Malaysians comment on Singapore’s decision to nominate hawker culture for Unesco listing – here’s what they have to say

Malaysians have commented on Singapore’s recent announcement.
The Straits Times

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his speech at the National Day Rally on Sunday (August 19) that the country’s hawker culture will be nominated for inscription into Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

He said they are Singapore’s “community dining rooms” and are a unique part of the country’s heritage and identity.

But Malaysians have taken to social media to have their say.

Some said that hawker centres, and the popular food stalls sited in them, are not exclusive to Singapore:

Others pointed out the various flaws that Singaporean hawker centres have:

There were even others that noted that Penang should be celebrated for its hawker culture instead:

Others opposed the negative response, pointing out that “hawker culture” is different in every country, and as such, it would still be important to commemorate:

Celebrity chefs such as Redzuawan Ismail, better known as Chef Wan, also joined the voice of critics, saying that it was “arrogant behaviour”, The Star reported.

He said: “People who lack confidence in their food will go all out to do these things for recognition. It’s not necessary to announce to the world that you have this or that.”

Another celebrity chef, Datuk Ismail Ahmad, compared the hawker culture between Singapore and Malaysia, saying that while Singaporean hawker culture was usually confined within buildings, in Malaysia it is widespread and could be found in both urban and rural areas.

He said: “That’s the uniqueness of ours compared to theirs. Theirs is monotonous. Their hawker centres are beautiful but tasteless.

“Ours are very original and diverse. If you go to a hawker centre in Malaysia, the food is to die for because of our sensitivity in using fresh ingredients and efforts to sustain the originality of our dishes.”