Brunei Darussalam

QUICKIE IN LITTLE INDIA

With such a quirky title, you might be forgiven if you think this post is anything but PG13. I am in fact referring to traditional barber shops which not only operates 7 days a week in the Seria town, they stay open till late in the night when every other upscale hair salons have long closed for the day.  My son, Jamie, has surprisingly taken a liking to this barber shop and insist on going there even though he pretty much grew up with the hair dresser at an award-winning Wella partner salon (Toppy salon bagged awards in the Wella Trendvision Awards two years running).

Barbershop Nostalgia – Like father like son. My son gets his haircut here too

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Just a stone’s throw away are not one but four Indian barber shops that when you join them as dots, they form the letter L (hence the association to ‘Little India’). In between them is an Indian tailor and dressmaker along with TV and shoe repair shop not forgetting to mention also Indian restaurants. Unlike the stereotypical “Little India” community we hear so much about, there are no colourful temples, no strong, heady scent of spices and jasmine garlands—just no frills, cheap and quick hair cuts—the way Jamie likes it!

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And what do I do when I drive him there for a quickie hair cut?  I have a Indian massage. This is such a brilliant and wonderful idea I wondered why I hadn’t gone there sooner. Picture a 10-15 minute escape while your stiff neck and aching shoulders get a much needed work. Here, generous amount of the ever popular Axe Brand Medicated Oil (“Minyak Cap Kapak”) is used so you don’t end up feeling oily afterwards. “Axe Oil” as we call it is a concoction of  menthol, eucalyptus, camphor, methyl salicylate, essential oil and whatever else that has made it extremely effective in relieving pain and discomfort from colic, stomach ache or swelling.

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So what’s the damage? B$3 for the hair cut and B$3 for the massage. When was the last time you spent so little and walked out feeling so good? A body massage costs  around B$30 per hour session. Same goes for a body massage and cupping therapy combo—so much pain, just as much gain—but an entirely different cup of tea!

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indian-barbershop-06aAll images © Jan Shim Photography | Use of images without written permission prohibited

12 thoughts on “QUICKIE IN LITTLE INDIA

  1. We do have similar old-fashioned Shanghai barber/sauna shops in HK but likely they are kept closing down. Fewer shops survive now.

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    1. Indeed. The Caucasian had a haircut followed by a massage. Really, for many, a cut and wash combo does it for them but I prefer a squeeze on the tired muscles any day to getting the hair wet.

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  2. Do you think they’d give a woman a scalp massage? 🙂

    No Indian barbers here in Palembang but luckily, all the hair salons offer head, hand AND foot massages. If I remember correctly, hair treatment plus the head and hand massage costs about USD2 or USD3.

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    1. Over here, we have laws that discourage/prohibit male hair dresser from handling a female client and vice-versa but you probably know what I mean (people in other societies may not be educated enough to appreciate the subtle differences between cultures.

      But other than that, yeah, hair salons offer not only hand and foot massages but also nail arts but as you guess, these are usually for the women. Male patrons like me just want to get it done and get the hell out! Those who have to wait for their other half to finish probably just go hang out at one of the many coffee shops.

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  3. Barbers are the best. It takes me all of 20 minutes or less to get my hair cut compared to going to a salon and get the same haircut for triple the price and triple the time.

    Barbers FTW!

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    1. I think I would draw the line between a $3 head-shoulder massage and a $8 full body if you know what I mean. Just yesterday, I returned to the barber shop for a $6 head, shoulder and a back work. He would have done the whole works for $3 but it didn’t seem right.

      I came so close to spending $30 for an Indonesian full body massage where I would normally go even enough though I was in pain, it wasn’t painful enough to warrant that kind of careless spending. On the way home, I took some shots our “Little India” neighbourhood and updated this post with additional pictures.

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  4. I pay $15 for a haircut here in the US, and that’s considered cheap, when I was living in NYC, it was $20 in Chinatown, they have so many talented Chinese hairstylists there.

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