According to Wikipedia:
…A wet market is generally a fresh food market commonly found in Asian countries. Some of the common names include “Cultural Markets”, “traditional markets”, or pronounced it as “Gaai Si” in Cantonese. The term “wet market” comes from the extensive use of water in the markets. The water is used to wash the floors, keep the fruits and vegetables fresh, and keep fish and shellfish alive. The markets traditionally were places that sell live animals out in the open. This includes poultry, fish, reptiles, cow and pig…
I used to follow my mom to wet market when I was small. I woke up early in the morning and walked to the wet market with my mom. As older people like to treat the “walk” to the wet market as some kind of exercise. I usually heard people said, “Wa…auntie, you do morning walk ah!” In the old day, my dad never sent my mom to the wet market with his car. My dad usually was busy with his business and travel around in the region. I usually had breakfast with my mom in the wet market. We walked in the wet market and bought fresh meat and vegetable after the breakfast. I remembered most of the meat and vegetable seller during that time was the local Malaysian Chinese or Malay. I never saw any “foreign worker” as the seller during the old time. Today, I see many meat and vegetable seller replaced by “foreign worker” from other country. They are not the owner, but they are employed by the owner to help them look after their meat and vegetable stall.
I realize many young generations don’t visit the traditional wet market anymore. The boom of the twining program or transfer program between Malaysia College and Western University in the 90s had changed the destiny of wet market. The returning “student” now is doing grocery in hypermarket. They don’t have the time to wake up early and walk to the wet market. The young generations buy the so-called fresh meat and vegetable mostly during weekend from the hypermarket. Freshness is no longer needed, but convenience is the priority.
Only the old local senior citizen and “foreign worker” visit the wet market today. I observe the old people walk alone to the wet market. I think their grandchildren are taking care by some daycare center. Their son or daughter is jamming in the traffic and checking their Facebook while driving to work. I observe many “foreign worker” wives walk to the wet market with their children now. I think the senior Malaysia citizen and “foreign worker” wives are more aware of the important of freshness of meat and vegetable. While the young generation resulted from the booming twining program see “convenience” is more important than the freshness. In fact, me too!
Indeed, the society has changed, but the wet market has never changed. Hypermarket has become heavily industrialized, often using chemicals and other preservatives to mass produce and package for longer shelf life. However, the wet market products are still generally stored for short periods of time and are always expected to be fresh. The operation in the wet market has never changed, but only the People In The Wet Market have changed. I saw the similar changed in Pudu Wet Market KL too. The owner no longer runs the stall. The local senior citizen “walk” alone to the wet market, and spend time with other senior citizen. And, the “foreign worker” has flooded the wet market.