With all the hype about cleanliness of eating places following the appalling food poisoning event at Geylang Serai temporary hawker centre, I wonder if this will mark an unprecedented improvement of cleanliness standards of Singapore hawker centres. Or will this just be another futile attempt that stops at raising awareness and fear but no meaningful actions taken.
A friend (who is preggy too) recently commented that she rather pays a bit more these days than to eat at hawker centres, subjecting herself to unnecessary risks of food poisoning. Actually I believe many of us visit hawker centres not to save on that few pennies but more often than not, it is because of the wider variety of choices available and also for that occasional craving for our favourite fried kway teow or wanton mee. Some even go to great lengths like queueing forever or crossing the country just to satisfy their desires.
Now I too enjoy hawker food but there are a few things that often bugged me, which always compromised the makan experience.
Cleaners leaving dirty pails on seats while clearing the tables
One can only imagine where else the pails have gone to… and with whatever that is dripping around it, I feel sorry for the next person sitting on that seat. And of course I may be one of them who have unknowingly taken one of those seats. (That is why I never sit on my bed in my outside clothes… only home clothes).
That disgusting piece of cleaning cloth
I am sure everyone knows what I mean when you see that piece of greysish/yellowish fabric goes round the table, spreading the grease and whatever remains around the table rather than getting rid of them (sometimes even dropping a few bits onto your lap). I often wonder if that makes the table cleaner or even dirtier. And let me take your disgust to the next level… don’t you find that sometimes the moment you sit down, you already sense the foul smell that is coming not from the person beside you but from the table in front of you? I am pretty sure it is because of that CLOTH.
Most often than not, I blame it on the previous diners. Why do people have to spit out all the bones and shells and any indigestable bits all around the table? Why do people have to drip their sauces all over?
It is important for you to understand what I am driving at with the table story. This will help you better appreciate the following two points I have below 😛
Diners leaning their arms on the tables
Friends who know me well will realise that I never do that (good training for biceps… haha… try doing that while eating crabs whole night long). I often cringe in disgust when I see children laying their arms and whole head (and their once clean hair) down on the tables. The cleaners should really thank them for helping with their job.
It is not easy for most people to change their habits as I have observed on numerous occasions that 99% of Singaporeans placed their arms & elbows on the tables while eating. But hey, after being nagged at for a long time, even my mum is a now convert!
Diners showcasing all their belongings on the tables
By belongings, I mean WALLETS, HANDPHONES, HANDBAGS (BRANDED!) etc. Similarly, close friends find me paranoid every time I chide them off with my disgusted look.
Me: Aiyo, why you put them on the table! Do you know how dirty…..
Friends: Ok… Ok…
Actually the list goes on BUT if I continue rambling, Me being paranoid will be an understatement 🙂