Clean up hawker centres to stand a chance to win Unesco award

I am thrilled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's suggestion to nominate our rich hawker culture for Unesco's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity inscription during his recent National Day Rally speech.

Singaporeans and the Singapore Tourism Board will be able to promote our rich hawker culture to tourists with ease.

But when the United Nations officials are assessing our hawker culture, they will definitely take into consideration the cleanliness of our hawker centres.

If we are going to stand a chance of getting the award, the minimum that we must do is to clear up our eating area after we are done.

All of us in Singapore have been taught at home, in schools and at army camps to return our utensils and plates to designated places.

Strangely, our habits change when we start working.

It is disgusting to see prawn shells, chicken and fish bones, tissue paper and other rubbish on hawker centre tables after a person has eaten. Everyone must take the initiative to clean up and return his utensils and trays after he is done eating.

Our campaigns in the hawker centres over the last decade has not been very successful.

It is sad that even though Singapore has transformed from a Third World to First World country where our economy and education standards are concerned, we are still a long way off in terms of keeping our country clean and green.

David Goh Chee Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2018, with the headline 'Clean up hawker centres to stand a chance to win Unesco award'. Subscribe