Sabah Blogging: the Sunday market

The early morning Sunday market in Kota Kinabalu is fun. It’s also heart-rendingly sad at times.

Right in the heart of the city, you can buy just about anything, from live puppies to rainforest solutions to your impotency problem, from wild honey to – alas – shells and corals stolen from the country’s natural heritage (or possibly from the Philippines’ natural heritage), from tortoises (yes, they are tortoises, not turtles, you Americans out there – they have legs, not flippers, damn it!), to clothing and sumptious food.

You can even have your blood pressure checked for a donation (people give as little as US 30c) to a charitable organisation.

Bottles of bee honey – many of the insects used are not at all like the honey bee. Wood, bark, fungi, lichens, roots, leaves – everything seems to have medicinal value – a lot of it aimed at enhancing sexual function (men really do have a problem, don’t they…) Funny thing is this: the buyers all seem to think that because a product is “natural” it’s got to be good for you. Hmm. Have they never heard of hemlock or similar? They happily take untested produce on the say-so of a stranger telling them it’s “traditional medicine”. Yeah, right. They are braver men than me.

Check out those lovely woven dishes and containers.


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