The 3rd generation hawker who runs a branch of the famous Whampoa Prawn Mee has lashed out at those who complain that her noodles, at S$4 a bowl, is expensive.
Li Ruifang, who works 15-hour days running the Whampoa Prawn Mee stall at Tekka Market said that it is not feasible for her to sell her noodles at a cheap price simply to help the poor due to rising prices.
“Don’t get me wrong, I still collect $3 from those cleaners. I still give out free noodles for a man who’s on wheelchair and ask for free food.But it’s not feasible for us to sell cheap to help these people right? How about us? Food cost are rising. Water/electrical bills are rising. Conservancy charges has increased from S$150 to S$210 over this 4 years that I’m at Tekka.”
The university graduate who left her office job to sell prawn mee added in a social media post:
“I have a family to feed. I have to pay 5 employees (including myself). I’m not here to do charity.”
Commenting on social enterprise hawker centres, Li said that it isn’t the job of hawkers to take care of the less fortunate in society:
“To the social enterprise who want us hawkers to sell cheap, why should we think of the less fortunate? Isn’t it the government who are supposed to help them?”
Social Enterprise Hawker Centres have come under harsh scrutiny for high costs and hidden fees while centre operators demand hawkers keep prices low.
The government-launched initiative, which sees profit-seeking enterprises managing these SEHCs, has been labelled as a move that will feed the government’s coffers while destroying Singapore’s hawker culture.