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Hawker training programme so popular it had to be suspended

Entrepreneurship programme for hawkers popular with diploma holders, grads

"My friends thought that I wouldn’t be able to stand the heat and stand for long hours, but I always wanted to open a stall selling laksa because it is my favourite dish." - Miss Joey Teo (above)
"My friends thought that I wouldn’t be able to stand the heat and stand for long hours, but I always wanted to open a stall selling laksa because it is my favourite dish." - Miss Joey Teo (above)

A career as a hawker is becoming hotter, going by the response that one organisation had to suspend its hawker training programme.

Response from hawker-wannabes was so good that the company had to suspend the programme.

There are no places left in the hawker centre run by Fei Siong Food Management.

It launched its entrepreneurship programme last year to train hawkers and it received more than 60 applications for 18 spots. The trained hawkers were placed in Ci Yuan Hawker Centre at Hougang.

It received more than 40 inquiries even after applications closed last year. Some applicants were from as far away as Australia.

Fei Siong's group managing director Tan Kim Siong, himself a former hawker of 13 years, said: "Most of them are young, with an average age of 30. They include diploma or university graduates."

The selection process is stringent. Factors considered include personality and attitude, said Mr Tan.

"We also made sure that they are aware that (being a hawker involves) a lot of manual work and that the hours are long," he added.

Last month, the programme received the National Trades Union Congress May Day Partnership Award for supporting skills upgrading in the workplace and building a strong partnership with the labour movement.

Under Fei Siong's programme, workers are paid a monthly salary of $3,000 for the first three months before they start their own stalls. If they do not start a stall, they have the option of being deployed to other roles within Fei Siong.

The company owns eateries and foodcourts in shopping malls, including Tangs Market in Tangs Orchard, Malaysia Boleh! foodcourt in Jurong Point and the Eat chain of noodle shops.

One of the hawkers in the entrepreneurship programme is Miss Joey Teo, 27, a former logistics assistant. She is now selling satay beehoon and laksa at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre. (See report at right.)

Fei Siong's entrepreneurship programme is aimed at preserving local hawker food, especially among the younger generation, and Mr Tan hopes to expand the programme to new hawker centres.

The demand for hawker training is likely to grow, especially given the Government's plans for 20 new hawker centres by 2027.

REVIEW

In April, the National Environment Agency announced a committee to review hawker centres and the hawker trade in Singapore.

The committee, which will submit its recommendations by next year, will be proposing ideas to safeguard hawker heritage and attract and support those who wish to enter the hawker trade, such as by having structured training programmes.

Mr Koh Seng Choon, executive director of social enterprise Project Dignity, thinks there will be greater interest in hawker training.

Since 2012, 3,000 people have been trained to be hawkerpreneurs or have taken modular courses by Project Dignity, said Mr Koh.

These courses are recognised by the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications and are subsidised for Singaporeans and PRs.

People who joined the courses include existing hawkers and mid-career individuals who are new to the business, said Mr Koh.

Besides running a stall at hawker centres, they have the option of working in school canteens, industrial parks and foodcourts.

He said: "You won't be a millionaire (if you run a stall), but you can earn a reasonable income."


BY THE NUMBERS

$3,000 Under Fei Siong's programme, workers are paid a monthly salary of $3,000 for the first three months before they start their own stalls.

We also made sure that they are aware that (being a hawker involves) a lot of manual work and that the hours are long.

- Fei Siong's group managing director Tan Kim Siong

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Breaking down Uni tuition fees in Singapore

Local universities have been increasing their tuition fees for their undergraduate courses every year since 2010.

But are the rising costs of tuition fees really a need for concern?

From scholarships to bursaries and study loans, there are a huge variety of financial schemes and assistance which students can apply for to help them with their school fees. 

Singapore citizens automatically get subsidised fees from the Tuition Grant offered by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

You can find out more about the Tuition Grant here

The New Paper breaks down the tuition fees for Singaporeans enrolled in all local universities – National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and SIM University (UniSIM).

SIT and UniSIM provided the fees paid for the entire programmes’ duration, while the other four universities gave the fees per annum.


Tuition fees for popular degree programmes


Infographics by Marie Lim

Tuition fees by school


National University of Singapore

NUS provided the subsidised tuition fees paid per annum.

Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

AY2015/2016: $25,400
AY2016/2017: $26,400
Increase of $1,000

Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music

AY2015/2016: $11,950
AY2016/2017: $12,450
Increase of $500

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100

NUS Business School

AY2015/2016: $9,350
AY2016/2017: $9,450
Increase of $100

School of Computing

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100

Faculty of Dentistry

AY2015/2016: $25,400
AY2016/2017: $26,400
Increase of $1000

School of Design and Environment (Architecture)

AY2015/2016: $8,600
AY2016/2017: $8,700
Increase of $100

School of Design and Environment (Building, Real Estate)

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100

School of Design and Environment (Industrial Design)

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100

Faculty of Engineering

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100

Faculty of Law

AY2015/2016: $12,400
AY2016/2017: $12,500
Increase of $100

Faculty of Science (Pharmacy)

AY2015/2016: $8,800
AY2016/2017: $8,900
Increase of $100

Faculty of Science (except Pharmacy)

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100

Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies

AY2015/2016: $8,950
AY2016/2017: $8,950
No increase


Nanyang Technological University

NTU provided the subsidised tuition fees paid per annum.

Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine

Medicine
AY2015/2016: $32,700
AY2016/2017: $33,200
Increase of $500

Nanyang Business School

Accountancy
AY2015/2016: $9,150
AY2016/2017: $9,250
Increase of $100

Business
AY2015/2016: $9,150
AY2016/2017: $9,250
Increase of $100

Accountancy & Business
AY2015/2016: $9,150
AY2016/2017: $9,250
Increase of $100

Business & Computing
AY2015/2016: $9,150
AY2016/2017: $9,250
Increase of $100

Business & Computer Engineering
AY2015/2016: $9,150
AY2016/2017: $9,250
Increase of $100

College of Engineering

Renaissance Engineering Programme
AY2015/2016: $17,400
AY2016/2017: $17,500
Increase of $100

All other

AY2015/2016: $7,950
AY2016/2017: $8,050
Increase of $100


Singapore Institute of Technology

SIT provided the subsidised tuition fees paid for the entire programme.

Infocomm Technology

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Information and Communications Technology (Information Security)
AY2015/2016: $31,920​
AY2016/2017: $31,920
No increase

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Information and Communications Technology (Software Engineering)
AY2015/2016: $31,920​
AY2016/2017: $31,920
No increase

Chemical Engineering and Food Technology

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Pharmaceutical Engineering
AY2015/2016: $31,920​
AY2016/2017: $31,920
No increase

Design and Specialised Businesses

Bachelor of Accountancy with Honours
AY2015/2016: $27,000
AY2016/2017: $27,180
Increase of $180

Bachelor of Hospitality Business with Honours
AY2015/2016: $27,000
AY2016/2017: $27,180
Increase of $180

Engineering

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services)
AY2015/2016: $23,940​
AY2016/2017: $23,940
No increase

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land)
AY2015/2016: $23,940​
AY2016/2017: $23,940
No increase

Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Telematics (Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineering)
AY2016/2017: $31,920
Past records unavailable

Health and Social Sciences

Bachelor of Science with Honours in Diagnostic Radiography
AY2016/2017: $36,240
Past records unavailable

Bachelor of Science with Honours in Occupational Therapy
AY2016/2017: $36,240
Past records unavailable

Bachelor of Science with Honours in Radiation Therapy
AY2016/2017: $36,240
Past records unavailable


Singapore Management University

SMU provided the subsidised tuition fees paid per annum.

Bachelor of Accountancy

AY2015/2016: $11,200
AY2016/2017: $11,300
Increase of $100

Bachelor of Business Management

AY2015/2016: $11,200
AY2016/2017: $11,300
Increase of $100

Bachelor of Science (Economics)

AY2015/2016: $11,200
AY2016/2017: $11,300
Increase of $100

Bachelor of Science (Information Systems Management)

AY2015/2016: $11,200
AY2016/2017: $11,300
Increase of $100

Bachelor of Social Sciences

AY2015/2016: $11,200
AY2016/2017: $11,300
Increase of $100

Bachelor of Law

AY2015/2016: $12,400
AY2016/2017: $12,500
Increase of $100


Singapore University of Technology and Design

SUTD provided the subsidised tuition fees paid per annum.

AY2015/2016: $11,900
AY2016/2017: $12,400
Increase of $500


SIM University

UniSIM provided the subsidised tuition fees paid for the entire programme.

Accountancy

AY2015/2016: $32,600
AY2016/2017: $33,000
Increase of $400

Finance

AY2015/2016: $30,600
AY2016/2017: $31,000
Increase of $400

Marketing

AY2015/2016: $30,600
AY2016/2017: $31,000
Increase of $400

Human Resource Management

AY2015/2016: $30,600
AY2016/2017: $31,000
Increase of $400

Social Work

AY2016/2017: $31,000
Past records unavailable

Supply Chain Management

AY2016/2017: $31,000
Past records unavailable

First Friends cafe in Singapore to open next year?

