Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hawker Fare, Not Food Court Or Restaurant Cuisine

You know this guy hasn't stepped into a hawker center except during election time when he says things like, "It's not as if anyone can just walk off the street and say I'm going to make the world's best char kway teow. There's an element of training, exchanging of best practices and recipes. And we need in a way to professionalise our hawker centres and our hawkers." Maybe he's like the keechiu general who only partakes $10 chye tow kuay (fried carrot cake) flavored with XO Sauce.

Lesser mortals don't need GPS guided instructions downloaded on an Android smartphone to track down a hawker centre with a tasty equivalent costing $1.50, and which does not require costly infusion of exotic foreign condiments.

When Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishan made the call that hawker centres should be professionalised, and future hawkers should undergo training, he must be thinking that he still has access to the blank checks he was issued for the YOG blowout. Who's going to pay for the training centers, the professional trainers? How many plates of char kway teow must the poor hawker sell to recoup the training fees and certification costs?

The 10 new hawker centres that will be built in new housing estates from October should be opportunities to create employment for the lower income group, those that do not have the paper qualifications or technical skills for a better paying job. They are not the types likely to install a CCTV at their stall to make sure customers don't bitch about ter kwa in their bak chor mee, when they ne'er say they didn't want ter kwa in the first place. Balakrishnan may be used to fellow parliamentarians (still) undergoing on the job training at taxpayers' expense, but self respecting hawkers earn their honest keep by the sweat on their brows because they know how to cook without having to take cooking lessons in France, unlike some under-worked over-paid permanent secretaries.

The Environment and Water Resources Ministry has appointed a panel to spearhead the public consultation exercise for what future hawker centres should be like - they better not engage some external consultant on the sly like Gerard Ee did for the Ministerial Salary Review sham. What we don't want is another lavish spending exercise which adds unnecessary overheads to simple hawker fare. Anyway, who knows better about affordable good hawker food like us Singaporeans born and bred?

47 comments:

  1. Classes in Mandarin, Melayu, English, Teochew, Cantonese? Got exam or not, certification, accreditation? Full time course, part time? I'm jumping the gun here. Trainers for hawkers accredited or not, that's the important question? Edutrust anyone? Sigh, so complicated. Sure takes a full minister to see it thru

    ReplyDelete
  2. Time to setup a training school ;)

    Seems easiest way to make money in Sillypore.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How about a training school for politicians so that we will not end up with duds like him?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought there was one all along for PAP members with the so called 'bright ones' like Vivian, TeoCH, NgEH, LuiTY, ChanCS, LimSS, etc, being selected for the express stream and mentored by LKY.

      But as for TinPL, Vikram, BaeyYK, LeeBW, IreneNg, Puthu, etc, I believe they are from the normal stream.

      Essentially the majority are duds which explains why the GRC system is imperative for the PAP.

      In a Nigerian Scam, the victims give money but get nothing in return.

      In a GRC system, the victims give votes but get duds in return.
      But they are worse-off because taxpayers money go to the duds for the next 5 years.

      ps: if only the 60% learn to see this.

      Delete
    2. So it's not WP CSM who set up the Nigerian Scam, it's the PAP headed by their 2 headed hisssss.
      Singapore died the day Toh Chin Chye stepped down. If he had stayed on, and helped by Goh Keng Swee, we definitely will have good ministers. With LKY? You only get dogs and just look at the integrity of the man....same rank as the hisssssss set up by Satan to tempt Adam

      Delete
  4. Appoint a panel? Think Singaporeans have enough of this bullshit. We have panels to review Ministers' salary, we have panel for SMRT screw-ups and so on? Is there anything new from the panels? They just confirmed what the people already knew and has been complaining about. Save the money especially during this uncertain economic climate.

    Hawker centre is the remaining place that locals can have a decent meal without paying through their nose. Leave them alone. Don't add cost to the simple luxury that common people still can enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Panel???
      Perhaps we need a panel-beater to beat some sense into him....or is he thinking of creating a Hawker Ministry with himself as the Minister

      Delete
    2. Wonder what's VB IQ? He's the moron who said 'how much ...meals where? When hawker fares increase, those poor will end up like his 'sacred' cows eating grass except he doesn't worship them. Somebody should set a FB page to petition him out, if the votes hit more than 50% of the electoral he should just quit and walk out.

      Delete
  5. Training centers for hawkers?

    I think we need training centers for Ministers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TC for ministers is called PAP.
      They think they are the best you are convinced to pay the best salary.
      Who's the duds?

      Delete
  6. Sack the Ministers.
    Let's run the country with Review Panels, Committee of Inquiries and Foreign Experts.

    Let Chee Soon Juan ask all the questions that need to be asked.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Aiyo, so simple one, why make it so complicated. Good and cheap we eat, no good and expensive we no eat. Why expensive ministar no understand one?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Let market forces decides who survived in hawkering. Even if the place is in Timbatu, served by a scorning hawker, in a "E" grade stall, I will bet my last dollar that there is a queue IF the food is good.

    No one give a damn to professionalism. IMHO just way to tighten the screws

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree... the government just wants to see if there's any potential to make money selling food. Just look at the $2 stall and NTUC food courts. If there's good money, very soon everything will be monopolised.

      Some individuals who used to own and run their own food stalls are now employees. Quality of food also lowered because these individuals are no longer reaping 100% of profit from more food sold. Their wages are low otherwise they will be replaced by FTs.

      The other industries that the government hardly has a presence but has eyed on are the funeral and pawn businesses.

      Delete
  9. The hawker food in Singapore is not broken.
    No need to fix.

    1.The train system is broken.
    2.The flood prevention system is broken.
    3.The car population control system is broken.
    4.The school system is broken. Cannot deliver without support from private tuition.
    5. and etc.

    Are deaf frogs also dumb & blind?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the Immigration system
      And the Foreigner Recruitment system
      And the Country's political system
      And the National Service system
      And the Healthcare system
      And the list goes on

      Delete
  10. /// They are not the types likely to install a CCTV at their stall to make sure customers don't bitch about ter kwa in their bak chor mee, when they ne'er say they didn't want ter kwa in the first place. ///

    Ah, but you forgot - they want hum in their mee siam.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nowadays you don't just find anyone walk off the street. You find PRCs walking off planes making roti pratas, biryanis, bak chor mee, hokkien mee, curry (if they can tolerate the smell) etc. Maybe he means these people who need training, professionalising and all the bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they can teach the Ministers there are many ways to skin the dogs, prick the monkey brains and peel the python skin. Such exotic cuisines can only be concocted by hare-brained people like him. Better his ministry go screen them for salmonella or ecoli germs carrier b4 dishing out his licenses.

      Delete
  12. The guy might have been inspired by some ex perm sec's memorable experience at Le Gordon Bleu culinary school. Talking about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that. Well said!

      Delete
  13. I don't know what on earth is this Minister talking about when he say "exchanging best practices and recipes"?!!! Indeed, when was the last time he ate at one? Since when does hawker A share his recipes /best practices with hawker B or hawker C? This is not an MNC or countries where all they do is steal and learn from other countries, claim it as their own and say is the best solutions. When all the western solutions ran out of good examples, they ran out of ideas, and breathe down the necks of opposition parties & pre-u students to give them solutions!!! What the fxxxk are they for?

    And what's the intention and agenda behind giving away your generational recipes for all the bak chore mee and char kway teow to??!! Bark Off, Vivian Bala. Go back to your optical practice if your eyesights have failed you over the years to see what's really going on in the ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To add on to Vivian's bright idea, hawkers will form professional learning communities, WITS teams, and undertake periodic projects to improve and ungrade their hawker centre. Also have sessions to boost morale and commaraderie. Anything else the public service like to transfer to hawkers? Annual ranking exercise perhaps. KPIs include cleanliness, net revenue, customer oriented service among others. That surely will help in improving hawkers' professionalism.

      Delete
  14. A country that is obsessed with KPI and forgets why its there at the 1st place'

    eg:
    1. polyclinic, do we still have locally trained doctors there to consult ? What is the purpose of polyclinic ? To provide affordable health care not sub standard cheap care. Go visit the polyclinics and count the number of foreign doctors there. Not sure if they are as good as locally trained ones but they are cheaper.

    2. Education, meeting the KPI for good grades. But do they really care about holistic education ? Not at all, its all about meeting the KPI of good grades and getting this and that awards.

    The weaker kids are left behind or forgotten. Look at all the tuition centres sprouting around, they are thriving. Doesnt it reflect how " successful' with our schools ?

    Educations its not about expensive ipads or infrastructure but rather nurturing individual kids and their talents. It takes at least 20 years to train up a kids. MOE has already done it for 46 years and the MIW says we need foreign talents. What has been MOE doing? Shouldnt they be responsible for this ?

    We need to know that everyone makes mistakes and failure is the mother of success. We need acountability and transparency. Even if MIW makes mistakes, its ok, but we must make it right again. Not sweep them under the carpet.

    I hope they will realise it before its too late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree. Take NTUC for example, it was set up to give workers an avenue to purchase reasonable priced essential items. It is meant for workers and by our own trade union. Now see what happens, NTUC abandon the idea of employing locals and set up recruitment centres in China. Something is obviously wrong!

