Do You Really Need to Wipe Your Table After You’ve Dined in a Hawker Centre?
A recent viral video has stirred up a spicy debate hotter than your favourite laksa. The burning question on everyone’s lips nowadays is this: Do we really need to wipe our tables after feasting at a hawker centre?
The video in question showcased a local diner being approached by two NEA officers.
One officer is seen holding onto the diner’s identity card, jotting down his particulars. The conversation that ensued revolved around the age-old debate of table cleanliness
The officers, in their most official tone, reminded the diner to “clean the table” and not to forget the sacred act of returning his used tray and dishes.
The diner, not one to back down from a culinary confrontation, questioned if he was obligated to wipe away any spillage.
The officers simply replied, “Yes.”
And we were all confused.
Here’s the video:
NEA Clears the Air (and the Table)
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has since clarified the situation.
In a Facebook post that probably garnered more attention than a 1-for-1 bubble tea deal, NEA confirmed that while diners aren’t expected to give their tables a thorough wipe-down, leaving behind a mess is a big no-no.
This includes the remnants of your feast like tissues, wet wipes, drink cans, and even those pesky prawn shells and chicken bones.
Also, it was revealed that the diner had not cleared his glass and drink can when he left the table, leading to a warning.
So, the conclusion is that you won’t need to wipe your table after every meal.
The Rules That Started It All
Earlier in June, the NEA and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said that officers would be on the lookout for diners who treat hawker centres like their personal dining rooms, leaving behind trays, dishes, and litter.
First-time culprits would receive a written warning, but repeat offenders might find themselves lighter in the wallet or even facing court charges.
This move was part of a larger initiative to enforce the tray-return rule, which had been introduced in the past two years.
And for those thinking they can get away with dropping wrappers or tissues on the floor, think again; that’s also against the rules.
In the words of the NEA, “We encourage diners to keep the table clean as a gesture of courtesy to the next diner.”