The closure of Chinatown Complex, one of the nation’s largest hawker centres, could mean the difference between a hawker continuing his food legacy, or closing down the stall for good, said Makansutra Founder, K.F. Seetoh.
The hawker centre needed to undergo a facelift in order to replace the sewer line main pipes, service the exhaust, jet fan and fresh-air systems, replace wall fans and fire protection systems, as well as upgrade the public toilets.
However, closing down the hawker centre would mean three months of no business or income for all of the hawkers.
In a Facebook post earlier today, Seetoh wrote, “these chinatown hawkers have to close for 3 months for renovations with no alternative spots to conduct business. They are just left hanging on in the lurch and running on empty”.
“It’s like your boss telling you to take a 2 month no pay leave cause there’s office renovations”, he griped.
This is especially so following Singapore’s nomination for inscription into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Singapore’s hawker legacy becomes more crucial than ever.
“I sense some of the older hawkers may lose their rhythm and call it quits after the works. Toa Payoh Lor 7 hawker centre will also close for up to 3 months soon,” wrote Seetoh.
Seetoh’s suggestion for the hawkers to keep their jobs in the interim closure period?
“My first salvo, to those who want it- offer them a temp slot at the many empty hawker stalls around the island, even if it is a one or two month gig.
One other thing they can do is cook from home and work with delivery companies. Many still wanna eat their stuff out of habit or even necessity. It is allowed under home business schemes with NEA”, he said.
TISG has also reached out to the National Environment Agency (NEA) for further comment on how they have been assisting the hawkers.