HAWKER CULTURE IN SINGAPORE - SINGAPORE'S FIRST INSCRIPTION ON THE UNESCO REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
Hawker Culture in Singapore was successfully inscribed as Singapore's first element on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on 16 Dec 2020. The Intergovernmental Committee unanimously gave their support towards the inscription of Hawker Culture in Singapore.
The two-year long journey was a result of the strong collaboration between the National Heritage Board, National Environment Agency, Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore as well as the public, community and experts who gave their support for the bid.
INSCRIBING HAWKER CULTURE IN SINGAPORE ONTO THE UNESCO REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
To nominate an element onto the UNESCO Representative List, Singapore, as a State Party, had to submit a nomination dossier detailing the following key criteria as set out by UNESCO.
- How it meets UNESCO’s definition of intangible cultural heritage;
- How the potential inscription of Hawker Culture in Singapore increases visibility, awareness and dialogue of intangible cultural heritage;
- How existing and future safeguarding measures ensure the promotion and continued practice and transmission of the element;
- How the nomination effort has involved the widespread participation of the community; and
- The inclusion of this element in our intangible cultural heritage inventory
Singapore’s nomination journey for Hawker Culture in Singapore was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally in 2018, and was proceeded by a 6-month long campaign that sought to garner wide community support for Singaporeans in their support for the nomination. The nomination dossier was officially submitted on 26 March 2019.
An assessment of the dossier was subsequently conducted by a 12-member Evaluation Body, who on 16 Nov 2020, released a recommendation for Hawker Culture to be inscribed as an element onto the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The official inscription of Hawker Culture in Singapore was officially announced at the 15th Intergovernmental Committee held online on 16 Dec 2020.
UNESCO REPRESENTATIVE LIST OF THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) seeks to encourage state party members to identify, protect and safeguard intangible cultural heritage practices around the world.
Singapore ratified the convention on 22 Feb 2018 and as a signatory to the convention, is committed to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage practices in Singapore, such as performing arts and traditional craftsmanship, together with submitting elements for inscription onto the UNESCO Representative List.
ABOUT HAWKER CULTURE IN SINGAPORE
Hawker Culture in Singapore is a living heritage shared by those who prepare hawker food and those who dine and mingle over hawker food in community dining spaces called hawker centres. It reflects our multicultural identity as a people and nation, and resonates strongly with Singaporeans across all races and social strata. It is at the heart of everyday life in Singapore – people from all walks of life gather at hawker centres to dine and bond over food prepared by hawkers.
Visit go.gov.sg/hawkerculture to find out more about Hawker Culture in Singapore.