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Hawkers at the Block 85 Market and Food Centre in Bedok have noticed bowls and cutlery mysteriously going missing over the past year or so.
The hawkers suspect that customers are responsible, as they may have thrown away the utensils while clearing their trays, 8world News reported.
From Jun. 1, 2021, diners at all hawker centres have been required by law to clear their own trays.
After a three-month advisory period, enforcement action commenced from Sep. 1, 2021, though the policy is not enforced against those who are less-abled, the frail elderly, and the disabled, who are unable to clear their tables.
One hawker said the rate at which bowls go missing has increased since then, from one or two bowls per day previously, to 10 to 20 now.
He estimates that around 300 to 400 bowls have disappeared in the past year, and highlighted the fact that replacement bowls will not come cheap.
Another hawker also noted that chopsticks and spoons were going missing more often. She added that she has started to give disposable cutlery to diners whose seats are further away, as a pre-emptive measure against the utensils not being returned.
She also spoke to the cleaners and requested their help to keep a lookout for the tableware.
The chairman of the Fengshan Hawkers and Merchants' Association told 8world it has indeed received relevant complaints on the issue, and said cleaners have been asked to check if diners have thrown tableware by mistake.
A cleaner told 8world News he has retrieved bowls from the trash and even reminded diners to not throw away cutlery.
But he added that he can only do so if he sees it happening.
On the bright side, diners and hawkers noted that the overall situation at the hawker centre has improved, and there are fewer birds looking for leftovers while cleaners are still occupied with other tasks like cleaning tables and sorting out the returned dishes.
Top image from Google Maps/ Jeffrey Fulgencio
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