How much does this cost? This practical question of the marketplace can reach into the deeper waters of vulnerability and capitalist corruption, memory and nostalgia, labor and migration, and the possibility of transformation. The Trans:Act folio brings together seven pieces of bilingual writing contextualized around marketplace experiences in Phnom Penh, Dumaguete City, Nam Tượng, Port Dickson, CR Park, a fictional rural Thai flea market, and an electronics shop in Malaysia.
20 Thai Baht = 33 Philippine Pesos = 44 Indian Rupees = x bolt of fabric = y square vuông of rice = 15,000 Vietnamese đồng = 2,600 Cambodian Riel = 2.6 Malaysian Ringgit = 9,100 Indonesian Rupiah = unquantifiable sweat
Sanggup menahan jerit, menukar peluh menjadi ringgit || [we’re] able to swallow shrieks, exchanging sweat to ringgit
Sakit lelah aku tidak lain dan tidak bukan harga hidup senang aku kini || My asthma is the cost of the middle-class life I live now
៦០០០០រៀល! មើលទៅបង! បង្កងធំៗណាស់! || 60,000 KHR. Big ones! Look at them, sister!
một cây vải đổi lấy mười vuông thóc || one bolt of fabric for ten vuông of unhusked rice
Grandfather would have bought the Ilish—not wincing at the 1200 rupees per kilogram
รองเท้านักเรียนคู่นั้นยี่สิบบาทเองหรือ || These school uniform shoes are only twenty baht?
Mamsa! Sitenta’ng kilo! || Jack fish, seventy pesos a kilogram.