SINGAPORE - A committee has been set up to look at Singapore's hawker culture to suggest ways to sustain and promote the hawker trade.
The 14-member Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee will look into four areas: sustaining the trade, improving productivity of hawker centres, enhancing hawker centres as social places, and promoting graciousness, such as getting people to return their trays.
People from the public and private sectors, including food enthusiasts and representatives from education institutions, are among those in the team, said Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor on Tuesday (April 12).
Speaking during the debate on the Environment and Water Resources Ministry's budget, Dr Khor said it is timely for a comprehensive review of Singapore's hawker culture as the country moves beyond SG50.
"The committee will explore ideas on how we can attract and more importantly, support new entrants to the hawker trade,"
she said, noting that one way could be through structured training programmes.
She added that the committee has met a number of times since the start of the year and will give their suggestions to the National Environment Agency (NEA). They aim to complete their review by early 2017.
The NEA will then review the suggestions to see if pilot trials can be conducted.
Committee member Kee Ai Nah, group director of industry and enterprise at Spring Singapore, said hawker businesses must be viable for the hawker heritage to be preserved.
She suggested exploring sharing facilities, aggregating purchases and using digital services to raise productivity and improve profitability.
Another committee member, Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said hawker centres need more than just "hardware" like infrastructure and "software" like policies. They also need "heartware" in order to create a pleasant dining experience for all, he added.
"It is as simple as being considerate towards other diners and cleaners, by clearing our dishes after the meal, (to ensure the hawker centre is) inviting and pleasing for the next patron," he said.