The Hard Truth about hawker food

In Political economy on 21/10/2018 at 10:57 am

Having read while there seems to be some hanky hanky about the way social enterprise hawker centres are run, the bottom line is that cheap hawker food is an unreasonable demand if the PAP govt is not willing to do something about rentals.

And if S’poreans don’t force the govt to rethink the issue of rentals, then Fishball Story’s Mr Ng is right to say

that Singaporeans should not continue to think that hawker food must be kept at traditionally low prices. When prices increase, hawkers can enjoy better margins and be more motivated to sustain their career “if they see good returns for their hard work”.

“We can start by paying a little more. If you want cheap food, I’ll give you budget-quality food. If you want good, proper food, expect to pay more.”

With the Government putting the pressure on hawkers to keep their food prices down, “there is no way hawkers can survive in the long run”, he added.

S’poreans have to realise that if rents are high, they got to Pay and Pay, juz like for ministers’ salaries, COEs etc.

  1. wikipedia – free market – In economics, a free market is an idealized system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and by consumers. In a free market the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, by a price-setting monopoly, or by other authority.

  2. Depends how serious govt views social impact of cooked / prepared food.

    S’pore society today relies a lot more on buying prepared food as compared to 2 or even just 1 generation ago.

    If govt treats having cheap prepared food as important as public healthcare, then there would need to be overt rent & price controls. No 2 ways about it.

    The economic & social conditions that pushed people into hawking in the olden days is completely different from the economic, social & corporate realities today.

    Just like foodcourt stalls, govt will eventually need to allow 3rd world foreigners (who are willing to accept much lower wages) to operate hawker centre stalls.

  3. Another thing is that .. if the hawker is forced to maintain certain low pricing, he may not find its worth his time even after the rental is controlled at a low rate.. .

    As the commentator ABC say, it would come to a time that 3rd world workers with lower salaries will have to come in and man the stall.

    Or as the Today article mentioned, the govt if seriously want to help the needy they should give food vouchers or rebate vouchers. Not squeeze the hawkers ..

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