Every day, more than 6,000 prepared food vendors produce a range of delicious dishes in about 110 hawker centers here.
Now the rich Hawker culture of the island is nominated for inclusion on the Unesco list of representatives of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced yesterday.
If the bid is successful, the Hawker culture of Singapore will join the Malaysian Mak Yong theater, Kelantan, Indonesian batik and India's yoga on the world stage. Started in 2008, the list with about 400 elements, wants to demonstrate the diversity of world heritage and ensure its protection.
In his Mandarin speech at the National Day Rally, Lee Lee called in the community dining rooms & # 39; from Singapore, adding that it is a cultural institution and a unique part of the country's heritage and identity.
He also described the inscription of the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a Unesco world heritage site in 2015 as a proud moment for the country.
By placing the Hawker culture of Singapore on the intangible list of cultural heritage, "this unique culture will be protected and promoted for future generations". He said: "It will also let the rest of the world know about our local food and multicultural heritage."
The organizations that stood for the bid – the National Heritage Board (NHB), the National Environment Agency and the Federation of Merchants Singapore Associations – said that the Hawker culture was chosen because it has shaped the Singapore identity in many ways.
For example, hawker centers act as accessible multi-ethnic spaces where people can feast on a wide range of multigenerational and multicultural food offerings that have evolved over time. The culture is built on the hard work, knowledge and culinary techniques and traditions of peddlers from the past and present.
The street vendors of Singapore started out as migrants who drank their food on streets and sidewalks. They were moved by the government to specially built facilities from the seventies. Hawker centers are still being built and in 2027 a total of 127 hatch centers will mark the landscape.
The nurturing of Hawker culture also emerges in a series of conversations with Singaporeans to discover which aspects of the country's intangible cultural heritage resonate with them. This included an NHB poll earlier this year, with 27 percent of the 3,000 respondents saying food was more important to them than social practices and festivals, and traditional performing arts, each receiving 18 percent.
Countries must show public support for the bid and a website (www.oursgheritage.sg) has been launched for Singaporeans to pledge their support.
In February, Singapore ratified the UNESCO Convention for the protection of intangible cultural heritage as a signatory. This allows the Republic to submit nominations to Unesco. In April, the NHB launched an inventory with 50 elements of intangible cultural heritage that are applied here, which is a criterion for the nomination.
By next month, a committee will be formed consisting of members from the public and private sectors. It will submit the stock exchange listing file to Unesco before March. The result will be announced by the end of 2020.
The offer of an item does not mean that it is an item, comes from or exists only in the country of dispatch.
Peddlers The Straits Times has said that the nomination can give the labor-intensive trade the necessary recognition.
Among them, second generation peddler Loh Teck Seng, 62, who took over the traveling business of his father with the sale of soy milk.
Mr. Loh, who operated a stall on the Tiong Bahru Market, said: "I feel valued and a sense of pride, it can help to increase our position and attract tourists to our stalls." Perhaps new generations of Singaporeans would also like pick up something the trade. "
Cultural geographer Lily Kong, Singapore Cheers from the University of the University, believes that a successful list "reinforces our sense of pride and owns our cultural heritage".
Professor Kong added: "The process is also important, by bringing together Singaporeans to express what it is that matters to us as a people, and what our shared heritage is."
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