Sunday, April 05, 2015

Pay Your Good Hawkers Whatever They Want

I came across some of my FB friends who complain incessantly that hawker food is getting terribly expensive. They forgot to mention that they patronise the very good hawker stalls. 

I think we need to rethink our biases. How come no one question you when your salary jumps from RM8,000 a month to RM12,000 a month? Do people immediately say "he/she is too expensive, not worth it". If we cannot see ourselves saying that, ... WHAT gives us the right to say the same shit about very good hawker food stall price hikes???!!!

When we  excel in our "profession" ... you can command whatever you want to charge. Why is hawker food any different? Hawker food IS NOT an essential food group. 

You do not wish to pay RM10 for a plate of charkwayteow at Sisters, then forget about 5-star hotels' RM35 a plate of charkwayteow. You cannot say, its just CKT, ingredients cost only RM1.50, how can they charge so much!!?? You no like, go to a stall that sells RM4.00 a plate. So easy!!! 

NOBODY DESERVES TO HAVE A FANTASTIC PLATE OF CKT IF THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE or even (callously speaking) that they cannot afford the price. Nobody should be bitching about why they cannot afford to go and dine at Cilantro, ... you can afford, you go la... If cannot, go somewhere else. Its a capitalistic world we live in.

If I make a damn good CKT, I might eventually charge RM20 a plate, take it or leave it. I have the skills, experience and sense of cooking. I might sell fewer plates but so be it. Why complain? Just go eat somewhere else. Just like you wanted to hire somebody ... he/she asks for RM10,000 a month but you cannot afford, so go for someone cheaper at RM6,000 with lesser proven experience. But you shouldn't be bitching about the RM10,000 guy/gal.

Everyone has the right to determine their RIGHTFUL price for their services or products. Nobody can say it only costs them xxx. Whatever margins I can get away with, thats my prerogative. Its the same in life... if you knew the real margins on those Prada bags or Chanel products, you'd kill yourself!!!

Check our biases, hawker food IS A GREAT INDUSTRY, and a great industry will have some sub par and some excellent players. Pay them whatever they want to charge. You can get RM10,000 or RM15,000 or RM20,000 a month ... if certain hawkers are so damn good at what they do, shouldn't they be making RM20,000 or RM50,000 a month??? Why the bias? Are some of us trying to lock in hawkers' pay scale? Is it that some of us think hawkers SHOULD never get very much compensation as it is considered as low-level work??? Then you should go overseas and see why many brick layers and mechanics make a lot more money than lawyers (esp in Europe and Australia/NZ).

Another bias is that hawker food is supposed to be affordable. Where in hell do we get that idea. You want AFFORDABLE FOOD, cook the bloody thing yourself at home.

What if you cannot afford the RM10 a plate CKT at Sisters... well, work harder and get richer... thats capitalism. In the meantime, go eat somewhere cheaper. Might not taste so nice. It goes for almost everything in life... you cannot afford a Honda, go for a Proton... yes, its not as nice as a Honda, then work harder la. Don't bitch about how/why Honda prices so high - they are high because they can do that.

If I am a very good hawker, I will sell my CKT for RM20... if no one comes, then I die, not you. If I sell at RM12  and still plenty come, then I am pricing it right and maybe can increase my price again very soon. Its all economics, so save your biases and bullshitting complaints - everybody deserves to be thoroughly compensated when they are that good.

Its fine time that we start to recognise great food, great skills that are involved in creating great food, their dedication and passion in their work/processes ... great food is great food, be it hawker or 5-star.


Andrew said...

Dali, at the end of the day, I think what you have been trying to drive into is **STOP BITCHING**.

I'd admit, most Malaysians/Singaporeans love to whine and bitch. I believe we waste over 70% of our time bitching unproductively :-P

WH T said...

You have lost touch with the masses of the office executives who get by with RM 3500 a month. For many of us, hawker food is what we need because a lunch break that is set at 1 hour means we cannot travel too far and have to eat at whatever is closest to the office.

The idea of free-market that you espouse fails when there really isn't any competition i.e. there is probably only one Chinese food court near my office, so those hawkers can (and do) charge whatever they want BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT.

Please spare a thought of us peons, and forgive us for not being as smart as those making RM10-20k a month. (sarcasm intended)

Unknown said...

why no "like" button in this blog? :)

James Fernandez said...


We live in a free market, no government can force someone to sell something at a specific price. If the gov says they must sell CKT at RM1.00 per plate, what will happen is you get a super tiny portion.

This is just basic economy. Goverment job is to Macro manage the economy, not micro manage it.

Don't blame the hawker, mamak and etc. Blame the gov for bad management.

If your pay is RM3500 and drive Honda, you need to re-tool your ego and buy a smaller car or get a second job.

Look, only a communist country where everyone is employed but nobody have any thing to do. Only in communist country where even with money, there is nothing to buy. China is only communist in politics but capitalist in economy. Look at North Korea where the gov decides everything and price everything.... but there is nothing.

Lionel Lau said...

Well said my friend, as I have always said you get what you pay for, you should only complain when the quality or taste does not comensurate with the charge, hawker stall or otherwise!

Lionel Lau said...

Well said my friend, as I have always said that you get what you pay for as long as the price comensurates with the quality and price.

Chris Liew said...

Great food for thought. Kudos, although I am sure there will be much controversies to this.

CLY said...

I eat ckt rarely but do you know thaT the poor who pawn their jewels at pawnshop have to pay GST for the processing fees. And tHey have no choice at all.

clk said...

it is similar when someone complains about the rate charged by an electrician or plumber in Australia. you want high salary, so do they, so market forces kick in

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