I read in the main media of this great opportunity to become hawkers in Singapore’s famous hawker culture business. ITE has started a new hawker course to teach and train aspiring young people, very likely armed with degrees or diplomas to become hawkers. This new profession is about the best thing that has happened in Singapore for the young and entrepreneurial Singaporeans since getting a permanent job is quite difficult as most of the jobs were taken up by the 2 million foreign talents working here, and with more coming in to become locals and Singaporeans. New Singaporean graduates are finding it tough competing with these new talents, or is it that employers for some reasons, prefer to hire foreigners instead of Singaporeans, and other than becoming taxi drivers, it is better to become hawkers.
The ITE course, Introduction to Managing a Hawker Business, has attracted 25 aspiring young people to learn this new trade. Among the things that they would learn other than managing a hawker stall would be things like how to source for suppliers and yes, how to formulate a business plan. This is serious business.
I am calling my grandfather to apply to be a lecturer for this course. His experience as a hawker for 50 years, from the time he arrived in this island, with out a penny, with no education, would be very useful to the new trainees that have no clues about running a hawker stall. My grandfather would be able to teach them all the tricks of the trade, including sourcing for suppliers, how to cut operating cost, how to work from 6am to 12 mid night, how to stand frying char kway teow for long hours without going to the toilet.
But there is a caveat. My grandfather would not know how to teach them how to write business plan. Also he would have to conduct his course in Hokien. He had never been to school. He learnt his trade the hard way or what they called, OJT. There was no one to teach him how to be a hawker then, and no hawker courses to learn how to be a hawker.
Hope if he got the job, the highly educated trainee aspiring hawkers would bear with him and be willing to learn from him. Hawker business is not so easy and they don’t teach them in schools or the universities. So my grandfather and his peers would be the best lecturers/trainers for such a course. They had been there and done it, no pure reading by the books.
This poses a new query in my mind. Who are they getting to train these aspiring hawkers, people with experience in being hawkers or text books academics? I am still puzzled by the availability of such experts in the hawker business. Would a Mat Salleh help?
Ok, ok, I am kidding. My grandfather must be 150 years if he is still alive. But hawker business is going to be a new profession for our young people since they no longer can become IT professionals or other professionals in Singapore. This is their best hope to earn a decent living and have a permanent job or profession. Otherwise they would likely be unemployed or underemployed.
The caring govt has come forward to give them a helping hand by initiating such a great course to train them to be hawkers. If not they would not have a clue how to become a hawker. Singaporeans must be taught or they would not be able to do anything on their own. This is like they said, no initiative, cannot think, cannot find out on their own, a product of Singapore’s tuition culture.
My grandfather did not need any tuition or training to become a successful hawker. He would faint if he knows that his class would have highly educated young people with no ideas about how to be a hawker. He would like say, seow.