Adding spice to hawker centres

Samples of artwork and digital painting which the public were allowed to try.ST VIDEO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
Launch of "Vibrany Hawker Centres" Programme by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources.ST VIDEO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

SINGAPORE - Breakfast at Block 724 Ang Mo Kio Market & Food Centre took on a colourful and unique experience for patrons on Saturday morning (June 10).

All thanks to more than 100 students from Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) School of Interactive & Digital Media (SIDM) who gave live demonstrations of digital painting and observation drawing as part of the new "Vibrant Hawker Centres" programme.

The programme, launched by Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor, strives to enhance hawker centres as social spaces.

Dr Khor said: "This Vibrant Hawker Centres programme is the government's effort in encouraging community partners.... as well as educational institutions to adopt hawker centres and organise activities in hawker centres on a sustained basis in order to improve the vibrancy of hawker centres and enhance the patrons' dining experience."

The government has plans to build a total of 20 new hawker centres by 2027.

Added Dr Khor: "I am happy to announce that Punggol and Sengkang will see two more new hawker centres, which will further increase the number of cooked food stalls and provide more food choices to their residents."

NYP became the first adopter of the "Vibrant Hawker Centres" programme.

Working with the National Environment Agency, it planned to organise more events to improve the vibrancy of hawker centres, as well as, raise awareness about the courses offered by SIDM.

An exhibition area at the food centre showcased around 20 students' Hawker Art.

While some members of the public had tried their hands at digital painting, others voted for their favourite Hawker Art.

The morning's excitement had spurred 88-year-old Mr Cheong Ying Lin to vote for a drawing that reminded him of improvements made to hawker centres over the years.

Mr Cheong, a 17-year resident of Ang Mo Kio estate, said in Malay: "Look at the drawing and look at the hawker centre. You'll notice how spacious and clean they are today. It wasn't always this way."

Likewise, Madam Janice Tan was impressed by a drawing by second-year animation student Jamie Jessie Leong, who had received a consolation prize.

Madam Tan, 41, said: "The perspective is unique because she had placed the hawker scene into a bowl, complete with chopsticks and soup spoon at the ready."

Dr Khor toured different parts of the hawker centre to speak to SIDM students who sat beside patrons in order capture the essence of the scene they were recreating.

Accompanied by Ang Mo Kio GRC Member of Parliament Dr Koh Poh Koon, Ms Amy Soon, assistant director at SIDM, and Mr Daniel Tan, director of SIDM Dr Khor seemed fascinated by 20-year-old Mary Cao's work, which employed augmented reality technology.

Images, like dishes inside a hawker centre scene, came alive when Dr Khor viewed the picture using a mobile phone application.

Ms Cao said: "When the virtual food popped up, she (Dr Khor) was surprised. (She said) it was quite fun to do the exploring with the app."