atans1

Why the Social Enterprise hawker centre model is badly flawed

In Public Administration on 24/11/2018 at 2:40 pm

I used to be agnostic about the Social Enterprise hawker centre model and tot that its problems were caused by the Pay And Pay attitude of the PAP govt, its biz allies and NTUC: Pay And Pay in action

But then I read this on FB (edited for paragraphing):

[T]he idea of a hawker centre operator runs counter to the nature of the business. We forget that hawkers are first and foremost small independent business operators, not employees that serve the greater social good or cause. That’s how ‘hawker culture’ started and it should be left to grow organically as it had for many years. It was never meant to be all things to all people.

By artificially suppressing hawker centre food prices and trying to ‘curate’ and dictate the terms of their businesses, this new model has unintentionally made it harder for them to do what they do best, reasonable food at reasonable prices in a way that makes sense for them. Whatever services that truly support the hawker in his business should be kept but whatever terms or conditions that reeks of unreasonable control or which takes away the hawkers choices should be jettisoned.

The G and these social enterprises have to understand that these hawkers are individuals against the might of a behemoth, they have little bargaining power, so taking the strict legal route is not the way to go.

Just bring the hawker centre back to its roots and let it flourish organically. It was for the hawkers to have a clean and safe operating premise. Just provide that at nominal or reasonable rent and throw in the support services at cost and leave them be. This heavy handedness is killing whatever hawker culture there is left, and then there’d be nothing left to gazette or enjoy. And no CKT worth eating when you want some.

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