Hawker debate: Why has there been a flurry of complaints over new social enterprise hawker centres?

Yishun Park Hawker Centre, run by the Timbre Group, opened in September last year. Mr Edward Chia, managing director of the group, said it wanted "to provide a platform for incubation of new hawker talent". Minister for the Environment and Water Reso
Yishun Park Hawker Centre, run by the Timbre Group, opened in September last year. Mr Edward Chia, managing director of the group, said it wanted "to provide a platform for incubation of new hawker talent". ST FILE PHOTO
Yishun Park Hawker Centre, run by the Timbre Group, opened in September last year. Mr Edward Chia, managing director of the group, said it wanted "to provide a platform for incubation of new hawker talent". Minister for the Environment and Water Reso
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said that prior to the construction of Our Tampines Hub Hawker Centre (above), residents had requested a 24-hour centre. But after the hawker centre was built, it was found that there was not as much demand in the area as anticipated.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Mr Edward Chia, managing director of Timbre Group, which runs Yishun Park Hawker Centre, decided to throw in his hat "to provide a platform for incubation of new hawker talent, and to accelerate the growth and renewal of the hawker industry".
Mr Edward Chia, managing director of Timbre Group, which runs Yishun Park Hawker Centre, decided to throw in his hat "to provide a platform for incubation of new hawker talent, and to accelerate the growth and renewal of the hawker industry".PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Public concern reflects interest in keeping hawker culture alive

Hawker centres may be a feature of every heartland neighbourhood, having become part of many working Singaporeans' lifestyle.

Yet the way they have been run since they were first built in the 1970s to resettle street hawkers has changed little over the years. That is until the emergence of the social-enterprise hawker centres, which were meant to herald a new way of operation - making them cleaner, more vibrant, and even helping young hawkers find a foothold.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 04, 2018, with the headline 'Hawker debate: Figuring out a way forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe