SINGAPORE - New tray return stations, repositioned dining tables, new murals and video messages are among recent improvements to the ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre in Bukit Merah.
These were introduced by a task force set up by the Queenstown Citizens' Consultative Committee in July last year (2015), which looked at best practices and took in comments from residents over a year.
By encouraging diners to return their trays and crockery after use, customers are expected to find clean tables more easily and spend less time waiting for tables.
The revamped market and food centre, which was closed from June 20 to 29, was launched by Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC Chia Shi-Lu on Sunday (July 3).
"Critical to success is that this is a ground-up effort," said Dr Chia at the opening. "This is just the start of the programme. The other thing that we want to do is to keep this going."
He hopes to roll out such initiatives at the food centres in Tanglin Halt and Alexandra Village as well, in time to come.
Besides adding four tray return stations to the existing eight, two stations were moved to more prominent locations. Four tables were also removed, making way for the tray return stations.
While younger diners tend to be more receptive to tray return initiatives, said Dr Chia, older customers may not be used to it yet. Besides making it more convenient for them to return trays, the improvements serve as constant reminders to do so.
Revamp works cost around $13,000 and was co-funded by the Tanjong Pagar Town Council, National Environment Agency and corporate sponsors, among other agencies.
Six murals painted by students from schools around the neighbourhood, video messages aired on three monitors and standees placed around the area aim to drive home the message of tray return and hygiene as well.
Said Ms Gracie Lee, 15, a student from Bukit Merah Secondary School who helped to paint the murals: "We hope that people will not just look at it and walk past it, but read the words and remember the message."
In addition, residents, stall owners and students will be mobilised in monthly tray-return and litter-picking exercises to inculcate good social etiquette and responsible community habits.
Said Madam Heng Siu Eng, 62, a customer at the food centre: "The improvements will encourage people to return their own trays, and it will be less messy."
Leng Kee BBQ's Ms Jane Wan, who is in her 40s, said: "I hope everyone can cooperate, so that it will be cleaner here, and there will not be birds picking at leftovers.
"Habits will take some time to change. But this is a good start."