Hawker food: Another bad joke?

I refer to my RI classmate, Han Fook Kwang’s article “Who will save hawker food?” (Straits Times, Sep 16).

It states that “One earlier idea which tried to do so was to allow social enterprises, which are not-for-profit, to operate some of the newer hawker centres. There are now seven such centres run by NTUC Foodfare, Fei Siong, Timbre, Koufu and Kopitiam.

Because they are not commercial undertakings, they could presumably charge cheaper rentals resulting in more affordable food.

The hope also was that these operators can try different ways of running the centres and a winning model might emerge.

Alas, the results have not been appetising.

Food critic K.F. Seetoh of Makansutra fame recently wrote about the problems faced by hawkers in these centres.

Some pay as much as $4,000 a month after adding miscellaneous charges for services such as cleaning, coin-changing and going cashless.

In contrast, the monthly rent at government-run hawker centres is based on what hawkers themselves are willing to bid. In the July tender, prices ranged from $8 to $4,000 (excluding a $10,000 bid that was later withdrawn).

In addition, hawkers in these social enterprise centres have to take part in a revenue-sharing scheme and pay a three-month deposit upfront.

At Timbre+, hawkers have to offer a 10 per cent discount to customers using the cashless payment system, eating into their already tight takings.

The three-month deposit, which amounts to more than $10,000, is a double whammy for those already struggling and who might be thinking of quitting to cut their losses.

Why make their plight worse?

The Government now says it is reviewing the way these centres are run, including the rental and operating costs being charged.”

The above is like my friends said – another joke about helping Singaporeans!

In this connection, it was reported in the media just two months ago – “Lastly, it will focus on helping workers cope with the cost of living through NTUC’s social enterprises”.

According to the article “HDB, NTUC ensuring affordable food options” (Sunday Times, Jul 15) – “The Housing Board and the labour movement are taking steps to tackle the rising cost of living by ensuring food choices stay affordable at hawker centres and coffee shops.

Later this year, HDB will look at other factors, including whether an operator has a variety of affordable food options, when evaluating tenders for coffee shops, in addition to the bidding price.

This price-quality method will replace the current system, which has been in place since 2004 and awards tenders to those who put in the highest bids.”

As to “He was speaking on the sidelines of the official opening of Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre run by NTUC Foodfare, which manages more than 100 food and beverage outfits islandwide” – I visited NTUC Foodfare’s web site to try to find its profits or losses in its annual report, but it said “annual report – coming soon“.

So, how much profits or losses does NTUC Foodfare make?

With regard to “Separately, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is committed to using its social enterprises to set industry price benchmarks to help keep daily necessities affordable, said its secretary-general Ng Chee Meng yesterday” – I looked at the annual report of one of its social enterprises, and found that NTUC FairPrice’s group profits before contributions to the Central Co-operative Fund and the Singapore Labour Foundation, was $379.7 million in 2017.

How much are the combined profits of the nine NTUC social enterprises?

So, if NTUC Foodfare, being a co-operative (non-profit?) makes less profits (assuming that it does since its annual report in “coming soon”)  – will food prices be lower? – if NTUC FairPrice makes less profits – will “daily necessities” be lower? – if some or all of the NTUC social enterprises make less profits – will Singapore drop out of being the most expensive city in the world for the fifth consecutive year, according to the Economist?

 

Leong Sze Hian

 

 

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24 Responses to “Hawker food: Another bad joke?”

  • Blind Leading Blind:

    When greed is deeply ingrained, whatever Pappies do will be for money.

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  • opposition dude:

    The same old nonsense about helping us or lowering food or whatever is always being said but with nothing to show for it.

    NTUC Foodfare isn’t cheap that’s for sure. Just visit any single one of the food courts and see just how much your chicken rice or wanton mee goes for, you can’t tell the price difference from a hawker stall.

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  • Fox tail is out:

    Their attitudes are getting “Cocky”. Arrogance and belittling own citizens. They are beginning to look down on us!. Can see from they way they talk.
    Fox tail is out. VTO.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    Can’t make any money selling catered hawker foods to the hard-up public. The rent-seeking elements, the high cost of cooking gas, various schemes like cashless system, marketing & promotion, etc – all eat into the meagre profits leaving nothing for the hard-working hawker. The entrenched PAP system will ensure the hawker gets nothing at the end of the day much like HDB ‘owners’ facing lease depreciation & retirement problems. You get who you vote for!

