I second Mr Lim Chye Hai's call to give unlicensed hawkers a chance to make a living by giving them a licence to ply their trade ("Give illegal hawkers a chance to make honest living"; last Friday).
It is not uncommon to see unlicensed hawkers selling curry puffs, roasted chestnuts and tissue paper near our MRT stations.
I once spoke to a woman selling curry puffs. She was a divorcee and said she had to do this to survive as she had three children in school. She believed that food preparation was what she was good at.
Instead of imposing a fine, why not send such people for the food hygiene course which licensed hawkers attend?
Illegal hawking is a social problem. Let us not make the lives of these unlicensed hawkers more difficult, but do something to help them stand on their own two feet and gain some self-respect.
The National Parks Board and National Environment Agency should collaborate to convert these illegal hawkers into licensed food sellers.
Tea kiosks could be built in our parks and leased to them to sell cakes, curry puffs and drinks.
The poor among us need help from the Government, not more obstacles in their struggle for survival.
This article was first published on January 5, 2015.
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