This is disgustingly preposterous. The greatest street food city in the world (and Bourdain knows this, which is why he wants me to install a big chunk of hawkers from Singapore in his Bourdain Market in New York). Transient executives running the new hawker centres build for and by public monies with not very well thought out goals and aims are dimming the lights on our already fading public hawker food culture.

It is good the govt is building new hawker centres to keep this failth alive, but not so good they are going the fill-in-the-form route for pte management companies and hawkers.. allowing it to fester, with no cogent guidelines that seeds the future of street food culture here. . Based on Douglas’ (Fishball Story kid hawker) it seems they are ageist and clueless just what need be achieved and nurtured with the creation of these new hawker centres. Sure, they need to be commercially viable, but please be mindfully and creatively so. One problem…there is no agency that looks after the soft aspect of this powerful food culture of ours…. just you and me. Douglas Ng sent me this note of frustration and i sense the problem is way deeper than he noted.

From Douglas….

” Disappointed..really disappointed. Doubt i am going to get that coveted new hawker cte stall i had been eyeing at Bkt Panjang. Many would ask..why? Yesterday morning i called NTUC Foodfare (the ppl now running it) and the person in charge of the new hawker cte spoke to me. I ask if i was listed for the food tasting (a criteria for all, like me, who bid and you have to be shortlisted before you are awarded), and he told me the whole exercise was already over..WHAT!? I was confused and i asked why i was not chosen for the food tasting or even informed abt it.. He said my “points” are not high enough. He said its based 40% on price bids and 60% on others like food, selling price etc).

So it;s common sense they cannot judge me cos they did not even try my food. I was asked, as suggested by Min Vivian, to bid sensibly and not too high for this out of town food cte. What really is thier criteria. How is this system fair?

I questioned him on this and he said based on the papers submitted, and he replied some said they have 5 and even 10 years experience.. hence, they score more points. WHAT SERIOUSLY?? Does it mean it i wrote i have 20 years experience i am more qualified and get more points? Is there any integrity behind this? How is this encouraging for young hawker entreprenueurs like me into this fading trade and culture. More years in the trade does not mean better.

If they regard the rental bids as key factor, then i will never get it because, as many know, Minister Vivian told me not to bid high…there you go. I kena sabo. ”

Douglas Ng , Fishball Story

He is one of the few soldiers who defend this great makan culture of ours.. as least yr kids and the nx gen can understand what you what you are talking about when u get old and talk “last time food”. Do share this hair pulling frustration of ours and ask yr frens for opinions and advice. THEY need to hear this.

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