Popular local makan personality KF Seetoh and de facto champion of hawkers in Singapore, KF Seetoh, has lashed out at the government for measures which he claims are elitist and discriminatory.
Seetoh said that by allowing diners in groups of five at restaurants but restricting group sizes to two at hawker centres serves to “marginalize the poor and benefit the rich”.
The restrictions, he said, depresses the wages of hawkers and tekans low-wage earners who cannot afford to dine at restaurants with their families.
Seetoh added that the government boasts about being able to easily “build many recovery beds like at the FI Pit building”, referring to the government’s building of temporary recovery facilities during the outbreak of Covid-19 in dormitories last year.
Yet, he said, the government apparently doesn’t seem to bother to go to such lengths to set up thorough check-in facilities at hawker centres to allow for bigger groups to dine there.
This is Seetoh’s Facebook post, reproduced in full:
“It smells discriminatory, it reeks of the elitist graduate mother policy back the 80s when under- educated mums were paid $10k to ligate. It’s like a Hood Robin.. marginalize the poor and benefit the rich. You allow 5 family members into restaurants (of same address) and social divide the poorer ones who are vaxxed but cannot eat at kopitiams and hawker centres. In one fell stroke you depress the hawkers and lower waged families who also have need to socialize in bigger family groups at the hawkers. These folks are voters under the same sun. You must take care of them. If not, “Then what for vaccinate?” they ask.
You say it will not apply to hawker centres and kopitiam unless “they have comprehensive vaccination checks”. But don’t you know your erstwhile environment Cabinet colleages are in charge of the hawker centres, and already have one or two tight entry and exit points in every hawker centres. Did you tell that Ministry they are not effective. Please do not make it sound like it’s the voters job and responsibility to do this. They cannot enter hawker centres if they are not scanned and traced in. Smells like you did no go to hawker centres since Covid came a visiting. I think hawker centres and kopitiam should have more airtime in your regular Cabinet meetings.
Then, you also mention how you can easily build many recovery beds like at the FI Pit building and perhaps more places. You mentioned “but we don’t have the medical manpower”. Allo, it’s not like Manpower laws are mandated by the public. You have a huge, well paid and educated civil service that could’ve predicted the manpower patterns in the hospitals. More medical staff should have been arranged to come replace the quitters. You did so easily with the construction sector, you can do so with this one- it’s about life and death. So, do direct that statement to the Manpower scholars in private please, and solve it.
I still don’t get how you want to “help the hawkers”. You close many hawkers centres for repairs for up to 3-4 months in the midst of this pandemic, ignoring the obvious- what do hawkers do now that whatever little business they have is taken away. Your rental waivers are good newspaper page leads- waive this month and raise it when they renew.
Then, you gave the public 1.3mln $100 vouchers they can use the hawkers. Bravo. i say, then the fine print says “only at 900 participating hawkers”. what about the other 20,000 plus hawkers. How special must one hawker be to benefit from the national coffers in this situation.
And finally, for now, in the midst of the 2 people only rule at the hawkers.. you gleefully accepted a $8k+ rental bid from a hawker at East Coast Lagoon hawker centre. This one is rather insulting to your claims of being a world class government out to help the stuggling industry in such dire times.”