      Delete
  15. I think most of us would agree that hankering is an honest dignified job.
    And if Mr VB thinks his vision of turning them into a super-duper "food trails of the world" means going two upmarket than say the Food Republic types, where there are fanciful designs and seats, but the food also cost $8 & upwards, and a cup of fruit juice is filled up with half of the ice cubes with little juice that cost $3..he can forget it!!

    If his idea of being run by a co-operative (presumably ntuc) again he can forget it. One just have to look at how miserable the Union-full-with-biting-teeth has been doing to the low wage workers (ahem, practically nothing in the past decades !!) you don't need to join one to become another batch of lowly depressed wage workers with low morale and productivity!!! Don't add yourselves to become their digit. Instead, fry your way to add to your own income digit instead. The lesser the govt interfere, the better it is for the hawkers and the people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said. Something is best to be left alone. Hands off VB. Not everything must be managed.

      Delete
  16. Aiyah, what can the panel come up with that I can't do it here?
    - Add more busking activities
    - Add more foot massage outlets
    - Add more fountain/water features around the facilities
    - Add more stalls etc to convert into another mini clone malls where families can eat, shop and be merry.
    ANd how much are the panel paid for?!! Another million dollars?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Is the Pro Alien Millionaire planning to set up a Hawker Training University?

    a.Where is the money going to come from?
    b.How much will it cost?
    $3 million
    $30 million?
    $300 million?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Mai Hum' hawker training university comes to mind, of course the patron will be LHL.
      On second thought, the elites will not be comfortable with the label 'university'

      Delete
    2. With this guy's track record, whatever budget he's given, he'll over spend it by 3 or 4 times!

      Delete
  18. Poor Singaporean6/05/2012 12:39 PM

    He's talking cock.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "There's an element of training, exchanging of best practices and recipes."

    Is he talking about exchanging best practices with Mentor Millionaire?

    Never mind.
    We know where that got us.
    Over the last 10 years.

    ReplyDelete
  20. "but self respecting hawkers earn their honest keep by the sweat on their brows because they know how to cook without having to take cooking lessons in France"

    When I was young, hawkers who could really offer delicious food at reasonable price could really attract loyal customers for years thus able to earn a decent living to raise a family of more than 3 or more children. Cost of living wasn't so high then.
    Now, at high rental foodcourt, food served is "so-so" & expensive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes.
      And now they want to "train" our hawkers.
      How much will they charge the hawkers for the training?
      And the annual re-certification?

      And then the hawkers will now have to make us pay more to cover their "training" fees.

      Delete
  21. Excellent piece! Precise and sharp blows with the same appropriate force at the right places! Brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  22. “’The person who contemptuously speaks about immigrants could also be capable of turning against the minorities here at home”. VB

    The same hyperbole coming out from this Minister is mind-boggling.
    Only goes to show why ISA should be abolished with this kind of politicians still around within the cabinet. Let alone the quality of his thinking and action he wants responsibility for on the livelihoods of the peasants.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Vivian Bala specialty is really talking cock and singing song. Nothing more than that. For that, he is paid millions with taxpayers monies!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Maybe this guy sensed there is some money to be milked out of all the rich or poor hawkers, another additional source of revenue to pay for :-

    a) more Teochew porridge ?
    b) next election Ang Pow ?
    c) additional Ministers' bonuses in lieu of Gerard Ee's wayang pay cut ?
    d) all of the above ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Answer: All the above?

      Delete
  25. this guy obviously grew up with a gold spoon on his mouth, never eaten at a hawker center before so dunno how it works.

    the reason why the food culture in other countries thrive and ours died is because of over regulation. just leave things along and everything will be fine!

    but then again, illegal hawkers dun pay rent or taxes so figure it out

    ReplyDelete
  26. Here everything need to be legalized and control. Reason is to make more money. This greedy regime only talks abt money. So money faced! Pathetic. Sigh. No wonder our country is going downhill with such retards around. Gone case lah!

    ReplyDelete
  27. "There's an element of training, exchanging of best practices and recipes...."

    Must be stupid. Who will share their secrets of success with you?

    Did Mentor Millionaire share his secrets with you?
    Look at how well trained you turn out to be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ya lor , Damn stupid statemt!
      who will share their secret recipes, especially
      when it can command a price??
      remember the recent roast duck/char siew store
      going for million $$ bidding.

      Delete
  28. Stumbled upon your blog...must say you are breadth of fresh air!

    I've left spore 11 years ago and I'm glad I made the move!

    Perhaps the signature dish of the training centre for your hawkers of the future should be Mee Siam Mai Hum...that is if lee junoir could be persuaded to reveal the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I suppose if professional lackeying can be a lucrative job, then a trained hawker isn't so far off

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete