Illiterate Elderly Hawkers Who Can’t Offer Delivery Forced To Consider Closing Stalls

Over 70% drop in customers

Like Ah Tee, hawker Goh Peng Huan, 61, struggles with dismal numbers. Together with his partner Anne Tan, 59, he runs the 85 乡村古早蚝煎 stall at Fengshan Centre in Bedok selling fried oyster omelette, carrot cake, bak chor mee and handmade ngoh hiang till 11pm daily. From February to June last year, they had zero income as their hawker centre was undergoing renovations, which were delayed by the pandemic. When Phase 2 (HA) kicked in on May 14, 2021, there was immediately a “drastic drop” in business. Speaking to, Peng Huan’s daughter Desrina Goh, 39, says: “There was a 60 per cent drop in customers. Today was the worst yet, not even 30 per cent of the usual number of customers.”

No online orders, because he can’t read

Delivery is also out of the question for Peng Huan. “My dad is illiterate, so it’s very difficult for him to work with a digital delivery platform. WhatsApp orders are not possible as well, because he can’t read,” Desrina frets. She, too, turned to social media to help her dad. “We have seen the Hawkers United Facebook group by [founder] Melvin Chew helping a lot of hawkers. We hope posting online can help promote hawker food to people,” she says.

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