SINGAPORE HAWKER CULTURE: A WEBINAR SERIES
HAWKER CULTURE AND SOCIAL SPACES IN SINGAPORE
Hawker Culture in Singapore reflects a living heritage that resonates with people from all walks of life.
In celebration of the successful inscription of Hawker Culture onto the UNESCO Representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in December 2020, the National Heritage Board has organised a webinar series on Hawker Culture.
This second and final session (“Hawker Culture and Social Spaces in Singapore”) in the series explores the relationships between Hawker Culture and social spaces in Singapore, and how this can play a role in promoting community identity and fostering inter-cultural understanding and appreciation in Singapore’s context.
Four speakers gave presentations on their research followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session with webinar participants. The topics discussed included:
The Hawker Centre and the Kopitiam
by Dr Lai Ah Eng
Making Space for Hawker Heritage
by Dr Kevin Low
Hawker Culture in Tangible and Intangible Forms
by Prof Ho Puay-peng
From Regulating Hygiene to Feeding Communities
by Mr Justin Zhuang
Panel Presentation 1
Dr Lai Ah Eng
Adjunct Senior Fellow Associate,
University Scholars Programme,
National University of Singapore
The presentation tells a story of social life in Singapore through two particular and related features of Singapore – the hawker centre and the kopitiam (coffeeshop). It will examine their evolution in the following aspects of the hawker centre’s and kopitiam’s socio-cultural distinctiveness and diversity: 1) foods, 2) peoples (owners, stallholders and workers, and customers, 3) social-cultural activities and politics, and 4) economic competition and connections. In doing so, the presentation explicates the historical, social and cultural evolution of both as sites of Singaporean multiculturalism that is derived from the continuous inputs and interactions of generations of immigrants, entrepreneurs and customers over time.