Vibrancy, charm of early hawker culture absent now

Being in my 60s gives me the privilege of having witnessed the transformation of our hawker culture - from the roadside itinerant hawkers of yesteryear, where hawkers, although a tad less hygienic, dished out delicious fare with passion, to the current structured and predictable hawker centre template, with many stalls dispensing food from central kitchens, akin to an assembly-line process.

The vibrancy, din and disorderliness of our early hawker scene created an exciting and lively atmosphere, with a charm of its own.

This is starkly absent in our modern-day hawker centres, where "choping" seats seems to be a major activity, a feature better left unmentioned.

So, with Singapore eyeing a Unesco World Heritage status for its hawker culture, it begs the question: What is the value of this status?

With Singapore eyeing a Unesco World Heritage status for its hawker culture, it begs the question: What is the value of this status?

The hawker culture is not unique to Singapore. Many of our neighbours, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, have vibrant and exciting hawker cultures that even Singaporeans rave about.

Mr Lim Teck Koon is correct in articulating the need to revive the soul of our hawker culture (Need to bring back the soul of our hawker culture; Aug 31).

The quality of the hawker food, taste, dining experience, vibrancy and affordability are important ingredients as well.

Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2018, with the headline 'Vibrancy, charm of early hawker culture absent now'. Print Edition | Subscribe