Market worked because vendors were together

The National Environment Agency (NEA) should be complimented for its efforts to help the vendors at the Sungei Road market relocate, including reserving a number of stalls for them and giving them a 50 per cent rebate on their rental for the first two years (Sungei Rd vendors receive more help; June 17).

However, only 27 vendors have been allocated stalls.

I am concerned that the remaining 150 or more vendors who cannot afford to rent a stall will be left stranded with no space to continue earning a living once the Sungei Road market closes next month.

A critical factor for a successful market is the confluence of people and wide selection of merchandise in one location. This has been the reason for the attractiveness and longevity of the 80-year-old market.

From a business point of view, separating the vendors will decrease the number of potential customers each vendor gets.

Relocating vendors of second-hand goods to hawker centres, where patrons visit for food, does not make business sense either.

A solution that relocates Sungei Road market as a whole is not only one which will provide continuity to the livelihood of the vendors, but also preserves this uniquely Singaporean market and keeps alive an 80-year-old living street culture.

A critical factor for a successful market is the confluence of people and wide selection of merchandise in one location. This has been the reason for the attractiveness and longevity of the 80-year-old market.

The Association for the Recycling of Second Hand Goods and the Save Sungei Road Market citizen initiative have proposed finding alternative spaces for vendors to ply their trade, such as under-utilised open fields in the vicinity.

Could the NEA reconsider the proposals?

Muhammad Faiz Zohri

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Market worked because vendors were together'. Print Edition | Subscribe