3rd generation hawker, Li Ruifang, has hit out at social enterprises demanding that hawkers sell cheap meals to the less fortunate and has asked why this is not the Government’s responsibility.
Li, who quit her office job to become a hawker, runs the famous 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles stall along with her parents at Tekka Market. Their food is so famous that late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain personally visited the stall during his trip here.
Revealing that she works 15-hour days to feed her family and pay her four employees and herself, Li lashed out at those complaining that her $4 noodles are expensive.
Noting that while she does help out the underprivileged when she can, Li asserted that she is “not here to do charity,” as she lamented the rising food, water, electricity and conservancy charges that hawkers are forced to grapple with.
She further questioned: “And to the social enterprise who want us hawkers to sell cheap, why should we think of the less fortunate? Isn’t it the government who are supposed to help them?”
Social enterprises who are now running hawker centres, taking over from the Government’s National Environment Agency (NEA), have drawn harsh outrage after it was revealed in the last few weeks that they impose hefty charges and cost increases on hawkers while demanding that hawkers keep their prices low.
Read Li’s post in full here:
“You know what irks me?? People who smokes, drinks, willing to splurge on cars, holidays and complain that my $4 prawn noodles is expensive.
“C’mon, we have to wake up early to prepare this bowl of prawn noodles with prawns and pork ONLY
“And to the social enterprise who want us hawkers to sell cheap, why should we think of the less fortunate? Isn’t it the government who are supposed to help them?
“I have a family to feed. I have to pay 5 employees ( including myself) I’m not here to do charity.
“Don’t get me wrong, I still collect $3 from those cleaners. I still give out free noodles for a man who’s on wheelchair and ask for free food. But it’s not feasible for us to sell cheap to help these people right? How about us?
“Food cost are rising. Water/electrical bills are rising. Conservancy charges has increased from $150 to $210 over this 4 years that I’m at Tekka.
“So my point is, please appreciate hawkers more. Please don’t take advantages of us. Take what you can finish and prevent wastage.”