Singaporean Lim Jit Min is a huge fan of the TV sitcom Friends and has been to the Central Perk cafe in Shanghai many times

He has been a diehard fan of the popular US TV sitcom Friends since he was 16.

Through the years, Mr Lim Jit Min, now 28, has watched the entire series - which ran for 10 seasons and aired in the US from 1994 to 2004 - 10 times.

From the time he was 19, he even hoped he could open his very own Central Perk cafe one day.

Central Perk is a fictional coffee house that is situated in New York City's Greenwich Village and is featured in almost every episode of Friends. It's also the place where the six protagonists - played by Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer - frequently spend much of their free time at.

Five years ago, Mr Lim visited a Central Perk cafe in Shanghai (below), opened by a Friends superfan.

Speaking to The New Paper over the phone, he said: "I have been there like 10 times. Every time I travel there, I would make it a point to visit the cafe, to just chill and absorb the Friends experience. I did get inspired from visiting the cafe. I thought to myself, 'It would be great if there was such a cafe in Singapore'."

Mr Lim (below) is now making his dream a reality by taking the first step.

In April, he quit his job as a headhunter at a recruitment agency after almost two years to focus his energies on his new endeavour.

He approached six friends to pitch in and he is already in talks with a few investors.

Mr Lim has already registered Central Perk with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) as a business in Singapore and has consulted with the relevant authorities in Singapore regarding any licensing issues regarding the use of the name Central Perk.

He is currently trying to raise US$38,000 (S$51,000) on crowdfunding website Indiegogo and he is also making use of this campaign to gauge the demand for the cafe in Singapore.

It would cost Mr Lim and his partners around $500,000, inclusive of rent, renovations and reserve cash.

He said: "Friends really connected with me on a really deep level. When I'm upset, I would watch the show and it would be able to cheer me up a little.

"I've always longed for that kind of place to hang out at and I wanted to be able to open a place to recreate that experience right here in Singapore."

Mr Lim is not afraid that the novelty of Friends has died off, especially as the show ended its run 12 years ago.

He said: "I think that some classics never die. I have two younger sisters, aged 23 and 20, who love Friends and the youngest one loves it more than I do.

"I think this show is brilliant and timeless. It can appeal to someone far away from the intended generation."

Ideally, Mr Lim would like Central Perk to be situated in "the heart of town", but will reveal the location "at a later date when things are more finalised".

He's aiming to open it in March.

He said: "I'm going to recreate the whole ambience in terms of the set-up and interior design because that is the whole essence of it."

He's also confident about the food and drinks he'll be serving, adding: "I'm not at all worried about it tasting bad or anything. I already have a superb cafe menu lined up and it's going to be some of the coolest trending food around."

If and when Central Perk does open in Singapore, it wouldn’t be the first in the world.

There have been pop-up cafes in London, New York City and Sydney to celebrate the anniversaries and milestones of Friends, but they only opened temporarily in 2009, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

However, just like Mr Lim, there are other Friends superfans who have opened up their very own Central Perks in China, Egypt and India.

In China, there are three outlets located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, having opened in 2009, 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Another opened last Christmas in Port Fouad in Egypt and the most recent one opened in May in Kolkata, India.

 

 

Have durian prices spiked?

Vendors predict falling prices, but lower-quality fruit

"In July, people can expect bittersweet Mao Shan Wang, while we will get the bitter ones in august. the quality of the next batch of durians will definitely be better than last month, even though it won’t be as good as those in the past years." — Mr Chia Boon Huat (above), owner of Kong Lee Hup Kee Trading

Durian lovers have been keeping away from their favourite fruit after recent reports of an expected hike in prices, said some durian vendors.

It was reported that weather woes have delayed the king of fruits' peak season, which is usually from June to July.

As a result, customers would have to pay more for durians of lower quality.

Another report indicated that countries such as China, where the fruit has been finding more fans, were competing for the crop, with customers there willing to pay more. But the vendors interviewed refuted this.

TASTE IT: Mr Shui showing a customer a durian. TNP PHOTOS: DALENE LOW

The owner of Kong Lee Hup Kee Trading, Mr Chia Boon Huat, 62, who has been in the business for more than 40 years, noticed a drop in sales after the reports.

He told The New Paper: "Some customers were under the impression that prices were too steep. And unless they are my regulars, they won't call me to check."

Ms Angeline Chong, 45, a teacher, admitted that she had "cut down on my durian dates" from four times a week to just once a week.

"I felt that it was quite pricey. As much as I love to eat durians, I felt the pinch," she said.

