Early Hawkers in Singapore, 1920s to 1930s
The hawker centre is an integral part of Singapore's urban landscape. As they are now easily found all around the island, many may not be aware that the concept of housing hawkers within designated space was not common before Singapore's independence in 1965. Instead, hawkers plied the streets on foot, toting their wares in portable makeshift stalls.
Illustrator Chang Yang captured the street hawkers from the 20s and 30s in a series titled "Our Vanishing Street Hawkers" (消失了的过街小贩), which ran in of the Singapore's Chinese evening dailies, the Lianhe Wanbao, from 1987 - 1988. Accompanying the illustrations were informative passages, describing in details how the hawkers conducted business, where they could be found, the types of customers they attracted and even the hawker's outfits.
This book published by Focus Publishing and the National Heritage Board features the full series of 128 illustrations, with their accompanying text translated into English by Dr. Lai Chee Kien. Dr. Lai also writes in detail on the history of hawker centres in Singapore, and presents a visual and analysis of Chan Yang's illustrations.