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  • NothingSeemsToGoRight:

    The prices at these outlets are higher than our present hawker ctrs.
    So what good is it?
    Best to operate food kitchens at lunch and dinner times for the less fortunate and the poorly paid FWs.
    But its easier said than done…some well to do ppl go there and tar pow food too. Shameless as always. Same thing happened when free school books are offered at the various centers.
    Have we become such an unfeeling society? Sad sad sad!
    Some catholic churches and buddhist temples have been doing it for sometime now.

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  • Non-profit? You believe?:

    Gov non-profit also, right?
    Gov profit (in – out) is at least $50 billion a year. likely $100 billion.
    You still believe all these govt related non-profit?

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  • Run Far Far:

    Greed is already ingrained as part of our (Blood sucking) culture. Doesn’t matter what they call it – Social enterprise, Not for Profit organisation …. whatever. As long as the govt dips its hands into anything, they will always squeeze you dry…. When they say “Help the poor”, “Make food affordable for the poor etc..” Be afraid, be very very afraid. Run far far away…..

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  • Can't Hawker Centres Be ....:

    Can it not be run by the ‘big guns’ (NTUC, Koufu, Kopitam, etc)?

    Maybe food can be much cheaper if it is run by the respective Town Councils?

    Stall holders then need not ‘enrich the already rich’ by paying exorbitant rentals and thus will need not make the low and middle-income pay so much for meals!

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  • to 'serve' the country:

    //The rent-seeking elements, the high cost of cooking gas, various schemes like cashless system, marketing & promotion, etc – all eat into the meagre profits leaving nothing for the hard-working hawker.//

    yar lor. all the hard work (blood and sweat) and money earned go into all the “mandatory” services and landlord lor (aka all the smart alecs thinking of ways to rent-seek in the name of smart nation or free market) ?

    you know what in sinkie land, the people who really sweat and doing the hard dirty work are getting paid the lowest – e.g hard labourers, cleaners & diskwashers, people clearing tables, etc. – and the white idiots keep on thinking that sinkies are lazy and choosy – while the white idiots are not choosy and demanding needing one of the highest pay to ‘serve’ the country lhor.

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  • Harder Truths:

    Hawker foods became extinct in the 1980′s when the bona-fide hawkers were chased out of their livelihood by the old man. Very few will remember the Esplanade and before that the hawker who would come to your door and a friend who knew you by name.

    Anything of value to $G during the British era – even if it was a local pride – had to be destroyed. The years the hawker had to learn his trade meant nothing – pride in work was also destroyed at that time. Only money-making by any means counted.

    Go to Malaysia if you want real hawker food created by people who are proud of their craft and respected by their people. In $G our hawkers were treated as third class because everyone wanted to jump on the pappy bandwagon and hawkers were enemies of the government as a reminder of a success that predated independence.

    There is nothing of value in $G’s food ‘culture’ – just a bunch of third -rate cooks who think they are experts if they read the recipe on the iPhone and their clown-customers who declare this must be the greatest because the price is sky-high and they eat in an air-con building.

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  • rukidding:

    Kopithiam Chain’s food…..cheap meh ????

    Only a Daft will believe it !

    Sick patient at SGH also kenna whack !

    Only SGH staff got discount ?????

    Ghee?????

    As if those operators can’t recognised a sick patient in SGH patient’s robe ????

    Wonder what will President Halimah has to say about this ???

    Hmmmm….I know,..she would say,…Oh,…wtf,..give all these patient a cup of free Milo ?

    Haaaaaaaaa…..

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  • LIONS:

    HIGH RENTAL ENVIRONMENT thrives in $IN CITY.

    this is a MORTAL $IN OF THE GREEDY GAHMEN/SCHOLARS.

    As usual,RICH LAMDLORD$,a majot player being the GOVT itself,ENJOY NIG FAT RENTALS while hawkers slogged to eke out a small profits at the EXPENSE OF END-CONSUMERS who are the working class except for some RICH FOODIES who chase after FAMOUS 9or is it notoriou$) hawkers housed in POOR MAN’S HAWKER CENTRES ???

    RICH ‘HAWKERS’ CHARGING HIGH PRICES SHOULD NOT OPERATE IN poor man’s hawker centres anymore or they will lend a hand in pushing up hawker prices,like it or not.

    if the gahmen insist,they can BUILD RICH MEN HAWKER CENTRES TO HOUSE THE RICH AND FAMOUS HAWKERS and it is up to sgs or others to PAY AND PAY at such food-centres!

