14-member committee set up to oversee Singapore's hawker culture nomination

The committee will also offer "ideas to strengthen Singaporeans' pride and love for hawker culture" and encourage the community to support the nomination. ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

SINGAPORE - A 14-member committee has been set up to oversee and guide Singapore's effort to nominate its hawker culture for Unesco's intangible cultural heritage list.

The committee will be co-chaired by National Heritage Board chief executive Chang Hwee Nee, National Environment Agency chief executive Tan Meng Dui and Federation of Merchants' Associations president Yeo Hiang Meng, said the three organisations in a joint statement on Monday (Oct 22).

Members of the committee, who hail from public and private sectors, will provide recommendations, feedback and advice on the nomination documents for submission to Unesco in March next year, said the statement.

They will also offer "ideas to strengthen Singaporeans' pride and love for hawker culture" and encourage the community to support the nomination, it added.

Among the members are Mr Jesher Loi, branding and marketing development director of Ya Kun International; Dr Jack Lee, president of the Singapore Heritage Society; and Ms Denise Tan, director of hospitality at ITE College West.

Mr Loi, 33, who is the youngest member on the committee, is active in the arts and youth sectors and has championed youth interests through the National Youth Council's initiatives, said the joint statement.

Said Mr Loi: "As we strive for greater public participation in the nomination journey, I hope that more young Singaporeans will step forward to contribute and gain greater appreciation of our hawker culture."

Meanwhile, Dr Lee is an expert in heritage and culture property laws, while Ms Tan is also part of the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee.

"Hawker culture belongs to all of us, and to ensure its sustainability, we must continue to do our part to safeguard and promote this culture for future generations," said Ms Tan.

The Unesco nomination committee also includes academics Lily Kong, provost at the Singapore Management University, and Suriani Suratman, senior lecturer at the National University of Singapore.

The committee will be in tenure until February 2021, according to the joint statement.

In August, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during the National Day Rally that Singapore will nominate its hawker culture for inscription into Unesco's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Since then, more than 30,000 Singaporeans have gone online to pledge their support for the bid, said the joint statement.

It added that the National Heritage Board will be launching a travelling exhibition, called Our SG Hawker Culture, to various locations around Singapore, including hawker centres, shopping malls and libraries, to raise public awareness and support for the Unesco nomination.

Nomination Committee


1. Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive Officer, National Heritage Board

2. Mr Tan Meng Dui, Chief Executive Officer, National Environment Agency

3. Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, President, Federation of Merchants' Associations


4. Mr Puvan Ariaratnam, Director (Character & Citizenship Education), Ministry of Education

5. Ms Chua Mui Hoong, Editor (Opinion), The Straits Times

6. Professor Lily Kong, Provost, Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University

7. Dr Jack Lee, President, Singapore Heritage Society

8. Mr Lim Gek Meng, Vice-President, Federation of Merchants' Associations

9. Ms Anne Loh, President, Slow Food Singapore

10. Mr Jesher Loi, Director, Branding & Marketing Development, Ya Kun International

11. Dr Suriani Suratman, Senior Lecturer (Department of Malay Studies), National University of Singapore

12. Ms Denise Tan, Director (School of Hospitality), ITE College West

13. Mr Andrew Toh, Ambassador (Non-Resident) and Permanent Delegate to the Unesco

14. Ms Clarin Wee, Director (Grassroots Policy & Programmes Division), People's Association

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