Singapore

Hawkers welcome expert panel's recommendation

For Mr Ganesh Singh, who has been selling teh tarik for more than 30 years at Tekka Centre, the expert panel's recommendation for Singapore's hawker culture to be included on the Unesco intangible heritage list is a "dream come true".

The 54-year-old, who was featured in a video produced last year as part of the country's nomination submission, said there were no words to express his feelings. "I took a big breath when I heard the news. It's an honour. With recognition, youngsters will join us and make sure hawker culture retains longevity," he said yesterday.

On Monday, the 12-member evaluation body appointed by the Unesco intergovernmental committee (IGC) released its report recommending the inclusion, drawing cheers from stakeholders of Singapore's hawker culture.

Officials from the National Heritage Board, National Environment Agency and the Federation of Merchants' Association (FMAS) had begun collaborating on the bid since 2018.

Monday's decision was vindication and a tentative victory as they looked forward to the final decision to be made by the intergovernmental committee next month.

FMAS vice-president and chairman of the Boon Lay Hawker Association Anthony Low, 52, said the news was both an "affirmation" and an "encouragement".

FMAS president Yeo Hiang Meng said: "Our hawker members are very proud of our nomination. We hope the IGC decision in December will be a favourable one, which will bring about more awareness of our hawker culture internationally, and acknowledgement for our hawker members' dedication towards their craft." - THE STRAITS TIMES

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