Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Build modern cafeterias, not hawker centres, in Singapore



By 2027, Singapore will have 20 new hawker centres. However, society should drop its dated image of hawker centres to raise the profile of the hawker workforce. (“Ten more hawker centres to be built in next 12 years”; March 12)

If society continues to hold hawkers in low regard, we will fail to embrace them in our supposedly inclusive society.

It is time we appreciate their culinary skills, raise their status and transform their working environment to remove the stigma attached.

To maintain this social institution, the Government must consider the hawker industry as an essential social service, part and parcel of our unique social fabric, and should allocate sufficient resources to build a strong, 21st-century Singaporean food culture.

A hard-working labour force in a vibrant metropolitan society deserves decent, inexpensive and healthy meals in air-conditioned, brightly lit and clean surroundings. In line with other infrastructure development, the nation should realise such facilities to improve our lifestyle.

Hence, all hawker centres should be consolidated under the sole control of the National Environment Agency (NEA), which could then redevelop them into cafeterias befitting the modern Singaporean lifestyle. These need not be expensive, with simple furnishings and high ceilings.

[So out of the blue, "high ceilings". No explanation. No details. How high is high. Have you looked at hawker centre ceilings? High enough? Higher? Why?]

In the process, the NEA should also implement proactive measures to charge stall rentals at highly subsidised rates, so as to nurture a new generation of hawkers who cook healthy, affordable food.

[How does charging subsidised rental help hawkers cook healthy food? Affordable... arguable, but I can see the link. Healthy? How does that work?] 

High hygiene standards could be fostered by offering adequate washbasins and toilets, as well as enhanced public education.

Society must progress by attracting our young to work in respectable cafeterias and earn decent wages to support their families.

[Yes. It is terrible how we expect our young to work in UNRESPECTABLE cafeterias, today.]

Air-conditioned cafeterias can and should be a Singaporean lifestyle for the next 50 years. As Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

[This letter begins with a lot of assumptions: 
Society should drop it's dated image...... hold hawkers in low regard... remove the stigma attached
And takes other assertions as proven.
... the Government must consider the hawker industry as an essential social service... deserves decent, inexpensive and healthy meals in air-conditioned, brightly lit and clean surroundings. 
I don't exactly disagree, but 1) have you shown that hawkers are held in low regard? 2) what stigma? 3) Why is it an essential social service? Social service for whom? The Hawker? The Customer? 4) "Deserve" is highly subjective. I think I deserve a million dollar salary. So I can hire a whole team of hawkers at decent wages so they can cook for me and my friends. 

Then end with a quote from a classic to cement your literary credentials After all, if you can't think clearly, quote someone who can.

Cutting through the redundant and the extraneous (are those the same thing? Damn, I'm writing like him!), and focusing on his suggestion which basically is "let's build modern air-conditioned cafeterias instead of hot and humid hawker centres, and keep it affordable. Let the hawkers earn a decent income, but we deserve decent inexpensive hawker food."

The inherent contradictions in the suggestion points to a mind unhinged from reality... Or just Singaporean - "Ai Chee, Ai Pee, Ai Tuo Liap Nee".]

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