the surrounding especially to the surrounding community or local resident whether the impact can be negative and or positive. Nevertheless, local resident support was essential to ensure long-term success in tourism development, and this was particularly important as the main customer of the night market operation and to support the night market sustainability. As Chandralal (2010) agreed on the research that suggests it is impossible to sustain tourism to a destination that is not supported by the local people.
PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to investigate the perception of the surrounding community towards the existing night market in their area. To achieve this study, the objectives are: To determine the typology of community around of the night market To uncover what are their concern of the existing night market To collect suggestion from the surrounding community about the night market To recommend improvement of the night market
To discover the possibility of making the night market as a tourist destination IMPORTANT OF THE STUDY
Night market in Malaysia was already a common place as the weekly shopping event for the residential area. The main supporter of the night market sustainability was the surrounding community. This paper contributes to the industry especially for the tourism planner to get the perception and understanding the community concern, hence develop a better tourism (night market) destination. This paper also beneficial for the local authority in the improvement planning of night market to suits the community.
Besides, this paper explores and adds-on the knowledge of tourism sector by investigating the perception of community towards the night market. Other than that, the insight of this paper is valuable for academic scholars who wish to further investigate the surrounding community and night market relationship.
Figure 1: Study Framework
The subjects of this study are the communities in Section 27, Shah Alam and Ijok, Kuala Selangor. The study is focusing on the community within 3km from the night market. The study of surrounding community consists of area description and community description. The area description is through observation on the area layout, population of the area, ethnic breakdown of community and type of community dwelling. The community description is through interview session with the subject respondent about their concern, suggestions, and demographic matter. The information gathered to obtain the perception towards the night market. Then improve the night market that most suit the community to ensure the long-term sustainability of the night market operation.
Khalilah (2010) used a study case approach to study the night market at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur. She looked through the dimensions like: the conditions for operation and variation of scales such as scale of the city, scale of the street, scale of the stall, and scale of the product. Through the research, she identified components that make the night market unique and rich: qualities of mobility, temporality, complexity, ambiance, products, cultural occupation of space and the global-local adaptations. Previous studies in Taiwan looked on the consumer socio-demographics (gender, age, marriage status, education level, occupation, country of origin) to relate with the experience at the night market.(Lee et al, 2008; Suen & Wei, 2009; Lee, 2010) They found that most of the consumer in night market are age 20 and above, single and students, university educated.
Suen & Wei (2009) measured on the consumer purchase behavior by using consumer loyalty (Lee, 2010), repeat purchase, and repurchase intentions. They suggest that consumer that had high satisfaction on the product purchased will have high repurchase intentions. Chan (2010) and Camille (2010) mentioned that the product (food) attributes/ quality is the most important factor to attract the customer. The studies on night market previously had more concentrate on the products, consumers, visitors and traders, and few had been done on the community prospective.
Definition of community found in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community given by Hillery (1955) as “a group of interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location”. Previous studies had link the community with the tourism development. For example, a recent researcher Chandralal (2010) mentioned that the key to success and implementation of sustainable tourism development in a community is the support of stakeholders, which included the host community. He also suggested that a sustainable tourism industry is predicated on a number of factors; in particular, consideration should be given to the impact that tourism has on the host community.
According to Tatoglu (2000), there were negative perception invoke of the community due to the unstructured tourism planning, uncontrolled constructions, increase of noise level, pollution, and congestion. Mason (2000) supported this and stated that the negative environment impacts which are frequently highlighted include littering, overcrowding, traffic congestion as well as pollution of water and soil. Chandralal (2010) however mentioned that the most important benefit that the residents felt had flowed from tourism were increased employment opportunities, property values, image of the city, appearance and infrastructure of the city and improved pride as the residents.
To summaries, previous night markets researcher focus mainly on the components at the night market such as products, consumers, etc. They identify the night market as a place for casual shopping and leisure. On the community perspective, there were negative and positive perception and impact of the local community towards tourism development. Although much research had been done within the scope of community perception, less had been done about the perception of the community towards the night market in Malaysia. This research explores the gab of the previous research on the perception of the community towards the existent of night market at their area.
This research is using the ethnography method. According to Brewer (2000), ethnography is the study of people in naturally occurring settings or ‘fields’ by methods of data collection which capture their social meanings and ordinary activities, involving the researcher participating directly in the setting, if not also the activities, in order to collect data in a systematic manner but without meaning being imposed on them externally. This research method is used because the information is new and unfamiliar, besides the information requested is too subtle to be interpreted by quantitative techniques. The data collection is done through in-depth interviewing, observation and document review.
The data gathered for this study came from two categories namely primary data and secondary data. The primary data was obtained through fieldwork done at the Section 27, Shah Alam and Ijok, Kuala Selangor using a properly administered questionnaires (in two versions: Malay and English). In addition, in-depth or further question during the interview also conducted in order to get the respondent’s opinions. Observation was also used to monitor the surrounding activities, area layout, population of the area and ethnic breakdown of community. The secondary information was gathered from previous research and journals, articles found in the website and magazines.
This instrument acts as a guideline during the observation and interview session. The main concern is to get the in-depth story of about the respondent attitude and perception towards the existence of the night market. In this research the given definition for Surrounding Communities: Residents living in the same locality (within a 3km radius) and sharing some common characteristics.
Data Collection Methods
The observation was done during the fieldwork which took place during 21st October 2010 in Section 27, Shah Alam and 23rd October 2010 in Ijok, Kuala Selangor. Area Layout/Streets Pattern (Map, Diagram)
Population of the Area
Population of the surrounding area (3km radius)
Ethnic breakdown of community
Type of community dwellings
The interview was also done during the fieldwork which took place during 21st October 2010 in Section 27, Shah Alam and 23rd October 2010 in Ijok, Kuala Selangor. The interview conducted with the respondents which felt free to responds and to be interview. The information that to be collected were the: Respondents opinion about the night market
Respondent concern about the night market
Area of Study 1: Section 27, Shah Alam
Figure 2: Map of area of study in Section 27, Shah Alam
The sun was not so shine that day. I set myself in ready mode and fully equipped to start the fieldwork study. My watch showed at 3o’clock. Much had been expected to do and I keep remaining myself on the instruments to be covered. But still I tried to put things clear in my mind. First, the group of researchers from UniRazak settled the table under a colorful big umbrella at the edge of the night market. There are 3 stalls setting up during that time.
I started my observation and taking photos along the way to reach the residential area. There were apartments and flats around the night market. The surrounding was quiet and not much activities or movement because it was on Friday and most of the people were working. I went straight to the Ixora Apartment. The communities opposite the road of the research site were included people staying in the Seri Ixora Apartment. This is newly developed area since 2006. The total units were 600. The total square feet per room had two type A-773 sq.ft, type B-800 sq.ft. The facilities include 24-hours security, a multi-purpose hall, surau, badminton courts, tennis court, children’s playground, and ample car-parks.
People staying here were mostly blue collars work at the near-by Proton Holding Factory and Sime Darby Factory. After I interviewed 2 respondents at the Ixora Apartment, I went back to the night market site and climb a handle-less cemented staircase to reach the residents at Proton Flat. The estimated population within 3km of this area was 15 thousand people, 70 percent were Malay, and others were included Indian, Chinese, and foreigners. Respondent 1: A Secondary Student
I saw him from far, sitting under the shield of a tree, pressing his hand-phone. A young boy slowly appeared from my sight. I approached him with a smile, he seem friendly, a signal to start a conversation. He is a Form 3 student from the nearby school, SMK Section 27. He was waiting for his friend who lives in the Seri Ixora Apartment. He wanted to go his friend’s house, later to go to the night market together. He lives in terrace house at Taman Alam Indah at Section 33, 2.5 km from there. His name is Sharil Bin Ahmad. His father works as an executive officer for R & D in the Proton Factory.
He likes to play guitar in front of his house during his free time. He also enjoys playing futsal with his friends. He goes to the night market every week with his sister, sometime with friends. He will by mainly food, and his favorite food is Nasi Ayam Masak Merah, white rice serve with chicken cooked in tomato sauce. He likes to eat the food because it is delicious. He goes to the night market just to hang around with his friends. The night market was assessable and convenient place to buy food. He mentioned that the night market is one of his flavor places to go because he enjoys hangs around with his friends. He doesn’t mention any problem with the existence of the night market when I asked.
Respondent 2: A Young Entrepreneur
He was flipping the Metro newspaper at the playground of Seri Ixora Apartment. Just want to know the overall news of the day. His name is Mohd Adam Bin Ismail. At the age of 19, he is a young entrepreneur who just opens his shop at uptown Puchong Perdana. He was selling clothes (male and female) and accessories. Before he started the business, he studied in one of the Mara Collage in Kedah. After 2 semesters, he decided to “graduate” by himself to start the business. He used RM 2000 for the opening capital. He rent a site (10ft x 10ft) with canopy, RM400/month, operate from 10pm-2am from Tuesday to Sunday. He buys stock from Plaza GM at Chow Kit. He mention about the female cloth need to be “update” frequently to go in line with the current fashion.
He got very excited when I ask about his business and talks a lot more. In the beginning he actually received more discouragement from his family especially from his sister. They wanted him to finish his study and get a certification. But then he proves to them what he can achieve. By just working few hours daily, the can earn around RM5000-6000/month. Most of his free time, he spend with reading, playing futsal and twice a week he need to stock-up the item.
Personally he likes to go to the night market behind the apartment his staying. He mostly bought ready to eat food such as Nasi Lemak-coconut rice with anchovy, cooked chili paste, fried peanuts, and hard boiled-egg. He felt that the night market was a convenient place for nearby residents to by the groceries and food for their family. When I asked about the pollution occur, he said he doesn’t face problem with the noise level, the garbage will be taken care by the authorize people. He suggest main road of the night market to have more lighting for safety purpose.
Respondent 3: A Protective Father
At 5:50pm, he came back from work. He work faithfully for 21years in the nearby Proton factory located at Hicom Industrial Estate Batu Tiga, 4.3km from our main research site. He is holding a post as Progress Controller. His name is Anwar Bin Abdul Hamid, 41 years old. He has 3 cute but a bit shy children. He has been staying there for 15 years. His daily leisure activity is mostly with family; taking cares the children, helping his wife to do housework, and watching TV with his family. During the interview, he stands behind the locked grill. I can sense he had a strong feeling of secureness.
During weekend, he plays takraw at the nearby field. He will go to the night market every week to buy mainly ready to eat food. He also buys some groceries such as onion, vegetables, and fish. He enjoys to go night market and to meet with his friends. He found the price at the night market is lower than shops and located near to his house, very convenient place. Sometime he also go to others night market around Shah Alam area; Alam Megah. He also mentioned about the safety around this area, lately there were some robbery happened. He hoped that the police can patrol the area.
Area of Study 2: Ijok, Kuala Selangor
Figure 3: Map of the study area in Ijok, Kuala Selangor
The second part of night market is small and created in the shape of C where all types of cooked food were found. The two parts are divided with a small road which is Jalan Sejati 9. There is a bus station located in the corner of the main road. The police station is just next to the bus station facing Jalan Bukit Badong. at the back of the night market you can see with the brown color a Chinese school called skolah Jenis kabangsan Cina Ijok, there are three petrol stations: Caltex which is located beside the C shape of the night market whereas PETRONAS in the junction of Jalan Bukit Badong and the main road to Kuala Selangor, the third petrol station is BHP located opposite to the night market and beside the empty shop lots. It was a sunny day when I reached the site.
The traders already set up their stall and there were customers in the night market. This was considered early because in other night market such as in Shah Alam, the traders only start to set up their night market during this hour but as you can see in this case traders already made the set up and even customers are in the market. I observed the housing area in around the night market area were mostly double-story terrace house. The estimated population around 3km of this area was 10 thousand people, 60 percent were Chinese, 30 percent were Malay and others were Indian. Most of the people were farmer of the palm estates which can be found surrounding the area.
