States Times Review / Government trying to get young Singaporeans to be hawkers

Young Singaporean Hawker
States Times Review / Government trying to get young Singaporeans to be hawker

“Young Singaporean hawkers” ; kinda rare term in Singapore. The anti-PAP camp always complain “even our food stalls are by PRCs blah blah blah”. Now that the Govt is trying to keep the hawker culture alive by encouraging more young Singaporean hawkers or try to be hawkers, the anti-PAP camp complain…


“Sustainable training programmes, one-stop information centre among recommendations by Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee”

Stalls where aspiring hawkers can train under seasoned veterans, amenities such as Wi-Fi and playgrounds. Boosting productivity and keeping costs down, while ensuring that there is a variety of food, not just the cookie-cutter options seen everywhere.

This is the vision of the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee, which came up with wide-ranging recommendations to ensure that the future hawker centre is not just somewhere to go for delicious meals, but also a hive of community activity and a place where patrons are clean and considerate.

Chaired by the Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor, the 14-member committee looked into four key areas: sustaining the hawker trade, improving productivity, enhancing hawker centres as social spaces, and promoting graciousness.

To keep the trade vibrant, for instance, it suggested a series of programmes that will help aspiring hawkers to join the profession.

Noting that such programmes would have to be carefully designed, the committee said that they could focus on teaching culinary skills as well as how to tender for and operate a hawker stall.

“This course is not meant to be equivalent to a full-fledged culinary certification programme but one that provides relevant practical and basic skills to enable the aspiring hawker to get started,” noted the committee in its report, which was released on Friday (Feb 3).

“Essentially, this programme could establish a pathway for interested participants to learn about the hawker trade, acquire culinary and business management skills, as well as have some opportunity to experience being a hawker and eventually become one.”

The committee had received feedback from more than 800 stakeholders, including hawkers, members of public, cleaning contractors, and other industry players.

This effort comes as the profession is facing challenges such as higher manpower costs and an ageing workforce which younger people are not keen to join. The average age of hawkers is 59.

Another way to attract aspiring hawkers, said the committee, would be to have the Government set aside “incubation stalls” at hawker centres.

A try-out period of about six to 12 months would be needed for an aspiring hawker to learn the ropes and decide if he wanted to continue in the hawker trade, said the report. Stalls could also be fitted with basic equipment so that those giving it a go need not spend so much..

“We could form a panel of willing supervisors/mentors to provide coaching and guidance to these aspiring hawkers as they establish their businesses,” added the committee.

To improve productivity, the committee also proposed that the Government explore centralised dishwashing, cashless payment and bulk purchasing of common ingredients.

Such measures would not only raise productivity, but also address manpower constraints and cut costs.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, said that his ministry is studying the recommendations.

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