At one point I mentioned to Noi that a good eighty percent of those around us were male, and this alone made the experience rather different than that of the Geylang crowds in Ramadhan. We guessed that the majority of the guys were 'foreign workers', as they are designated, out for bargains and companionship. What I didn't say was that a similarly constituted crowd in the UK would feel threatening. This one felt busy, a little giddy, but fundamentally welcoming.
It was fascinating to look at the little groups hunkered down on empty patches of ground wherever they could find them. Plastic bags of the bits and pieces they'd picked up to mark their territory, plastic cups to drink out of, a bottle or two shared between them Sometimes alcohol, but not necessarily so. Making the best of (not many) things. No one is going to go looking for role models in these places - which is a pity as I reckon you'd probably find more than a few.