Edited by Sofia Rüdiger and Susanne Mühleisen
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 47] 2020
► pp. 235–255
Chapter 12. Naming practices in Singapore’s hawker centres
Echoes of itineracy
A hawker is an itinerant salesperson, formerly typically ubiquitous in most urban environments. Despite the popular and useful services they provide, they are often viewed with suspicion. Starting in the 1960s, the government of Singapore has begun to sedentarise the trade into purpose-built ‘hawker centres’ that house individual stalls of foods in a covered area fitted with electrical, gas, and water connections as well as seating space and sanitary facilities. This food hygiene drive has resulted in a permanent immobilisation of the hawker trade. This chapter considers the naming practices of 211 hawker stalls in four centres to reveal patterns (in the use of languages, scripts, and geographical references) that challenge the imposed immobility and evoke memories of actual hawking.