The Straits Times says

The Straits Times says: Hawker centres as a cultural institution

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Hawker centres were built with functionality in mind - in particular, to raise public hygiene standards. Veteran civil servant Tan Gee Paw said in a recent interview with this paper that itinerant street hawkers were "hastily re-sited to hawker centres with basic amenities of water, sewerage system and waste removal". Little did the city planners expect that such a congregation of food vendors would take on a life of its own and develop into the cultural institution it is today.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Rally that Singapore will nominate hawker centres for the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity inscription. If successful, this will be the country's second inscription, after the Singapore Botanic Gardens made the World Heritage Site list three years ago. Given the significant role hawker centres play among Singaporeans from all walks of life, this nomination will resonate with many.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2018, with the headline The Straits Times says: Hawker centres as a cultural institution. Subscribe