Little Penang Street Market Turns Eight
In Upper Penang Road, up until 2006, this street was just another
thriving nightlife district filled with night clubs and bars. Every last Sunday
of the month, however, Little Penang Street Market (LPSM) takes on the street
in the day and proving that Upper Penang Road is more than just a place for
What has changed in LPSM over the eight
Brought together by a small group of volunteers, LPSM is a non-profit making
community venture organised by Penang Arts Council. Celebrating their eighth
anniversary last July, one of its committee Lyndy Ong shares the ups and downs
of this independent street market.
The relevance of showcasing heritage has not changed, neither has the need to
promote creativity by giving opportunity to artisans, handcrafters, performers
and visual artists, neither has the benefit of using public spaces creatively.
LPSM can claim to have been at the forefront of all this, and now at last we
see others realising the worth and need for such things.
The challenge for the future has changed. We no longer have to show the relevance
of the objectives of LPSM. What we now need to do is to ensure the programming
at LPSM makes it continually relevant and a positive force for Penang’s
What are some of LPSM's toughest
The toughest challenge would be achieving LPSM’s amazing objectives despite the
very limited financial and human resources. Little Penang is into
nurturing, promotion and advancing Penang’s creativity and cultural diversity
through craftsmanship to performing arts; organizing and feeding in to events
for the development of Penang’s cultural enterprise, performances and
creativity; helping to share awareness and knowledge of Penang’s living and
intangible heritage as well as cultural diversity. These are big ambitions and
we have gone a long way to meeting them.
Has learning what sells and what
doesn't, influenced how LPSM operates?
The stalls are just one part of LPSM and it is the vendors who will find out
what sells and what doesn’t. They then either adjust their product design or
presentation, or simply stop coming. Over the eight years, we have showcased
the products of some 400 different stallholders. Many have been coming year
after year. Some have dropped out. Every market we will have some new people.
This is what keeps it lively and, together with the performances, art and other
initiatives, has given LPSM its unique atmosphere and ambience.
How do you achieve all that with limited financial and
The small committee has managed through dedication, hard work, a clarity of
focus and support from our stakeholders, which include stall holders,
performers, a2 Gallery, supporters and sponsors. The latter have included MPPP, the state government and
the Garage. A few years ago, we also had a very successful fund raising dinner
and owe a vote of thanks to all who contributed to that.
What's your favourite stall in LPSM so
We love all the stalls that showcase the unique products of the person running
the stall. Other markets and 'handmade' events have been able to recruit
stallholders for their event from LPSM. We love this – it shows both the
success of the stallholder and the success of LPSM.
What's the most unique item ever sold in
Little Penang Street Market is held every last Sunday of the month at Upper Penang Road. The street
market opens from 10.00am - 5.00pm. For more info, give them a call at 017-429
0806 and check out their website.
LPSM has had a great product mix over the years. This has included traditional
crafts, clothing, bags, jewellery, home items, antiques and collectibles, paper
products, glass design, ethnic products, aromatherapy products and of course,
The emphasis is on creativity and heritage as well as showcasing talents. We
have had artisans demonstrating batik making, or weaving, and selling products
or allowing visitors to make and keep products. Of course, we also reserve some
stalls for local organisations to showcase and sell their products: we are very
happy to see, for example, Asia Community Service and Women’s Welfare Council
showcase and sell their members' great work.
If you have RM25 in your pocket, what
would you buy at LPSM?
Get a LPSM t-shirt! This will show the world you have experienced what many
have hailed as one of the great street markets which has been covered by such
renowned international media as the New York Times.
In this month's LPSM, it's all about
Merdeka celebration. Anything exciting we can expect from LPSM?
As usual LPSM will be mixing stalls, food, interactive activities, live
performances and art gallery in our unique and fabulous way. Visitors can revel
in the celebrations of Merdeka via t-shirt printing, Merdeka Rainbow Looms,
pottery, painting, Merdeka quiz, Merdeka message wall postings, joget, and
great performances. Be there or be square!