And so the wait begins. Nomination documents have been submitted by the National Heritage Board, National Environment Agency and the Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore, for hawker culture here to be inscribed on Unesco's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is a unique collection, not of monuments, buildings, places and spaces, but one that acknowledges, celebrates and gives recognition to traditions and expressions that have been inherited, experienced and passed on. The scope of the list is wide, and can encompass anything from oral traditions and performing arts to rituals and social practices, among others.
For Singapore, the hope is that the everyday experience of what takes place in the country's ubiquitous community dining rooms - about 110 hawker centres where more than 6,000 cooked-food hawkers produce an assortment of mouth-watering dishes daily - can join the club. More than 80 per cent of the population eat out at hawker centres at least once a week. The result of the nomination will be known at the end of next year. Whatever the outcome, the effort to have hawker culture listed is also a salutary nod to street-food vendors - later resettled in centres across the island - who provided sustenance, and still do, to people of a still-growing nation.