Preserve the Singapore traditional culture of Ice Cream street hawkers

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Ice cream street hawkers hold licences that are personal to the holder and non-transferable, according to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). They cannot transfer their licence to family members or friends who might want to take over. This has resulted in dwindling numbers and rapid decline of the count of such hawkers on the streets and neighbourhood areas thoughout Singapore. As the license owners are almost all above the age of 50 years old, the license will be non-existent once the owner passed away or simply choose to forgo the license due to old age and ailments that affected their body health. It may be even within a matter of years before such traditional trade disappear for good.

One such example is my mother. She is currently a licensed traditional hawker selling Magnolia ice cream outside Yew Tee mrt station. Both my parents are already close to 70 years old. I have helped them out since my secondary school days more than a decade ago, since attaining the license in 2004. I had previously discussed with my parents that I would like to take over the ice cream hawker when my mother decides to retire in the near future. However, I knew that I could never do that due to the strict regulation and policies in place (eg. Non-transferable license). I grew up learning and appreciating all the different methods of operating the traditional ice cream cart. Therefore, I really hope that such hawkers wont have to come to an end one day.

Singapore is, no doubt, always improving and always progressing. However, the government and authorities have stressed the importance of retaining our national heritage. Isn't traditional ice cream hawkers one of our many food heritage? Why then shouldnt it be discontinued? Does it mean that only those selling ice creams at proper stalls/shops are then the right way to go? In that case, what difference does it make for tourists or even local Singaporeans when there are such ice cream parlours everywhere, which also can be found in other countries? Preserve the tradition is by allowing such old trades to remain on the streets of Singapore.