After Singapore announced new COVID-19 restrictions, diners and foodies started rallying to support elderly hawkers, whose earnings have been affected by pandemic consequences.
The health crisis and lockdown orders prompted business owners to move their operations to online platforms.
However, elderly street vendors are not tech-savvy enough to implement the same strategy. Food critic and Makansutra founder K.F. Seetoh, who has voiced the issues affecting local hawker food vendors, led the charge last week.
K.F. Seetoh wrote on Facebook that small businesses were suffering because diners were forced to stay home.
Additionally, small-time street vendors don’t rely on online businesses either as they cannot pay the high fees charged for food delivery services. “A lot of hawkers, and I mean plenty plenty, are not online nor on anything except a prayer and hope. They still sit there with all their food nicely laid out and prettily lit, waiting for the inevitable to happen,” said the food blogger.
Seetoh asked people to buy meals, groceries, and other products from wet market vendors and hawkers instead of heading to supermarkets, warning that social distancing in supermarkets is difficult.
“Please patronize these silent sufferers,” said Seetoh adding: “Ignore their cranky ways and just buy and eat back home or in the workplace. They will appreciate deep down inside.”
“Look out especially for the less shiny hawkers, those lesser known, unblogged or those you pass by without even thinking or looking at all this while. Help them tide through this one month ahead (I hope only one month),” Seetoh went on.
The Instagram account Where To Dapao (@wheretodapao), created anonymously by a hawker food lover, also joined the cause.
Where To Dapao posts photos of three food vendors every day, asking diners to support their business. It wrote a post about a stall selling popiah and kueh, saying: “We first asked Aunty where her business was affected badly by COVID and she said it was so bad that she had to sell her car just to continue operating her business.”
Internet users have reacted positively to the initiatives and some have said they would buy more hawker food in the coming days.