Rotate street hawkers at Orchard to stay fresh

The new study to revive Orchard Road seems to be doing little more than rehashing ideas that have been surfaced over and over again through the years ($1.3m study to help rejuvenate Orchard Rd; June 18).

The issue is that Singaporeans are affluent people who have plenty of choices as far as shopping, entertainment or dining is concerned.

Not only do local attractions divert us from visiting only Orchard Road, as we did in the past, but our neighbours like Johor Baru and Batam also draw us.

The biggest factor to contend with is being jaded. Six months is probably as long as it takes before we become jaded by new things that spring up. So, to survive the competition, things must change often.

One idea was for Orchard Road to have food, souvenir or art stalls on the street. This may work for some time, but customers will get tired if only the same things are always on offer. I suggest that this concept be set up in another part of Singapore as well, and have the hawkers exchange places on a rotational basis every six months.

If the businesses suffer any losses because of this rotation or additional logistics costs, associations like the Orchard Road Business Association could help them seek compensation. After all, these hawkers are doing it to save Orchard Road. Keeping things fresh and new is the key to survival.

Phillip Tan Fong Lip

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2018, with the headline 'Rotate street hawkers at Orchard to stay fresh'. Print Edition | Subscribe