In a first for Singapore, the local hawker culture has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
At the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) held online on December 16, the 24-member committee adopted the recommendation by the Evaluation Body to inscribe Hawker Culture in Singapore on the Representative List, as it fulfilled all evaluation criteria.
Singapore was also commended for the active involvement of various communities in the nomination process, preparing a nomination file that highlights an intangible cultural heritage that is thriving in a highly urbanised and culturally diverse environment.
"Hawker culture holds a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans from all walks of life, and is a living heritage that reflects our everyday experience and identity as a multicultural society," said Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.
He also noted that the nomination journey has also brought Singaporeans closer together and instilled a greater sense of pride for the hawker culture.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shared the news in a Facebook post, adding, "The biggest thanks must go to the generations of hawkers for nourishing a nation’s stomach and spirits. This recognition would not have come without their sweat, toil and dedication to their profession."
In celebration of the successful inscription of hawker culture in Singapore, a three-week SG HawkerFest will be launched on December 26. Taking place across three weekends, the festival will allow members of the public to rediscover Singapore’s vibrant food culture and express their wishes for the future of hawker centres.
Through a web application which features an online treasure hunt, participants can complete quizzes at their own time and convenience, as well as share ideas on the infrastructure and features that they hope to see. They will be awarded virtual badges for completed quizzes that can be exchanged for dining vouchers redeemable from a list of 29 participating hawker centres located islandwide.
Other celebratory activities of the SG HawkerFest include a digital video series, a webinar on Singapore’s Hawker Culture and the Hawkers’ Seminar.