You are reading

Hawker Centres To Go Cashless, Hawkers Respond by Going Tasteless

Hawker Centres To Go Cashless, Hawkers Respond by Going Tasteless

  • Current Affairs
  • Rojak
In response to the news that cashless payments will be rolled out at hawker centres island-wide by The National Environmental Agency(NEA), many hawkers are brushing this off as “stupid”, and have proclaimed their readiness to go on the offensive.

Seah Kwei Peng, a 50 year-old hawker selling Chicken Rice, has started a movement with counterparts across the country, where they promise to serve bland renditions of their signature dishes until the government puts a stop to this cashless nonsense.

“I see my bank account got the numbers, but how I know really in my bank? You give me cashless? I give you tasteless!” Mr Seah said.

“Now 7th month, you see all these ghosts. Die how long already but we still burn kim zua for them. Later I get used to cashless then next time I die how? Learn how to use money again?” he scoffed.

His wife, who runs the business with him, even chimed in: “Last time the taxi driver all go to Uber then learn how to use cashless. Now in the end no Uber they all jobless! Learn for what? No use one!”

In preparation for this tasteless cuisine movement, Mr Seah has cut down on spices and herbs that make his dish what it is.

In the past, he would use about 2kg of garlic for the rice and chilli. Now, he’s uses only 100g. For the chicken, he boils it in plain water and squeezes out the fat to ensure that there will be no taste in the dish at all.

“Tian Tian is the luckiest, they don’t need to change their recipe at all, already taste like that,” an impish Mr Seah cackled.

However, not all the hawkers are finding it so easy to get on board with this rebellion.  

Mdm Halimah Yacob (no relation to our president), a 62 year-old Nasi Padang stall owner, tells us that her passion for cooking and filling empty stomachs might just be too strong for her to water down her dishes.

“Got army camp near here, so every time I see the adik-adik wear uniform come here eat I know they sure hungry, then I always give them extra rendang for free.”

Mdm Yacob painstakingly prepares her dishes from 4am, frying her rempah with a perfect blend of spices so all of her dishes are cooked with a strong and fragrant foundation.

In spite of her reluctance to join the movement, Mdm Yacob has decided to show solidarity.

“No choice la, this one Singapore, everybody do together then can, one person do sure scared. All the old Chinese men tell me to do then I do lor.”

71 year-old Rishi Subramaniam, a Nasi Biryani hawker, feels that the technological advances being imposed on them are unnecessary and ageist.

“Now so old already, how to learn new things? I old dog you know, not new one. Cannot learn so much. I think the government don’t like old people, want us to hurry up and go.”

Selling Biryani over four decades has helped Mr Subramaniam raise his two children, both of whom are working adults who help him out financially.

“I don’t need to work already. If we do this tasteless thing and NEA don’t care, then I can just retire. My children give me money every month, I don’t need to waste my time learning all of this nonsense.”

Make this satire reality by convincing your local hawkers this is a good idea. Let us know how it goes at community@ricemedia.co.

Author

Shaun Tan Staff writer