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Railway Cuttings – The Hairdressers of Hualamphong

Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station is a veritable mecca for photographers, with its combination of historic architecture, beautiful light that changes by the hour, and colourful crowds of people coming & going.

On my last visit I saw a row of men sitting in chairs getting haircuts behind platform 12, took a few photos, and assumed it was probably a one-off charity thing. But I went back to the station yesterday and saw it was happening again, so I asked one of the hairdressers what was happening.

It turns out that this is a government initiative for trainee hairdressers – every Thursday, Friday and Sunday, they get paid to set up their chairs and give free haircuts to those who need them. And there’s clearly a market for their services as not a single chair was empty. Hualamphong attracts the homeless, the hungry, and poor people coming in from the provinces looking for work, so it’s no wonder free haircuts are popular.

 

 

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“Many poor people come here from the countryside” said one of the students. “They want to look smart before they look for work, so we help them.”

It’s a great idea for the customers, the students…and for we photographers! It’s not often you get the chance to take a photograph of a man getting a haircut in front of an old freight train. So if you want to get some shots of the Hualamphong Hairdressers in action, head to platform 12 between 9am and 5pm, on Thursday, Friday or Sunday. You could even get a free haircut yourself, but beware – they’re still students…and there are no mirrors!

 

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