Hawker Culture of Singapore Gets UNESCO Recognition

Hawker Culture Singapore

“Hawker” culture of Singapore has been recently recognized by the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and is now included in the UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. The list of intangible cultural heritage also includes Yoga, Chinese Calligraphy, and Flamenco.

What is Singapore’s Hawker Culture?

  • As reported on the https://ich.unesco.org/, Hawker culture of Singapore is a community dining and culinary practice. Under this practice, a variety of food, hawker food, is prepared by hawkers for people who dine and mingle at hawker centres.
  • These hawker centres are ‘community dining rooms’ where people from different backgrounds group and enjoy dining over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Activities like busking, chess-playing and art-jamming also take place at the hawker centres.

Also, Read: Selection Criteria for UNESCO World Heritage Sites

More Information About Hawker Centre Culture and Its Origin

  • Hawker Centres in Singapore offers a variety of local and Asian Cuisines. These centres were set up by the Singapore Government as an alternative to street-side outdoor dining places in order to maintain hygiene.
  • Commonly shared table chairs, permanent stalls in place of mobile food carts were provided by the government.
  • Also, the government enacted the Hawker licensing law for full elimination of the street hawker in the city.
  • The Hawker Centre Culture originated in 1950-60s in the urban areas of Singapore because of rapid urbanization.
  • The hawker centres were introduced for addressing the eliminate the unhygienic food sell by unlicensed street hawkers.
  • Singapore’s Hawker Centres are owned by the Government bodies.
  • The three key Government bodies that own the Hawker centres are
    the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, Housing and Development Board; JTC Corporation, and National Environment Agency.
  • Several schemes have been launched by the Government of Singapore such as Hawkers’ Development Programme to help Hawker centres.

Where else you Can Find Hawker Culture?

The Hawker Culture is not only part of Singapore but also is seen in countries like Australia and Hong Kong.

What is the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO?

As per Wikipedia, an intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, expression, representation, knowledge, or skill considered by UNESCO as a part of a place’s cultural heritage. Intangible heritage includes nonphysical intellectual wealth, such as traditions, folklore, language, customs, knowledge and beliefs. Intangible cultural heritage is considered by UNESCO member states in relation to the tangible World Heritage that focus on intangible aspects of culture.

Wrap Up

In the year 2019, the Government of Singapore submitted a nomination to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for considering its Hawker Culture. UNESCO has officially accepted Singapore’s Hawker Culture into its Intangible cultural heritage list.

Have you ever had a chance to experience the Hawker Culture of Singapore?

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