At one point, 1kg of the premium Mao Shan Wang cost $22 to $24, compared to $18 last year.

But out of five popular durian vendors approached, three dismissed the price hikes.

Mr Chia said he had started selling this season's crop early last month at $24 for 1kg until last week, when the price dropped to $22.

"That was the first round, and naturally, it can be a little higher," he explained.

By Monday, prices had gone down to $16 for 1kg of Mao Shan Wang and Mr Chia expects it to drop to $13 during the peak season in July and August.

Madam Linda Ang, 50, who works at Combat Durian, which was started by her father, is also confident that prices will come down.

She said: "We predict that it will drop to about $14 or $15 for 1kg of Mao Shan Wang."

Combat Durian currently sells Mao Shan Wang at $16 to $18 a kilogram.

But it will still be a longer wait for customers, as this year's peak season will be a month later than usual due to the bad weather in Malaysia, where the fruit is usually grown.

The first and second harvests of Mao Shan Wang, which come primarily from Pahang, Malaysia, were also not as bountiful as in previous years.

Mr Chia admitted that this year's quality of durians is not as good.

"It is not as fragrant and the flesh is not as creamy," he said.

A vendor, who wanted to be known only as Mr Shui, 57, said: "There was a drought in Malaysia in March and the flowers all died.

"For the first harvest, we collected only 20 per cent. That shows how low the yield of quality durian is."

GOOD NEWS

But "there is hope" as the durian trees are still bearing fruit, said Mr Chia.

And the good news is that durian lovers will have two months, instead of the usual one month, to feast on varied crops.

"In July, people can expect bittersweet Mao Shan Wang, while we will get the bitter ones in August," said Mr Chia.

"The quality of the next batch of durians will definitely be better than last month, even though it won't be as good as those in the past years."

A spokesman for Ah Di Dempsey Durian, which has been in operation for the past 30 years, said the price of durians can be unpredictable as it depends on the weather.

He said: "What can I do? I depend on the weather for the durians."

Wing Chun master Dennis Lee may open school in Singapore

Wing Chun master, Dennis Lee.

One of the disciples of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Ching, Mr Dennis Lee, has plans on opening a school in Singapore.

Mr Lee, 45, was in Singapore earlier this month at the invite of a group of Wing Chun enthusiasts who brought him here for a group training session with them.

The Wing Chun master, who lives in Hong Kong, said he is exploring opening a school that will be called Dennis Lee Ving Tsun Martial Arts Association (Singapore).

He is now teaching at Ving Tsun Athletic Association founded by grandmaster Ip Man and Ving Tsun Ip Ching Athletic Association founded by himself and a few fellow disciples of grandmaster Ip Ching in Hong Kong.

 

 

Wing Chun is a martial art that does not use brute strength but relies on using the opponent's strength against them instead.

With a history of over 300 years, it is said to be created by a Buddhist nun for self defense against opponents who are bigger and stronger.

Notable people such as Ip Man and Bruce Lee have used this form of martial art.

Wing Chun is now known to many after the three-part movie franchise, Ip Man.

Mr Lee was scouted to teach Zhang Jin, who acts as the rival of Ip Man in the third part of the movie.

Mr Lee told The New Paper: "Zhang Jin was trained in Tai Chi, where the principle of being able to relax is the same. That was why he was able to pick up Wing Chun quickly."

Movie Review: Te3en

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeBCB5ERnps

Bollywood legend Amitabh

Bachchan's sincerity in his latest performance will tug at your heartstrings.

A remake of the 2013 Korean movie Montage, Te3n revolves around a grandfather's (Amitabh) quest to get justice for the kidnapping of his granddaughter, which resulted in her death eight years earlier.

He sits in the police station every day asking for new leads on the unsolved case that has since been closed, and rides all around Kolkata to look for clues on his rickety old scooter.

Don't expect dance sequences and upbeat songs from this crime thriller.

Te3n does not stumble into predictable territory and keeps you at the edge of your seat, even making you gasp just before the start of the second half.

Rating: 3/5

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2 (NC16)

Can someone please help this family move out of their house?

Not because it's the obvious thing to do, but because at a certain point, we really start to pity the Hodgsons.

In The Conjuring 2, single mother Peggy Hodgson (Frances O'Connor) and her four children are haunted by a poltergeist in their Enfield home in London, prompting paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to intervene.

Director James Wan, a veteran of the horror genre, has no problems torturing his viewers with tension before unleashing hell.

What is even more terrifying is that he takes care to develop characters to root for, then proceeds to exhaust them with endless horrors.

Rating: 3/5

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