In a Facebook post on Monday (Nov 16), Mr Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra and champion for all things hawker, shared that during a National Heritage Board (NHB) focus group in early 2018, a group of respectable foodies including Violet Oon, Azizah Ali and even Koh Seng Choon of Dignity Kitchen, came to discuss – what next, after the Botanic Gardens, for another Unesco Award.
Mr Seetoh wrote:
I raised my fat finger and uttered “Hawker Culture” (not food, but culture) and the group had a lively discussion on the merits”.
On 27 March 2019, Singapore officially submitted its nomination to inscribe Hawker Culture in Singapore on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
In his post, Mr Seetoh continued: “I can sense we are in the cusps of getting the award and i hear the buzz of agencies like NEA shuffling about to do a follow up event to celebrate the impending award”.
Praising the National Environment Agency (NEA) for championing the 6,000 or so public hawkers, Mr Seetoh added that he hoped they could also “champion the wet market hawkers who are also hawkers and are clients of NEA too”.
However, the Makansutra founder noted that there are over 20,000 more hawkers all over the country that are not under the purview of NEA .
“I ask, if the other agencies like HDB or URA , would be as proud of these “private” hawkers and place them on a pedestal with a campaign of their own. After all, these humble and ordinary folks made our living spaces so much more lively and meaningfully delicious”.
He added that these hawkers form the biggest chunk of our Hawker Culture.
“I hope in the course of receiving the award, we do not marginalise them”, Mr Seetoh wrote.
Lastly, Mr Seetoh asked: “And oh, btw, what does the various Hawker Assn do ah? (sic) Do they have interest in this at all?” /TISG