Singapore—The new round of pandemic restrictions is sure to take a toll on already-beleaguered small business owners. So, Mr KF Seetoh is doing his part to draw attention to hawkers who may be on their last legs.

Mr Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, food consultant, photographer, writer and television host, whose opinion carries significant weight in Singapore, has long been a champion of Singapore’s hawkers.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (May 19), he underlined the seriousness of their plight.

“A lot of hawkers, and i mean plenty plenty, are not online nor on anything except a prayer and hope. They still sit there with all their food nicely laid out and prettily lit, waiting for the inevitable to happen. Permanent closure. The rental rebates aren’t helping as real cost, even to stay afloat, is way more.”

 He reminded the public that “they fed generations of Singaporeans” and “often they went unappreciated,” and appealed to people to purchase food from the hawkers, even if they seem cranky or stubborn sometimes.

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“I ask that you, if you eat out a lot, please patronise these silent sufferers (some are stubborn, like your aging parents) but make no bones, they need help. Ignore their cranky ways and just buy and eat back home or in the workplace. They will appreciate deep down inside.”

In the same vein, the food guru appealed to people who cook at home “cos you can do better than the hawkers.” He urged them to buy ingredients from wet markets instead of supermarkets, which are less safe due to crowding.

“They are hawkers too and need your patronage as well. Very often, they are cheaper and they will tell you what cuts or variety to cook what. And if you come often, you can call ahead and reserve or order special cuts.”

Mr Seetoh said that he will be featuring some of these “hawkers-disunited,” a reference to hawkers who have not joined online groups.

“The hawkers in town are way worse than those ‘downstair’ from your block. Do make a beeline for them too if you are around, or just drive or cycle there to support them.”

He wrote that due to new restrictions, the roads are far less busy, which is “great for riders and cyclists”.

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The food guru had a final appeal, this time on behalf of food delivery riders.

“And please, thank the delivery folks when they come a knocking at your door. It’s free to simply say ‘thank you bro (sis). i really appreciate your work’.”

“If yo’ are too proud to thank them, at least leave a note at the door ‘Thank you my hard working delivery people. I am safe at home today because you took that trip for me. I appreciate you.’ or something like that,” he wrote,

Mr Seetoh’s post has been shared almost 1,000 times as of this writing.


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KF Seetoh questions NTUC on its aid to hawkers