During the recent National Day Rally, PM Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore is submitting to UNESCO a bid to recognise our hawker culture. We hope that it can be on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
If the bid is successful, Singapore’s hawker culture will join the likes of Malaysia’s Mak Yong theatre from Kelantan, Indonesia’s batik and India’s yoga on the world stage. Sounds like a great idea right? Hmmm well not really to some people.
The bitchy comments that we are getting from our friendly neighbours across the causeway have moved from the online sphere to Malaysian chefs. Celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail (above), who is better known as Chef Wan, called it “arrogant behaviour”, reported Malaysian news outlet The Star. “People who lack confidence in their food will go all out to do these things for recognition,” he added.
Woah woah woah. Why so angry siol? The perennial debate about whether Singaporean food or Malaysian food is better has gone on forever. But this is below the belt man. If Malaysia wants to and when they can finally get their act together, they can submit a similar bid to UNESCO too. It’s up to the UNESCO committee to approve what. All these salty comments just reek of jealousy.
Chef Wan used to have a buffet restaurant in Plaza Singapura which has since closed in 2016. It was called 1 Market, you know like “Wan Market”? Hur hur. Apart from bad punning, 1 Market didn’t offer much except an abundance of food that was just meh.
In any case, every country has their own unique food culture. Whether they strive for their food culture to be recognized by the whole world is really up to them. It doesn’t mean that one country’s food culture trumps another. So when Singapore puts in some effort to get its food culture some recognition, no need to get so worked up. Ok friendly neighbours?
And if really so unfriendly, then go apply also and let the UNESCO decide lor.