Pasar Angso Duo* (two geese market)

Sign in front of the traditional market called:
Pasar Angso Duo (Two Geese Market)

In Indonesia it’s common to see markets set up along the sides of roads. Merchants will set up small stalls from which to sell their fruit, vegetables, meats, or other products. Others will simply lay out a tarp at the edge of the road (and on the road) and place their goods to be sold on the tarp. The City of Jambi has several of these traditional markets, with the largest and most prominent being “Pasar Angso Duo.” This market is said to contain as many as 5,000 merchants.

Pasar Angso Duo gets its name from the legend of the two geese, which were said to have landed at the same location where Pasar Angso Duo is now located.

The History of Pasar Angso Duo

About 100 years ago the City of Jambi had a dock along the bank of the Batanghari River, and in conjunction with that dock there was also a market. The market was referred to as “Pasar Tanah Pilih” (Chosen Land Market). That dock is now the location of the Willtop Trade Center, commonly referred to as the WTC Mall.

Wiltop Trade Center Mall (WTC)
Picture taken from the north bank of the Batanghari River.

During the Japanese occupation of WWII the dock was torn down. The community then set up a new market 100-200 yards to the southwest on Gang Siku (Elbow Alley). The market took on the name of “Pasar Meja Batu” (Stone Table Market). It was given this name because there were many stone or concrete tables that were constructed on which to sell produce. It was said that this market wasn’t only a place for selling produce, it was also a hangout location for men to sit and talk while smoking and drinking coffee. It was said to have been a very enjoyable environment. The need for a huge and busy dock at the center of the City of Jambi is now far less important than what it was then, since Jambi now has two bridges over the Batanghari River, one at the east and one on the west end of the city.

At that time, imported items from Singapore were brought by ship to the bank of the Batanghari River and coolies would then transport the products to Pasar Meja Batu. As development began to take place the small narrow road where Pasar Meja Batu was located (Gang Siku) became congested. The alley was also becoming increasingly unsanitary and unpleasant for shoppers. It was very muddy and unsanitary due to the runoff from butchering fish, goats, chickens, as well as the abundance of discarded fruits and vegetables.

Entrance to Pasar Angso Duo
People from up and downstream, as well as from the opposite side of the Batanghari River, will take a boat taxi (ketek) to the market. This is the entry for people arriving by boat.

Due to the increase of sedimentation which caused the Batanghari River to become very shallow at the City of Jambi, the government conducted a dredging  operation in 1970. The sediment that was taken from the river bottom was moved to the edge of the river, which formed land with a much higher elevation. It was on this reclaimed land that the market Pasar Meja Batu moved to. The market was officially opened in 1974 with the new name of Pasar Angso Duo.

As with Pasar Meja Batu, over a period of time additional merchants, specifically those with carts, commonly referred to as “kaki lima” (five feet—3 wheels on the cart, and the 2 feet of the person pushing it), began to congest the road in front of the market. Pasar Angso Duo also started to become increasingly unsanitary. Part of this problem was from the flooding of the Batanghari River during the rainy season. In 2007 the merchants that had their stalls at the back of the market, along the river, were inundated and relocated to the front of the market and set up their stalls on the street (which is designed for motor vehicle use). This is the current situation, where two full lanes of traffic are filled with merchant stalls, and the vehicle traffic that previously used four lanes has been redirected to merely two lanes. During the early morning hours the merchants will set their stalls on the edge of one of the remaining two lanes reserved for vehicles, which results in routine traffic jams.

This is a 4 lane road originally designed for motor vehicles.
Pasar Angso Duo will occupy three+ lanes of traffic during the early morning hours. Later in the day it will recede back and use 2+ lanes.

Due to complaints from Jambi citizens action may be taken in the near future. Currently there are discussions about moving the market to higher ground and building a modern facility 200’ to the west of its current location, still along the Batanghari River but at a higher elevation, and off the road about 100′.

Problems Associated with the Move

Though discussions about moving Pasar Angso Duo have commenced, there are still many hurdles that must be crossed. One of them being the fears current merchants have. Some fear that if a new market is opened their current income will be disrupted and they will lose out on their livelihood.

The road in front of Pasar Angso Duo is at times stop-and-go, even for motorcycle traffic. This is a four lane road.

Another problem with the construction of a new market has to do with many of Jambi’s original inhabitants and their beliefs surrounding the two legendary geese. Some fear that a huge structure will be built on top of the current market’s location. To them this will be a great insult to their cultural heritage. Many of the original inhabitants felt offended when the Wiltop Trade Center was constructed. They saw that building, with its promotion of modernity, as being destructive to their culture. Some have expressed they hope the WTC Mall will be demolished so their cultural norms can be returned and the encroaching worldly ethics won’t be brought to bear upon them and their descendants.

There are also other traditional beliefs surrounding the two legendary geese and the Day of Judgment. Some believe the two geese will rise back up from the ground on the Day of Judgment. Others say those stories are merely myths. Sadly, those beliefs have never been committed to paper and we haven’t been able to find people who can give us detailed information about those beliefs.

A new dock was built for Pasar Angso Duo in preparation for its move. Information about that dock can be obtained with this link.

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We took this picture of Angso Duo (two geese) at a monument in front of the
Jambi Governor’s Offices.

Angso Duo Translated

Jambi Dialect:

Angso = Goose

Duo = the number 2

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Bahasa Indonesia:

Angsa = Goose

Dua = the number 2

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