Is it plausible for youth in the future to shun a hawker centre for their grimy and dirty environment?
A new mockumentary, which premieres Wednesday exclusively on Popspoken, explores one person’s struggle to tell his hipster friends that he goes to hawker centres and his fallout from his clique once they discover he’s not one of them.
The scenario is not too unrealistic: an article predicts hawker culture will die in the hands of millennials because eating habits differ from the baby boomer generation. Although there is a rise in young hawkers today, questions still remain if the legacy of Singapore’s hawker culture will continue.
Government efforts to introduce hawker apprenticeships are also in flux after only 10 percent of graduates from the initial batch are still in business. A hawker centre’s cleanliness is also questionable: in a recent rat-infested food centre, an older and younger patron had different ideas about cleanliness.
The National Environment Agency calls a hawker centre an “enjoyable open-air setting” but this is exactly what irks the friends of Kobe Thiam (played by Barnabas Chua). In the mockumentary, set in 2054, Kobe is not perturbed by the hawker centre setting and enjoys how the food at such placed is cooked “from the heart”.
“When you go to a kopitiam, you just get that simplicity and that’s all I want. It’s so rare nowadays.” – Kobe Thiam
Kobe has to resort to dressing differently and eating in cafes just to fit in with his friends. He swaps his neat shirt and dress shoes for a tank top and slippers before jetting to the hawker centre to eat his fill.
Coming out to his friends as a hawker food eater becomes a challenge as Kobe tries to get his hipster friends – Aspre Soh (Martin Loh), Kapil Chino (Hari Kishan) and Amari Kano (Adrien Chee) – to grasp the identity he has been hiding from them.
The mockumentary highlights some comedy in irony – the four boys share a walk-up in Tiong Bahru and hold freelance jobs in organic yoghurt sales and interior design.
Ultimately, this does not stop the boys from reconnecting with Kobe and realising that their love for each other transcends place and food.
The film is written and directed by Jeremie Lim and produced by Joni Sng, both students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
Watch “Cafe Cult-ure” below:
Do you feel it is possible that the young generation will shun hawker centres entirely? Sound off in the comments below.
Featured photo: Cafe Cult-ure