24/7 hawker centre concept needs rethink

I empathise with the plight of hawkers and fail to understand the rationale of having 24-hour operations when there is no business (Does it pay to have 24-hour hawker centres?; Oct 21).

The decision of the operators of Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub to keep it open 24/7 seems flawed and shows a lack of understanding of the reality on the ground.

It is to be expected that the footfall at the centre would be abysmal during the early morning hours.

It would have been better for the operator to have conducted a trial run first to ascertain whether such operating hours would attract any customers. Wouldn't it be more rational and efficient to have vending machines to serve food and drinks to those in need at irregular hours rather than compel hawkers to do so?

The operator and the hawkers are supposed to work with each other to ensure that business is viable.

It does not make sense to pressure hawkers to stay open even though business is poor and penalise them if they do not stay open.

It also does not dovetail with the nation's goal of preserving the hawker culture and making sure hawker food remains affordable for all.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline '24/7 hawker centre concept needs rethink'. Print Edition | Subscribe