Renowned Singapore food guru KF Seetoh has shared a gut-wrenching tale about how the Singapore government is slowly destroying the nations’s hawker food culture.
Mr Seetoh shared a response sent to him by young “hawkerpreneur” fishball noodle seller Douglas Ng, who condemned the current hawker stall bidding system and accused Dr Vivian Balakrishnan of “sabo-ing” him:
“Disappointed..really disappointed. Doubt i am going to get that coveted new hawker cte stall i had been eyeing at Bkt Panjang. Many would ask..why? Yesterday morning i called NTUC Foodfare (the ppl now running it) and the person in charge of the new hawker cte spoke to me. I ask if i was listed for the food tasting (a criteria for all, like me, who bid and you have to be shortlisted before you are awarded), and he told me the whole exercise was already over..WHAT!? I was confused and i asked why i was not chosen for the food tasting or even informed abt it.. He said my “points” are not high enough. He said its based 40% on price bids and 60% on others like food, selling price etc). So it;s common sense they cannot judge me cos they did not even try my food. I was asked, as suggested by Min Vivian, to bid sensibly and not too high for this out of town food cte. What really is thier criteria. How is this system fair?
I questioned him on this and he said based on the papers submitted, and he replied some said they have 5 and even 10 years experience.. hence, they score more points. WHAT SERIOUSLY?? Does it mean it i wrote i have 20 years experience i am more qualified and get more points? Is there any integrity behind this? How is this encouraging for young hawker entreprenueurs like me into this fading trade and culture. More years in the trade does not mean better.
If they regard the rental bids as key factor, then i will never get it because, as many know, Minister Vivian told me not to bid high…there you go. I kena sabo.”
Mr Seetoh said that its good that the government is building new hawker centres, but it appears to be “ageist and clueless just what need be achieved and nurtured with the creation of these new hawker centres.”
Read more about Douglas Ng here: Gen Y Hawker: How to Make A Living When Ingredients So Expensive but Prices Must Stay Cheap!
And here’s Dr Vivian’s response to the kiddo: Vivian Balakrishnan Replies Gen Y Hawker: We Have Already Reduced Rental Costs!