2 days ago, I went to the popular hawker center opposite Ginza Plaza. Seated in the center of that section facing the carpark, I was undecided as to what to choose for there are so many nice food there. My eyes kept scanning stall by stall awaiting my other senses to signal me to stop at a stall.

3 tables away, porridge was the signal, but there was no one cooking there. “How can it be good“, I thought but my senses said “go for it”.

Now my eyes start searching for the cook. Ha! there is this man in the 30s seated just infront of the stall. He was seated with his legs folded up, eyes scanning for customers.

GOSH ! One of his hands was scratching and picking on his legs and toes and the other on the table. How to indulge in this food? Porridge vanished from my senses. Few minutes later, 2 customers walked there (didn’t see what he was doing) and ordered porridge from him.

Instead of washing his hands, he went straight to cook. Handling the pot and the utensils with his “dirtied” hands didn’t seems any problem but will he need to pick his ingredients in order to cook? I didn’t want to see what will happen next. I left feeling hungry. I cannot bear to report them to the NEA (National Environment Agency). Like those who had seen stalls like this, I will just shun this stall.

Older days, Chinese has a saying “Dirty eat dirty grow big”. Does this still apply in today modern hygenic society of Singapore? Those who had seen stalls like this will probably just shun it.

Although NEA had been suspending hawker for failing to “observe good food and personal hygiene practices at all times” and encouraging the public to call their “24-hr NEA hotline at 1800-Call NEA (1800-2255632) to provide feedback on food hygiene matters“, the fundamental is probably the hawkers’ mindset.

As it involved the health of everyone patronising the stall, insisting that each cook attend some form of education at least once a year will be ideal.

Permanent poster at the hawker center telling the public to report errant hawker will drive the message to them that “the public is watching you, not just for the quality of your food but also what you don’t when you are waiting for customers.