Malaysians furious that Singapore is nominating hawker culture for UNESCO recognition


Malaysians have expressed anger after Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday that the nation is nominating hawker culture to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This, after hawker culture was recognised as a vital part of Singaporean culture and identity during the National Heritage Board’s public engagement campaign that aimed to identify aspects of intangible cultural heritage Singaporeans value.

PM Lee’s announcement that Singapore is nominating hawker culture for UNESCO recognition has not flown well with her neighbours across the causeway.

When Malaysian publication The Star reported Singapore’s plans to nominate hawker culture, hundreds of Malaysians criticised the unoriginality of Singapore food and opined that local hawker centres seem impersonal.

Still others felt that Penang’s hawker centres should be nominated for recognition instead, while some others thought that Singapore’s nomination is another example of the nation’s “kiasuness”:

While scores of Malaysians slammed Singapore’s plans, some others urged their countrymen that they should not be sour about this:

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