The “responsibility” now lies with us, patrons, to return our trays after we’re done with our meal.
That is, if we patronise social enterprise hawker centres.
In what looks to be the latest publicity gimmick, SEHCs are trying to force patrons to return their trays to tray collection points using social pressure.
This, despite making hawkers pay close to a thousand dollars every month for tray collection and dish-washing fees.
In October this year, it was reported that a Koufu-run SEHC outsourced the contract for cleaning services to a company run his brother for S$64,000 a month.
The National Environment Agency ruled that there was no conflict of interest.
Hawker centre patrons have naturally been up in arms over the high-handedness of the latest “It Is Your Responsibility to Return Your Tray” stunt pulled by SEHCs.
The anger stems from having patrons perform cleaning labour while SEHC-operators continue to charge hawkers high cleaning fees.
Said one makan kaki, Long Ting Guang:
“I clean, hawkers pay, management profits. Like that is called fair? Last time don’t even need to queue up, now everywhere self-service. Give us more work, less ingredients, and still price keep on increasing. This is nonsense. All the extra money goes into whose pocket?”
Another makan kaki, Jimmy Soh, said that he is even more adamant not to return his tray now:
“If you ask nicely, still okay. Now this is machiam NTUC is forcing you to return your tray. Why? Just because talking nicely doesn’t work? Then might as well fine us if we don’t return the tray. I’m, not surprised if the government is already thinking of doing that.”
Jenny Sim wonders why SEHCs are stopping at trays only:
“Next time they can charge more for the cleaning fees but hire less cleaners. Then like that why not just do what KFC does (with straws) and make people use their own fork and spoon if they need cutlery? Even better for these operators.”