    CAP PRICES AT POOR MAN’S HAWKER CENTRES BY CAPPING RENTALS,NO BIDS OR TENDERS,plain and simple.THIS IS TO HELP BOTH POOR HAWKERS AND POOR SG-CONSUMERS like elderly.retired and jobless???

    can the ministers do this?of course!

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  • rukidding:

    I wonder which MP or Minister have interest in Hawker or Kopithiam business ???

    Mind you the large amount of $$$$ provided by us,…the taxpayer’s $$$$ to “assist” ( in the name of innovation) to these kopithiam owners to buy all these automated coins and notes machines…?????

    Imagine how much $$$$$ these kopithiam owners have “sucked off” from us ,..the tax payers ????

    Gheez….. how can there be NO such thing as “you scratch my back,…I scratch yours” ( happening here) ???

    If the 1MND & Immigration story had already happen,…what else cannot have happened ????

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  • U trust these jokers:

    Since LKY decreeded that antone against him or his policy r his n PAP’s enemies n they should be eradicated. Political opposition thus was persecuted ever so often by the applps controlled public institution till they r financially n personnels depleted. The recent legal tussel of WP is just a continuent of the legacy of getting rid of oolitical dissenter left behind by what plpplps would like to impressed u as their political capital which LKY in his twilight years has spoken what has been harbouring in his mind for his entire political stint n ie daft .
    In every of the PAP response about their , bonus, benefits, their denial is as far as NOT TRUE but has never gone beyong that two words with providing convincing evidence acceotable in a normal Court of Laws under true democracy. In the CPF-Roy saga. it was the same. There was not call of evidence that what Roy speculate from the indirect information squeezed from some unconcious revelation by arrogant plps. Thecsaga surrounding AIM bn e outdated software was simply a joke that the plp Town Council rented back the outdated software cheaply. If it can still be used, why sold it in the first place. That is one of PAP wondervthat daft Sinkies r assumed to think how clever their MPs r in running their Town Council. On the ry on how many such $2 company AIM PAP has n what business n ckientele they r dealing with. At this point, MP Indiranee came to mind on her definition of conflict of interest wrt the AG saying that there is no conflict of interest wrt he is LHL lawyer becos he is a successful lawyer. Any first year law student perhaps not in NUS Law Fac under the control of the son in law of former DPM,MOD, MOE, VC NUS n President of Singapore.
    Even medical benefits the dicrepancy between Kwah assertion that he only paid $8 for his heart sugery n first class ward plus medication n the response from a spokeman for Heng on his hear attack problem that he paid same as any private patient in First Class Ward which means tens of thousands. Yes u r right the citizen who from Kwah $8 claim was refuted to be untrue n that he paid like all first class ward patient without evidence.
    As for the self glorifying claim that Kwak has negotiate for a delay of HSR project for 2 years but is there any compensation paid to the contractor etc… for the delay, the amt n who pay for it? WP is expected to come clean, what about PAP? So can u trust these Great organization to help keep Rem NTUC is controlled by a minister who arrogantly told Singaporeans that the chaitowtwei in FC is not worth the monies they paid compared to his $10 variety under condition fitting to his mmillionaire status. Expect ntuc to promote or eliminate the cheap FCs?
    Dont be naive! Be rid n VTO if u want affordabke cost of living…

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  • U trust these jokers 2:

    billionaires n high living. NTUC golf course is a classical example. Rem LHL publicly told the media, he hope PRC billionaires could come to Singapore even one he will bw very very delighted. Such wealth arrogance, u expect them to understand the woe of rising cost of living among the poor singaporeans, Besides they r too daft to understand billionaires like themselves. Rem who defended the Brit Scumbag who n his infant child said the public transport commuters r smelly n dirty n repulsive. The mmillionaire Indian Chinese MP n inister of Statecondemned Singaporeans netizens as a ching mob when condemned the Brit Scumbag for the derogatory remarks. PAP n its herds of Plps have detached themselves n cannot relate with average Singaporeans n their problem. They have made themselves irrelevant in Sibgapore.l

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  • Yew Bloody Phuc:

    Its maciam like
    I will help you pay your meal by taking this money from you and then some. So you cannot say i never help you.

