Hawker culture nomination does not mean it belongs to or exists only in Singapore: NHB

While hawker food and centres can be found in neighbouring countries, how they operate and what they mean to each nation differ greatly, the National Heritage Board said in a video.
While hawker food and centres can be found in neighbouring countries, how they operate and what they mean to each nation differ greatly, the National Heritage Board said in a video.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/NATIONAL HERITAGE BOARD

SINGAPORE - Choosing to nominate hawker culture for Unesco recognition does not mean it belongs to, originates from, or exists only in Singapore, said the National Heritage Board (NHB) in a video on Wednesday (Sept 12).

While hawker food and centres can be found in neighbouring countries, how they operate and what they mean to each nation differ greatly, it added in a post accompanying the video on its Facebook page.

The video has since attracted considerable attention, with over 7,800 views as of 8.20pm on Thursday.

The statutory board was referring to Singapore's nomination of hawker culture for inscription into Unesco's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

After Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the Republic's bid at this year's National Day Rally on Aug 19, Malaysian netizens and chefs took to social media to protest the move.

Celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, called it "arrogant behaviour", Malaysian news outlet The Star reported on Aug 22.

"People who lack confidence in their food will go all out to do these things for recognition," he said.

Another Malaysian celebrity chef, Datuk Ismail Ahmad, called Singapore's hawker culture "monotonous" and its hawker centres "beautiful but tasteless".

 
 

Malaysian netizens also said Singapore should stop claiming food items like nasi lemak and laksa as its own.

In the Facebook post, NHB said that the nomination focuses on hawker culture in the Singapore context, and is "not meant to ascertain similarities or differences between countries".

"Let's all keep calm and carry on pledging our support," it added.