Hawkers are heroes because they define our national identity, they create our heritage and culture, and they make us miss Singapore. Whenever I go overseas for a long time, and return to Singapore, the first dish that I eat upon touchdown is always, always bak chor mee—never any fine-dining restaurants—because you can’t find BCM anywhere else in the world.
It is well known that hawkers work very hard. Some of them open at 6a.m. Most of them remain open on weekends and public holidays while we sleep in and conveniently take a walk to the nearest coffeeshop to eat brunch. We often sing praises of diligent people. So why aren’t we singing praises of our hardworking hawkers?
Furthermore, our hawkers have put Singapore on the map for being the first to receive a Michelin star for street food. They work hard to provide us with affordable and tasty food, without expecting anything in return.
In April, Tiger Beer launched its Street Food Movement that showcases three of our very own hawkers in three short films. Now into the second phase of the movement, Tiger Beer is back with two new films that bring to life the heartfelt stories of our unsung heroes, reminding us to show appreciation not just to our beloved local street food, but also to the ones behind them – our hawkers.
In the first film, Mdm Wong Li Er is not merely a hawker selling food to earn a living; she’s also giving out free food to the needy that live around the Pek Kio area where her stall Cambridge Rd. Hong Kong Roast Pork is located. She says, “I don’t have many skills, so I use food to give back to society and the needy. It’s the best I can do. When I see smiles on their faces, it brings me so much happiness.” This is what a hero is.
Being a hawker is not a glamorous occupation, they work ceaselessly, and tirelessly, and yet few people have shown appreciation for their craft and effort into sustaining and keeping our local street food heritage vibrant.
It takes a hero to recognize another hero. Tiger Beer’s Street Food Movement now urges us to show our gratitude to these unsung heroes. Post a photo of your favourite street food or hawker with your “thank you” messages on Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #uncagestreetfood. For all that our hawkers do, it’s time to say thank you.
Apart from expressing your appreciation through “thank you” messages on social media, you can also be a hero by having a Tiger Beer to accompany your favourite street food! Or have it as part of your snacking routine with the limited edition Nasi Lemak Sambal Flavoured Nuts – a collaboration between homegrown brands Camel Nuts and Tiger Beer.
The savoury nibbles come with every purchase of two 500ml cans of Tiger Beer at select convenience stores, while stocks last.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
Photo credit to Tiger Beer.