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KF Seetoh urges Ministers for tangible support for hawkers beyond mere appearances

Food critic KF Seetoh criticizes PAP ministers for mere appearances at ABC Brickworks Market, urging a tangible commitment to support hawkers. He advocates rent reductions and collaboration with delivery services for discounts during these challenging times.



SINGAPORE: Business at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre has experienced a noticeable decline, following  news reports of active tuberculosis (TB) cases in the area emerged earlier this month.

the Ministry of Health (MOH) on 5 January announced a mandatory TB screening, which residents, as well as stallholders and employees at ABC Brickworks, are required to attend.

Report from state media CNA indicate that the public perception of TB as a deadly and highly contagious disease has led to a significant drop in customers, with business plummeting by half.

One stall assistant even likened the current situation to being worse than the Covid-19 period.

To show solidarity with the affected hawkers, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor, and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng paid a visit to ABC Brickworks for lunch and coffee.

In a Facebook post, Minister Fu acknowledged the challenges faced by the hawkers and encouraged locals to support them.

“We could not resist getting chicken rice, fried Hokkien mee, roast duck, popiah, carrot cake, dumpling soup and many more to share,” wrote Fu.

“If you are in the Bukit Merah area and looking for affordable good eats, why not drop by ABC Brickworks Food Centre to show support to our hawkers?” she added.

However, the ministers’ supportive actions have faced criticism from KF Seetoh, a Singaporean food critic and founder of Makansutra.

In a recent Facebook post, Seetoh shared a screenshot from a Mothership article titled ‘Grace Fu, Amy Khor & Baey Yam Keng visit ABC Brickworks to support hawkers’.

Mr Seetoh discouraged the ministers from merely showing up and dining at the hawker centre, suggesting that such acts primarily serve to generate media coverage.

He urged the ministers to demonstrate a more substantial commitment to assisting the hawkers by reducing their rents during this challenging period and collaborating with delivery companies to provide discounts.

“…and arrange your obedient national media to blitz the hawker cte’s offerings, like that rare Hokkien cze cha stall in Singapore..then go hold your press conference and get claps for it.”

For Mr Seetoh, the act of visiting a hawker centre is insufficient, as he pointed out, “Telling us what you ate there is nice but ermm…”

Ministers urged to focus on more pressing matters over media spotlight

Responding to Mr Seetoh’s Facebook post, netizens echoed his concerns, urging ministers to focus on more pressing matters rather than seeking media exposure.

They emphasized a practical approach, suggesting support for hawkers through rent reductions or subsidies during challenging periods.

Calls to end bidding practices for hawker stalls

Mr Seetoh has been a long advocates for hawkers amidst rising cost of living and high rental challenges.

In 2021, KF Seetoh once slammed the National Environment Agency (NEA) for raising the rent of hawker stalls amid challenging times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, he highlighted the challenges faced by hawkers due to the pandemic, with online shopping reducing offline sales, and dining restrictions limiting the number of customers.

Ongoing conversations within the Singaporean community have revolved around the challenges of operating a hawker stall in the city-state.

Many of these hawkers grapple with the escalating costs of food and materials, not to mention the burden of high rental fees.

Despite the inflation, most hawkers are hesitant to increase their prices, fearing the loss of customers to competitors and drawing criticism from the public.

In 2022, KF Seetoh has fervently urged the NEA to eliminate the bidding process altogether.

His proposition entails establishing a fair rental system that rewards deserving individuals based on criteria such as menu variety, culinary talent, and commitment to preserving Singapore’s unique food culture.

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How about free tickets to Ge Tai for residents? Or London opera show?

All fws , fts and prs should be made to go for TB tests regularly…esp those from countries where the disease is prevalent..

This greedy sgov cause the problems that make our homegrown hawkers “die” out…
Now so yaya asking sgs to go eat there to support the hawkers..
Its not only at one hawker ctr…its happening at many hawker ctrs…stalls and shops vacant..
These mil$ ministars and their greed are to blame!

Someone need to ask Vivian and Grace F. How much water and electricity they consume.

Hello, how come Lim Tean never visit our hawkers?

Many years ago, there was a mnc across the road that had TB case found in a PR and mandatory screening led to several being found to be positive via a Mantox test which is quick and easy and cheap. This tests can detect Latent TB hiding inside the body. If only all foreigners before they enter sg are made to go thru this quick test, where results show in 24 or 48 hrs , there could be better control of TB?

Opposition leaders should check with a medical professional like Paul Tambyah who can verify what I say.

maybe we should make Seetoh the PM pr prez instead. but gerry’s mandering rules.

This matter is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many other pressing issues in Singapore citizens faced that pee air pee choose to handle with mere lip services. Get use to it.

He is 100 % right. The rental costs of hawkers must be brought down and during a period like tuberculosis being identified, only a percentage of the rental fee should be collected. HDB is govt. owned and funded by taxpayers. So if the rental is capped, food can be sold cheaper to the residents.

No way am I going to patronize and support the hypocrite hawkers.
They are just waiting to fleece you!

When business good – Walau eh yaya papaya
When business not so good – cry father cry mother seetoh to the rescue!I

Homecooked food the best.

No hawkers for me. Period.

A regime that’s more of the talk than the actual walk.

Well, one singular “walk” to a hawker centre don’t really count does it, … or does it, in the eyes of the doughnuts and dicks who voted for these wayang kings and queens !!!

Keep calling them out Seetoh, … don’t stop, ever !!!

They need to be told that caring and supporting (purportedly) the hawkers, is not about photo ops but real actions and policies, … that’ll make a difference !!!

Vivian Bolakrishnan, Serve Tea & Cakes from ABC Brickworks, Is It????
Now, Kim Jong Coming????
Coming Coming.
Ask him to buy from Hotel. He buy from Hawker Center not even Restaurant.
Now He Is Coming.
You Deserve it Bolakrishnan.
Take this away, I am putting it on Twitter.
We know how 506 works with you.

Enough lah Seetoh! Can not afford hawker food anymore. Now can only eat 2 times a day………sometimes only once!

Tell the hawkers to learn better cooking…….can’t even cook tar mee properly……all soggy?