Respondent 4: Creative and Hardworking Auntie
Just in front of night market site were shop lot areas. Since the most community in Ijok Chinese people, Chinese restaurant can easily found in this area. Behind the shop lot there were double story terrace house. Li Chong Mei is 64 years old. She is a mother of 5 children and has 2 cutes grandchildren. She is the backbone of the family where she has to support her family working as a waitress in Hyetian restaurant to support her husband. Her husband Wan Hui was suffering lung cancer since 2 years ago. She has to work hard to take her husband medical checkup once a month. Seeing they children lived far away from them, they will not bearing their children, she said. She has been married to Wan Hui since 1969. It was 41 years ago. She loves her husband very much.
During her spent time she loves to sew a colorful blanket. She started her hobby when she was young, 15 years old. Her mom always told her to sow her dress by herself, because during that year, it was quite expensive to buy 1 piece of cloth rather than today. So that she accustomed to sew till now. She designed such creative blanket. It was made from recycled paper and remnants that given by her friends. Actually her sewing hobby stimulates her to create colorful blanket. Usually she would sew the blanket 3-4 hours a day, which at 11am – 3pm only. She would end up sew at 3pm to cook for her husband. Then at 5pm she has to go to her workplace till 12pm. According to her, in the beginning of her colorful blanket is just trial and error only. She just enjoyed sew. So that she never put the price on her colorful blanket. “It’s just the activities to spend my time”, said Li. She was able to recycle the item unused item that not many people aware with. Her creativity is one of valuable asset of her. If she wants to sell her colorful blanket it may so expensive. Unfortunately, she does not want to sell it.
“It was just a simply blanket”, said li. everyone can make it. Because the secret to make this blanket is just, it should be creative, detail and patience, Li humbly. Other than sewing, she also interested in planting and collecting the recycled item. It showed when I tour to her house, I saw there were full of plant behind her house. Even though it was the small garden area, probably three by ten feet, but the corks were well arrangement. Li’s family house looked moderate but it still comfortable. The old newspaper that has been collected were arrange properly in small cabinet in front of her house. I was really amazed with her all her craft-work and industrious. Although she was in her late 60’s but her spirit was defeat the youngster today, and should be taken as an example for us.
Li had little opinion about the night market as she very seldom go to the night market. Last six months, she went to the night market only two times. She needs to do housework and prepare food for her husband during that time. She also concern about the food in-take for her family, so she does buy food from the night market. But she thought that the night market had cause traffic congestion around the area.
Respondent 5: A Simple Life
As I cross the main road which headed to Kuala Selangor, opposite the night market, I saw a colorful house painted in yellow, purple-blue, and orange. I approached the door as the gate opened wide. Mrs. Lim Li Yuan, works as an accountant at Vasatech Sdn. Bhd. in Batang Berjuntai, around 5km from the research site. She lives in Kampung Ijok since 1978 where she was born. After she got married 9 years ago, she moved to her parents in law’s house which was her neighbor who has been staying there 19 years till now. She had one son, 6 years old, who like to eat burger. Her husband works as building constructor.
She had a simple and happy live. Every Saturday and Sunday was her off day. She will took mother to the morning market at Batu Arang (12 km from the research site) to buy the groceries because the price is cheaper than the night market near-by and most of the seller plant their own vegetables. She does not need to cook at home. Her mother-in-law will come for the family. Her free time were to spend time with her son watching cartoon , twice a month they go to hypermarket (Tesco) to buy the household items. Twice a month she goes to night market just to buy some tidbits, burger for her son, and fresh-made sugar cane drink. She like the night market because there had variety of goods sold, price were reasonable. She mentioned that the night market causing too busy traffic and no proper car-park, the main road car moving very fast that became not safe to cross over to the night market site.
Respondent 6: A Joyful Uncle
Lim Tek Luk, 56 years old, was staying two rows behind Mrs. Lim Li Yuan’s house. I asked whether they know each other or not, he said he know her father-in-law, they were best friend. Sometime they go to have tea-time at the restaurant. Mr. Lim were been staying in Kampung Ijok for 23 years. He was doing a small business, selling vegetables and fishes on a motorcycle. He will go around the village from 7:30am to 1:00pm. In a week he works 5 or 6 days. He rest on the day where he felt he want to.