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  • clown pap S$m liars:

    Yew Bloody Phuc:
    Its maciam like
    I will help you pay your meal by taking this money from you and then some. So you cannot say i never help you.

    pap clown lies to 70% sheep, we are raising GST to 9% so that we can help you more.

    pap clown conveniently forgets to say, too bad those jobless must pay more GST.

    this is when surplus is 10 billion. and these S$m heartless pap Ljs and pap Cbs want to tax the jobless more, IN ORDER to help them. WTF.

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  • big organized setups:

    //Can it not be run by the ‘big guns’?//

    big organized setups where the big chuck of the benefits ($$$) goes to top management – where their high bids (huge money power), if any, for the food courts / outlets will be passed down to hawkers (who got to slog for long hours) and consumers (who have to pay for high price).

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  • Haha:

    a) Breakfast – kopi/tea/other beverage with bread
    b) Lunch – rice and another item of veg/meat/others
    c) Dinner – rice and another item not in the dish para b).

    Balance diet. It helps somehow.

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    Bro, you bring back painful memories.

    Remember the Orchard car-park, Cuppage, Hillstreet and many of the bona-fide hardworking hawkers that roam the streets selling honest to goodness authentic foods? Even ChaiTowKway is more delicious than the one with XO. You can even bring your own eggs! I remember one incident when I saw NEA enforcement officers (Singaporeans?) chopping down a mobile hawker trishaw with the wailing woman hawker wailing by the road-side. It was an unforgettable heart-wrenching scene.

    Harder Truths:
    Hawker foods became extinct in the 1980′s when the bona-fide hawkers were chased out of their livelihood by the old man. Very few will remember the Esplanade and before that the hawker who would come to your door and a friend who knew you by name.

    Anything of value to $G during the British era – even if it was a local pride – had to be destroyed. The years the hawker had to learn his trade meant nothing – pride in work was also destroyed at that time. Only money-making by any means counted.

    Go to Malaysia if you want real hawker food created by people who are proud of their craft and respected by their people. In $G our hawkers were treated as third class because everyone wanted to jump on the pappy bandwagon and hawkers were enemies of the government as a reminder of a success that predated independence.

    There is nothing of value in $G’s food ‘culture’ – just a bunch of third -rate cooks who think they are experts if they read the recipe on the iPhone and their clown-customers who declare this must be the greatest because the price is sky-high and they eat in an air-con building.

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  • Bapak:

    Don’t you agree it’s getting scary when the one who eats XO ChaiTowKway is shortlisted to run the country?

    Haigen-diaz:
    Bro, you bring back painful memories.

    Remember the Orchard car-park, Cuppage, Hillstreet and many of the bona-fide hardworking hawkers that roam the streets selling honest to goodness authentic foods? Even ChaiTowKway is more delicious than the one with XO. You can even bring your own eggs! I remember one incident when I saw NEA enforcement officers (Singaporeans?) chopping down a mobile hawker trishaw with the wailing woman hawker wailing by the road-side. It was an unforgettable heart-wrenching scene.

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  • HarderTruths:

    Haigen-diaz:
    Bro, you bring back painful memories.

    Remember the Orchard car-park, Cuppage, Hillstreet and many of the bona-fide hardworking hawkers that roam the streets selling honest to goodness authentic foods? Even ChaiTowKway is more delicious than the one with XO. You can even bring your own eggs! I remember one incident when I saw NEA enforcement officers (Singaporeans?) chopping down a mobile hawker trishaw with the wailing woman hawker wailing by the road-side. It was an unforgettable heart-wrenching scene.

    Indeed my friend indeed. As a boy I lived side by side with them and called them uncle and auntie. The best and kindest people who never had enough but gave you what they had without saying a word.

    I was so so proud of these people. Of our Malaysia Cup heroes. Of our Samsui women. Of our bus drivers, conductors, doctors, nurses, teachers, postmen – everyone. Our people.

    All gone. Betrayed. Nothing left to be loyal to or defend. My fight is over.

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    @ Bapak

    Nah. The scary part perhaps is the intellectual level of XO ChaiTowKway is same as a large percentage of Singaporeans.
    If so, we have a real problem.

    Bapak:
    Don’t you agree it’s getting scary when the one who eats XO ChaiTowKway is shortlisted to run the country?

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  • Ng TUC:

    They are going to take over kopitiam so they’ll be the largest food court operator.

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