This is purely my observation as a Chinese ethnic, on stalls operated by Chinese ethnic. Chinese New Year had came and gone, and to the Chinese ethnic, this is a second new year. And as expected, the price of food and drinks had went up, again. That was somehow the question which your parents will usually ask the first thing they visited their local haunt: drinks price got increase ah?
My time in Singapore may not be long, but I was surprised by the fact that the price of hawker food remain low in general, in comparison to Malaysia, even though the former had to import their raw material. From what I heard, an increase in Singapore's hawker food price had not been major for a long time (of course, I could be hearing from the wrong source).
I know for sure that petrol price did not increase, with Malaysia so close to elections. And drinks should not increase RM0.20 per cup since water bill or any other utility bills had not experience any announced hike as well. So between the hawker and the source, where did the price increase happen in Malaysia? I dare not conclude that it was solely an increment on the hawker's calculation. Most probably the stall owner needed to pay for an increased rental. Maybe the food distributor decided to collect a little more. Or maybe the farmers realized that they wanted a Mercedes-Benz for their son's wedding.
I kid not when I put forth my observation that nowadays, food stall owners drove BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and I do not mean the large lorries when I mentioned the latter. You know I am right if you saw their cars and the houses they owned. Even my engineering colleagues in Malaysia used to, and still are, kidded about quitting and go sell char keoy teow. They are literally stinking rich, in some cases earning more in a day than an average white collar's monthly salary in a month.
I am not against hawkers and I could not dispute their increase in food and drinks price. The fault ultimately lied with ourselves. We all shouted injustice, complained loudly among ourselves that the food was horribly expensive. We felt unhappy that our increment were not matching with the inflation of food prices. And we did all this while we were eating in their shops.
We all complained like old ladies, but what did we do, except continued dining there? Did you choose not to eat there? Did you choose to cook at home for dinner? Did you choose not to order drinks when you were there? Maybe some of us did that, but I believe that most of us would console ourselves with some reason. In the end, we did nothing against the price hike and the government did nothing as well.
We all know that by the next Chinese New Year (or the next after that) it is going to increase. Again. And we all will complain that the food price is increasing. Again. How would you act against the price hike in food and drinks?