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Progress of Singapore's UNESCO Hawker Culture nomination

15 January 2019


Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the progress of nominating Singapore's Hawker Culture for UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity; (b) how many Singaporeans have pledged their support pertaining to the nomination; and (c) what more can Singaporeans do to lend support to the nomination.


Minister Grace Fu: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that we will nominate our hawker culture for inscription on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity during his 2018 National Day Rally speech. Our hawker culture is a total cultural experience of the place, the food, and the people, that binds us together as Singaporeans. It is an integral part of our daily lives, our collective experience, and our national identity.  

2. The National Heritage Board (NHB) is putting together the materials for Singapore’s bid, which will be submitted to UNESCO in March 2019.   A 14-member nomination committee, with representatives from the public, private, and people sectors, was also established in September 2018 to guide our efforts to secure a successful inscription.  This committee will continue its work until the result of the nomination is known in late 2020. 

3. Support from the community will be crucial for us to secure a successful inscription. The NHB, National Environment Agency (NEA) and Federation of Merchants’ Association, Singapore (FMAS) have been raising awareness and gathering support from Singaporeans and the wider society for the nomination.  

4. The nomination has received widespread support from Singaporeans from all walks of life. As of 7 January 2019, there have been almost 220,000 pledges of support for the nomination made online, through our travelling exhibition, and at pledging stations at hawker centres, public events, schools, libraries, museums, and other public spaces. In addition, more than 8,000 pledge cards have been collected where Singaporeans expressed why hawker culture is so important to them.

5. The community – including schools, businesses, and other groups and organisations – has also stepped forward to support the nomination.  For example, students from the Singapore Management University, Temasek Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Pei Chun Public School and First Toa Payoh Primary School, among others, have submitted letters of support, initiated student projects to increase appreciation of our hawker culture, and volunteered their time to engage Singaporeans at the traveling exhibition. The Singapore Business Federation, Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Community Development Councils and the Eurasian Association, have also pledged support for the nomination. Our hawker associations and FMAS have also submitted letters of support.

Last Updated: 16 January 2019

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