elb's hovel of thoughts

Friday, August 19, 2005

Petaling Street & Counterfeit Goods

I went to Petaling Street (PS) aka Chinatown a few days ago for the first time in years. Actually, I can't even remember visiting that place, so let's just assume that its the first time I've gone. We parked at Central Market. To get to PS from CM, one has to cross the mainroad and walk down the block or so to the street.

So we waited patiently by the side of the road until the cars stopped and the green man came on. As we were walking halfway, a fucking motorcycle zoomed past barely 3 metres in front of us. FUCKER!!!!! We were caught aback but quickly recovered and didn't hesitate to lift our hands in the air and give the middle finger salute. I hope that asshole saw it. If we had known he was coming we'd have run a bit and pushed him off his bike as he passed. Fuck you Malaysians who cut the red light without making sure nobody is crossing. May your vehicles crumple and crash and burn and your insurance be declared void.

Bah. Angst aside, we quickly reached PS. Holy cow, I didn't know it was covered! Yes people, I have not been to PS for that long. No pictures available. Dodgy area, see. But its not like most of you (Malaysians) haven't been there, unlike me.

For the uninitiated, the layout is roughly like a cross. The 'head' (or shorter part) of the cross is filled with mostly DVD peddlars and some fruit sellers. The 'arms' of the cross are filled with food stalls and fruits. The 'rear' of the cross is where the action takes place - where bootleg and counterfeit haute couture stuff is sold openly, with tourists haggling over RM100 fake Prada, Dior, Fendi etc etc stuff (please cue eyeroll), plenty of sports shoes, fake watches, and cheap perfume that lasts no longer than your breath mint.

It was interesting observing the tourists as they walked around, examining the goods, talking in their own languages and accents as the peddlars called out increasingly decreasing prices to lure them back as they walked away, disinterested (or perhaps feigning it). I mean hello, RM50 for a bloody Gucci bag is dirt cheap okay, counterfeit or not.

Speaking of counterfeit goods, it reminds me of a certain S&TC episode where Samantha lost her counterfeit purse at Hugh Hefner's (of Playboy fame) party. She accused another woman of stealing it. When asked for proof that it was hers, she said 'Just open it and you'll see a Made in China tag inside.' Much to her embarassment, the purse the other woman had with her was the real deal. Hehhehehheh.

As expected, almost all the goods were substandard. The leather on the Gucci bags were so obviously cheap (you'd be so fucked if you brought in one of those to an original store and they saw it, or branded a cheapskate wannabe by people who know how to tell the difference). The Prada bag clearly had stitching problems. Hello, if you want to counterfeit the goods, at least do it decently lah.

Once I saw a bag with the classic Burberry tartan motif carried around by a young lady, with a Winnie the Pooh stitched on in one corner. I felt like going up to her and laughing, but never mind. She probably doesn't know a Burberry when she sees one.

Anyway, we couldn't help but notice that the stalls by the roadside almost completely pushed the shops by the side of the road out of the picture. And that half the stalls were being attended to by Malays and Indians. In Chinatown? I mused about this over a dinner of beef noodles, when the idea that the stalls were actually owned by Chinese but other people were hired to tend to the shops. Which makes sense.

I left with a certain sense of disillusionment. I certainly did not expect so much counterfeit stuff, and am even more aware now that easily 90% of the apparent 'wealth' flaunted by most Malaysians in the form of their Dior and LV bags and what not most places I go is mearly bullshit. Not that I wasn't aware of it before, but I'm even more aware of it now.

p.s. To be fair, not all the goods peddled at PS are fake. But too many are.


  • The Nike trainers they sell are very convincing though. I was actually rather tempted, but then I remembered all those kids in Nike sweatshops and I reminded myself that I have a duty to keep them employed. 

    Posted by Jay

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, August 23, 2005 7:40:00 am  

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