Sunday, 21 October 2018

Forum: Time to learn lessons and put things right

Something that is labelled "not-for-profit" should be affordable and economical not only to consumers, but also - in the case of the recent discussion on the new hawker centre model - to the hawkers as well.

I agree with calls from some circles that the National Environment Agency (NEA) should take back the operation of hawker centres if the objective is truly non-profit and the preservation of the hawker culture (Time to end not-for-profit hawker centre experiment; Oct 16).

The experience of similar ventures in the past - Sports Hub comes to mind - has shown that these hybrid systems or private-public partnership operations have met with too many stumbling blocks for them to be considered viable, especially in the initial stages of implementation.

We have witnessed how such collaborations have often become embroiled in intractable management problems as conflict arises between different interests.

Sacrificing the hawker centre enterprise at the altar of private operators whose sole interest is the bottomline wastes the efforts of hawkers who put their hearts and soul into their work.

It is time for us to retrace our steps, learn the lessons and put things right.

Seah Yam Meng


You may want to read NEA reviewing not-for-profit hawker centres

SMRT Feedback and KF Seetoh rail against unfair clauses in Our Tampines Hub hawker centre contracts

Makansutra founder KF Seetoh continues his campaign against the allegedly unjust conditions that hawkers working at Social Enterprise Hawker Centres (SEHC) are subjected to. This time around, the outspoken local food guru highlighted how the contracts signed by SEHC hawkers includes some pretty harsh clauses that would be daunting to anyone.

These newer hawker centers are different from standard open-air food complexes in Singapore; SEHCs are run by social enterprises with the purpose to keep dishes affordable. But Seetoh believes that hawkers at SEHCs are on the losing end, thanks to rigid stipulations on how vendors can operate, on top of incompetent management.

In his post, Seetoh uploaded samples of a 51-page long contract that vendors of Kopitiam-run Hawker Centre @ Our Tampines Hub. In it contained some questionable clauses that make it hard for hawkers to operate at the 24-hour hawker center.

Read the full article @