Food vendors fearful amid BMA move to sweep them away

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Food vendors fearful amid BMA move to sweep them away

THOUSANDS of food vendors are fearful about their future after officials from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) declared their intention to clear them off streets for the sake of cleanliness.

For three decades everyone from police and builders, to street cleaners and partying rich kids have gorged on noodles at Uncle Pan’s street-side stall in Bangkok’s chic-est neighbourhood.

But now the 67-year-old food vendor is no longer welcome at his pavement spot, amid a purge of food stalls by the city governor, who says they clutter up the capital’s curbs. With dishes that average Bt35-55 a plate, most of the city’s kerbside cooks don’t make a fortune selling their fare, which ranges from grilled seafood skewers to somtam.

But they have won global acclaim as some of the finest fast food chefs in the world, fuelling a booming city besotted by eating.

Like his peers, Pan Chaiyasit works behind a small pushcart from where he dishes out yellow egg noodles, topped with pork and wanton dumplings, to customers who sit together on plastic chairs spread across the pavement.

The family-run stall is a fixture of a neighbourhood that has exploded with development over the past few decades. But with the deadline to clear off the street expiring this week, Pan must either uproot his restaurant to a new locale or downsize so it doesn’t spill onto the sidewalk.

“I’ve been selling here since there was nothing,” the genial, apron-wearing uncle told AFP, explaining that the Thong Lor area was a tree-studded backwater when he first set up.

Today, his customers sit ringside to a central artery of Bangkok’s ritziest neighbourhood, lined with tower blocks, upscale restaurants and nightclubs. That makes for a varied clientele that pulls from all layers of the social fabric.

“Office workers, police, soldiers… even if they drive a Mercedes-Benz, they have the same right to eat here,” Pan said, wiping away a bead of sweat as waiters buzzed around him to serve an after-work crush.

Good business, which sees Pan rake in around Bt30,000 a month, rests on these close ties to the neighbourhood.

“We all know each other in this street. Everyone, factory workers, company staff, they know me and we are friends… if we move, we won’t have these relationships.”

Yet city officials insist the footpaths must be “returned to the public” and have laid out a plan to bar tens of thousands of street stalls from main roads, instead squeezing them into side-streets or hawkers’ centres.

Wanlop Suwandee, the Bangkok governor’s chief adviser, said local residents wanted to reclaim their pavements, so the BMA had to undertake a tough task to do just that.

“After the successful mission [to reclaim] several areas such as Siam Square and Pratunam, the BMA will manage the area in Bang Lamphu, as the next target,” Wanlop said.

“For areas that have already been managed, there will be strict law enforcement to prevent illegal vendors from returning to those areas. And if anyone finds illegal vendors, they can contact BMA officers to deal with |immediately.”

He said this operation stemmed from many complaints sent to the BMA from local people, who were inconvenienced by being unable to walk on pavements occupied by street vendors. So, the city’s administrators had to take action and get street vendors to move into markets, where space was provided for them.

“City Hall used to allow these street vendors to legally sell [food] on the street in the specific areas, but since the city is growing, these areas where street vendors were allowed have to be revoked – to return the space because of the increased urban population,” he said.

However, workers such as Pan, whose lives look set to be greatly affected, are not sure what the future holds – other than more bowls of soup.

“Even though we sometimes face troubles we have to keep selling. We have to fight to survive,” he said.

Source: The Nation

  • well done BMA. let’s get these salmonella breeding grounds cleared from our streets, that’ll give more space for the street freelancers to provide their valuable public service

  • Ken

    The underlying problem is that uneducated Thai workers are exploited with low wages and long hours if they go to work official jobs in factories and other businesses. Therefore, unregistered businesses such as street food stalls are a popular option for many Thais. No easy solution to this issue, wipe one of these businesses out and another will appear in no time, the new business owner having greased the appropriate palms.

    • Ken Anderson

      Also the factory / shop workers etc that are only earning a few hundred baht per day are hardly able to afford 200bt or so for a snack at lunch time. This cheap street food is in big demand.

  • Tony Akhurst

    The BMA has got its head up its a@@e and want to stop all the food vendors that have been there for god knows how long (they was given an award for serving the best street food in Bangkok and now you want to end it all just leave them alone.)

  • Ken Anderson

    Street food around Bangkok is great and in most cases the best on offer in the city. Move all these people on and all that will be left is to eat crap in overpriced restaurants that is served up cold by sullen, ignorant and lazy staff.
    Yet another move that will do wonders to promote tourism.
    TAT Welcome all to the Land Of Sullen waitresses.

    • soidog

      I am sure that they wait until their soap has finished before they get cooking…then after 40 minutes wait the food arrives cold or it’s the wrong order,funny ..when my mate ordered egg,ham and chips.. after ten minutes an egg arrived….

      • kim

        is that the Dog was outside flipper house…. 1989?,,,,?

        • Gumble.

          Here we go jimmy with the fat slob rab c nesbitt imperonator , just like all the other deadbeat poms on here

          • kim

            Gumble….jump DO us all a Favour..,….27th floor will be a RECORD…….1314

  • amazingthailand

    Will BMA give this guy a compensation. Of course not. From what will he live, will the bright junta give him a pension. Of course not. They let him go on for 3 decades and then one illuminated decides its enough. Thats named planification on thai sausage.

    • soidog

      Denying the public right of way and subsuming it for private business use ,not rent,no rates..he should count his blessings after 30 years.he is no different from the government and army big wigs that impinge upon abutting national parkland.

  • Jack La Motta

    Another element of the Thai experience dying out, all the reasons why people want to visit Thailand are being eradicated in the name of progress, what about culture, tradition and History? soon all that will be left will be stains on the pavement and memories!

    • amazingthailand

      Jacky they dont know culture they only familiar with agriculture. Did any of the natives had ones a renomate literature price, did they had anytime an added value in science, economics, ethics name it. I’m sorry but its a banana republic ruled by a mafia in uniform or not doesnt matter. But I have to make one exception they’re number one in medicine: breast transplantations, rebuilding noses farang model, sew up cut penis, building transgenders

      • Jack La Motta

        Aqua Culture, growing Shrimps

        • amazingthailand

          mossels from brussels

  • Heywood Jablowmie

    Does anyone actually believe tremendous numbers of people are calling to complain that they can’t walk around a food cart? Anyone?

    • Jack La Motta

      Its the Grandmaster´s 5 year plan to turn Thailand into North Korea!

      • kim

        Dr Mota is this Big Deal?,,, soi 7 Egg FRIED Rice,,,,,xxx

        • Gumble.

          I stand corrected you obviously couldn’t wait till mid-day to start on your cheap scotch, slurring your speech already you thick as dogsh*t jock

          • kim

            IN THE year of our LORD…….1314…..X
            Gumble……..Jump do us all a Favour…….I know u want to….
            make it number 27 floor……that will be a record……….x

        • Jack La Motta

          haggis with neeps & tatties or Faggotts with gravy hahaha xxxxxxx

    • have you ever been to bangkok. take the lower suk. road for example. the only way to walk around the carts in many cases is to walk in the road itself, which is suicidal.

      • soidog

        Yes and the 18inch pavements with an electricity pylon stuck on it,then the foot deep kerb into the road.

        • and both sides of those 18 in. pavements have street stalls that protrude towards each other leaving a very few inches to squeeze yourself between. get behind a fat farang bird and it’s like being between a rock and a hard place

  • Heywood Jablowmie

    Have I ever been to BKK? Wow, what a troll! I guess that comment is based in the fact that you make baseless comments and just assume everyone must be doing it. If I want sanitized experience I would go to Disneyworld, not BKK. You’re free to leave. Don’t ruin the essence of this open city! Oh wait, it’s half done already! Too bad, so sad…

    • Gumble.

      Well have you ever been to BKK, ya fat asz yank? Probably never been out your alabama trailer park since the last tornado bounced you on your fat asz

      • Heywood Jablowmie

        Well of course you’re one hundred percent correct! I can’t see BKK from my sorry azzed Alabama trailer park, but I can dream of a rat infested garbage strewn five AM katoey soirée, can’t I? Yes, you’re so right. I’ve never been any further from my trailer than the Waffle House down by the interstate!

  • soidog

    We see this the World over .people see the area in which they buy a house then complain about the area after. My house backs onto a school..my new neighbours sold up because it got noisy at playtime….

    • Gumble.

      how convenient just happens to back into a kiddies school does . ya sick as sh*t pedo pom

      • kim

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        xxxxxxxxxxzxxxxxxxxxxxxxcvfcvffxcvf……

        • Gumble.

          you by the looks of things ya fat slob pom

          • kim

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          • Gumble.

            Get used to me as you have no choice in matter ya bucket brain pom

          • kim

            Hope U GET t boned by Crazy thai on Scooter……

          • Gumble.

            Your ranting again take your blood pressure medication and quickly too

          • kim

            Go Jump of your LB Friends Balcony………….27 …is good
            WHY U STILL HERE?……….

          • Gumble.

            So you didn’t take your medication by the looks of it

          • kim

            u all come and GO …..ur the latest LB TO CAUSE Havoch on here
            JUMP …..I know u wanrt to……xxx…..1314

      • kim

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        • Gumble.

          So you don’t deny it then pedo boy

          • kim

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          • Gumble.

            well it’s clear i have exposed you

          • kim

            Exposed What?…………aussi….Convict…………xxx

          • Gumble.

            why are you so concerned about what i have exposed as , well pedo

  • kim

    egg fried rice ….. soi 7….xxx

    • Gumble.

      See you jimmy wtf are you talking about rab? It’s nearly mid-day sn’t it time you made your way out onto your view talay balcony and started necking your daily 1 litre allowance of cheap 7/11 whiskey?

      • kim

        to Late already been er………in the year of our LORD 1314……Gumble put that in ur Pipe and Smoke it……Happy Days
        HOPE U JUMP OF A BALCONY SOON ……..DO US ALL A FAVOUR……XXX

  • kim

    Gumble…….I Know ur a LadyBoy………do us all a favour……AND JUMP……
    I see u on cheap Charlie street every night……….Nice Frock last Night………..1314……x

  • kim

    No Sign of Gumble Today………..maybeee LadyBoy has Tossed him of a Condo……1314

    • kim

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  • kim

    This was a Nice Site Before u GUMBLE…..started posting……..GO ON JUMP………1314

  • kim

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    hope ur Deported to Convict Land…too much last nite…….xxx…..1314

  • kim

    Let Me Tell u that I Love u..,……CALEDONIA……1314
    O FLOWER OF Scotland………wee are your Sons….AND WILL AGAIN BEE FREEE……..1314

  • kim

    Come on Gumble…. u not up Yet?……..Hopefully…….hees Gone… like the Rest of them
    FLY BY NIGHT……….THIS SITE WAS BUILT ON … Soi dog…pattaya bob… dr moto…K EN A
    COME ON Gumble……………………….AUSSI…….TWAT….1314….XXX

  • kim

    NO RESPONCE FROM GUMBLE…..HOPEFULLY JUMPED…..XXX…..1314

  • kim

    Flower of Scotland…..when will we see your Likes AGAIN……………….but we can STILL RISE
    AGAIN ………..xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx………………x………………1314

  • kim

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    Lady Drinks…………….No

  • kim

    Proplem……………………………..

  • kim

    Never been so Drunk ……………..in Years…………..pattaya……….1985…………..GLORY DAYS

  • kim

    I love u I want your Baby……………Nothing Changes……………1985………….till now….x

  • kim

    Kim is Drunk tonite……Happy Days……1314

  • kim

    No Responc FROM gumble….Hopefully hees on ANOTHER BOAT TO Convict land…x1314

  • kim

    Hope fully shut up GUMBLE………….Come on Williams… in Russia……x…..1314

  • kim

    Williams

  • kim

    Williams…Team…..Racing….1314