Hawker centre

Cleaner came round four times to clear table

Singapore is well known for being efficient in many areas. The emphasis on efficiency has, however, compromised users' experience in some instances.

Last weekend, my family and I were having lunch at Pasir Ris Hawker Centre when we were approached four times by the cleaner to clear our table.

Although the first request was to clear the utensils left behind by previous diners, the other requests were made each time a member of my family had finished his meal.

When clearing the empty plates and bowls, the cleaner also asked if we wanted the cups to be cleared too, even though they were still half-full.

After the cleaner's fourth request to clear the table, my family and I decided to leave the hawker centre although we had wanted to stay longer.

I also noticed that the diners seated next to us encountered the same experience and left quickly after finishing their drinks.

This was despite there being no other diners waiting for seats as most of the tables around us were empty at close to 3pm.

There was also a tray return station located nearby where we could have returned the utensils ourselves.

The incident affected our dining experience and goes against the tray return programme.

I urge the National Environment Agency and cleaning contractors to re-examine their operational practices to achieve a balance between efficiency and ensuring a positive dining experience for patrons at hawker centres.

Seet Choon Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2021, with the headline 'Cleaner came round four times to clear table'. Subscribe