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Hawkers United - but where's the coordination?

Country enters lockdown. Dining in is banned. Many netizens turn to social media to seek support for favourite hawker stalls. This happened last year, and again this year. Ground-up efforts to help hawkers are good – but regulatory agencies and big players have to step in to make permanent improvements.

Coffee stall operators Ong Ser Hua and Alice Chiew at their stall in Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre. The couple’s business, which their niece has been promoting on social media, has dropped by 30 per cent amid the pandemic. PHOTO: COURTESY OF GAYLE LIM

As a child, Gayle Lim's favourite drink at her uncle's coffee stall in Ang Mo Kio was iced Milo. As she grew older, she switched to teh-c (tea with evaporated milk). Today, at a more health-conscious age of 26, her drink of choice is kopi-c siew dai (coffee with evaporated milk and less sugar).

As the pandemic bit, the public relations executive, who works with restaurateurs, saw their struggles up close. When the Government announced its heightened alert phase which bans dining in, she saw the spate of posts about helping hawkers all over social media. She was concerned about how her uncle Ong Ser Hua, 60, and his wife, her maternal aunt Alice Chiew, 64, would cope.

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