Ho Ching urges S'poreans to stop 'coming up with all sorts of excuses' to avoid clearing tables at hawker centres

Enforcement action kicks in at hawker centres today for those who do not clean up after themselves.

Zhangxin Zheng | September 01, 2021, 12:25 PM

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Starting from today (Sep. 1), diners at hawker centres will have to ensure that they leave clean tables behind after having their meals.

Otherwise, they will face enforcement action which includes a written warning or a fine.

The enforcement action starts from Sep. 1 after an advisory period which lasted for three months, between June and August.

No "excuses"

On Sep. 1, Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching took to Facebook to urge people in Singapore to channel their creativity into thinking of ways to keep hawker centre tables clean instead of finding reasons not to do so.

Ho, who is also the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, wrote:

"Come on, lah, folks!

Coming up with all sorts of excuses not to clean up after ourselves at hawker centres, food courts and coffee shops?

Very creative, but better to direct the creativity to finding ways to clean up better, and leave a clean table after we have finished our makan."

Ho also shared a post from the National Environment Agency (NEA) which stated that the elderly persons, persons with disability and children aged under 12 will not face enforcement action if they are unable to clear their tables.

NEA added that these groups of people are typically unable to order their own food or require some form of assistance, and so they will likely have someone accompanying them at the hawker centres who can help remove the litter on the table and clear their trays on their behalf.


Most of the comments on Ho's post echoed her sentiments, with some saying that exceptions should not be made for able-bodied elderly and children who can clear their own tables.

Others suggested that the tray return facilities can be improved further.

Here are some examples of the discussion:

Screenshot via Ho Ching's Facebook post.

Screenshot via Ho Ching's Facebook post.

Screenshot via Ho Ching's Facebook post.

NEA looking into improving workflow for cleaners and adding facility

NEA is now in consultation with stakeholders such as the Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) to look into ways to improve the table-cleaning workflow and tray-and-crockery return point management.

The agency will be adding more trays and tray return racks progressively at hawker centres. Currently, there are 900 racks placed at hawker centres for diners to return their dirty trays and crockery.

When necessary, the agency will also add more waste bins and wash basins.

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Top image by Jane Zhang and via Temasek Facebook