He got the stock from a supplier from Selayang groceries market. The type of vegetables and fish he sell varies according to what he got from the supplier. The supplier will come to Ijok, Kuala Selangor near-by his house twice a week to send the supply for him. He mostly sell green leaf vegetables, small fishes like Kembong, Selar, and Senang. He had been selling for 30 years, therefore he already had regular customer. In one day he said that he can earn RM400 but mostly “otang”(pay later) seldom to get cash. He prepared a book for his customer to sign and wrote the amount they credit. His customer will pay at the end or beginning of the month when they get their salary. Mr. Lim spent his free time to read newspaper to know about the current issue for example the social crime that happened.
He shared the news with his family so that they take cautious and try to avoid the same thing happen to his family and friends. Beside that he likes to help his wife to take care the potted plants around the house. He seldom goes to the night market. Why? I asked. He said because he does not buy anything there, he can get the groceries from the supplier and the night market doesn’t have many Chinese stall. But once in a while (once a month) he goes to the night market with his wife to buy peanuts, some light food, and to just looking around while walking. He found the price in might market is lower than shops’ price. He was concern about some tractor park vehicle along the main road block their sight become not safe to cross road. He suggested having a traffic light so that the residents can cross safely.
Respondent 7: A Dutiful Father
I went back to the opposite site of night market. I saw a group of people sitting under the tree beside the bus station. I approach them since they were not rushing to go anywhere. I interview one of the man, Moorthy a/l Kalikppan, 45 years old. Since 17years old he had been working as a pottery maker at Kilang Pembuat Pasu, 1km from the research site. His boss is Chinese, very kind because give him a place to stay at the factory. This is why he works faithfully with his employer I thought. From the first sight, he was an aggressive man. I was conscious when taking with him. I notice that he was a friendly. He cares for his family.
Once a week go to night market to buy food for his family and meet with his friends (work mate). He a father of four children, the eldest 15years old like to eat “apam balik”-folded pancake filled with crushed peanut and sugar. His wife is pregnant currently (5 months). The baby will be their fifth child. His wife likes to eat sweet corn. Every time he went to the night market he will buy these two types of food. Sometime his wife will order him to buy some vegetable; beans, spinach, bendy, tomato.
He mentioned that the night market is very convenient place for the near-by resident to buy food, and a place to hang-out. He also talked about the “parking culture” of the local people who just park car anywhere in anyway. He said that the setting of the night market also narrow and not enough place for the customer to move around the night market. He suggested that the night market to be relocated to the road behind the shop-lots.
The existence of night markets is flavor by the local residents. As the main supporter of the night market, the surrounding community was to determine the sustainability of the night market operation. Therefore, the officials need to get them involves in making decisions and understand their aspirations when planning the night market structure and setting. The officials should inform the near-by residents about the night market development and from the information that the residents’ given, they should be allowed to make the recommendation that they believe to be the most appropriate for their community.
In-terms of the facility, there should be sufficient parking space for the night market visitor to park their car so that doesn’t block the road. For the traffic control, the officials should assign person in-charge for controlling the traffic flow so that congestion will minimal. The officials also need to survey the appropriate location for the easy accessible of the surrounding community to the night market. The night market were close to the community that its main customer were the local residents, therefore a survey should be done to understand and to get an overview of the surrounding community’s expectation of the night market.
The night markets also have somehow blend-in to be part of the local culture and uniqueness. Night markets can be found in every regions and almost every town in Malaysia. Therefore, it should be recognize and slot-in as one of the tourist visit destination.
This study has made an attempt to identify surrounding community perception towards the existing night market in their area. The area of study covers three (3) respondents in Section 27, Shah Alam and four (4) respondents in Ijok, Kuala Selangor. The study on both demonstrates similar views among the respondents that they like to have the night market. However in Ijok, the respondents highlight about the traffic congestion and parking problems arising from the existence of the night market. The finding showed that respondents flavor the night market as it provide a convenient place for buying especially for the ready-to-eat food, offering lower price than the shops, place for leisure and to meet with friends. The study also showed that there was no significant pollution due to the existence of the night market. In a whole, the respondents had a positive perception and impact on the night market of their area.
LIMITATION AND FUTURE RESEARCH
This study has provided a first step in understanding how residents of a surrounding community perceived the existence of the night market. Due to the small sample size of this research, a larger sample size would yield more generalizable result. Further research about making the night market as a tourist visit destination should be done.
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