Singapore — Workers’ Party (WP) politician Kenneth Foo has, in a Facebook post published on Tuesday (Aug 18), urged Singaporeans to give more support to local hawkers.
Mr Foo began volunteering with the WP in 2006. Besides being active in grassroots work at Hougang SMC, he also served as Aljunied GRC MP Sylvia Lim’s legislative assistant. Mr Foo presently serves as one of the town councillors for Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
He is also the deputy director of the Singapore Cancer Society.
Mr Foo first stood as a WP candidate in the 2015 General Election. He was a part of the WP team for Nee Soon GRC that received just over 33 per cent of the vote.
In the most recent General Election, Mr Foo was in the WP team for East Coast GRC. This high-stakes contest was closely watched because the People’s Action Party fielded a surprise candidate, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, there instead of in his Tampines GRC stronghold.
The PAP’s team did less well than it did in the 2011 elections and barely made it into Parliament, with 53.41 per cent of the vote. This was the worst PAP performance in the ward since East Coast GRC was formed in 1991.
The PAP’s weak performance was especially pronounced since Mr Heng and his four team members, who included a senior political office-holder and a seasoned MP, faced off against a slate of WP candidates, including Mr Foo, that had never contested there.
It seems Mr Foo’s profile rose after that close electoral battle. In his Facebook post, he said a hawker recently called him by his name and said that his name was not known until the most recent polls. Mr Foo wrote in Mandarin (translated into English):
“While buying lunch, the stallholder suddenly called me by my name (Kenneth Foo). He said my name wasn’t known until during the general election. They also gave me a large serving of fish and said it would cheer me up.”
Mr Foo reflected that, just as a small fish plays a big role in feeding people, Singapore’s hawkers also play a large role in shaping local culture even though they may not realise their true value. He then urged Singaporeans to give more support to the local hawkers.
在买午餐时，摊主突然叫我的名字（Kenneth Foo). 他说在大选期间才知道我的名字。他们还为我加料，给了一堆的“江鱼仔“说要给我打气。鱼仔虽小，物轻情意重。有时我们就像是这江鱼仔一般，小小看似不起眼，但却扮演着举足轻重的角色。我们的小贩们也只认为他们只是为满足我们的三餐而辛勤劳动。但，没了他们，我们将失去新加坡独特饮食文化了。多多支持他们吧。