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'Respect religious matters': Patrons not following halal and non-halal tray stations spark discussion

Whether in a hawker centre or food court, patrons are expected to return their trays and crockery after they are done with their meal.

On Friday (May 19), a photo posted on the Facebook group Complaint Singapore shows no problems on that front.

The two self-return tray stations — halal and non-halal — were filled to the brim with trays, plates, bowls and cutlery.

However, there was an issue regarding where exactly the crockery ended up being placed.

White crockery are usually used by non-halal food stalls and a number of those were seen on the halal tray station.

The post read: "We should return the tray accordingly and respect religious matters. halal and non-halal mixed."

The author of the post noted that the photo was taken at a food establishment in Warehouse Club, next to Joo Koon MRT station.

So what is halal?

Halal is Arabic for permissible and halal food refers to that which adheres to Islamic law, as defined in the Quran.

Apart from ingredients, it is also key to note that the location, utensils and crockeries are dedicated to the preparation and serving of halal food

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, the Facebook post's comment section was filled with netizens keen on providing their two cents on the matter.

"At least trays were returned," one user commented.

Another netizen suggested that all the crockery end up being mixed anyway when they are being washed.

"But then when they wash the plates, do they mix?" the netizen asked rhetorically.

Others refused to get caught in an argument and suggested it be best if patrons could be more considerate of each other's religious obligations.


A few netizens felt the proximity of the two trays was the main issue and provided a potential solution.

"Maybe it's better not to put them side by side. Just to be safer," one suggested.


A Facebook user suggested that the root of the problem could simply be how full the non-halal tray station was and that there was "nowhere else" to return the trays.

They added that patrons might have rather returned the trays wrongly than to not return at all, which might result in a fine.

While the Facebook photo showed that civil-mindedness and social responsibility can still be improved, Singaporeans are, in general, keeping food spaces clean.

The fifth annual Public Cleanliness Satisfaction Survey 2022, conducted by The Singapore Management University, surveyed 2,020 Singapore residents on their perceptions of cleanliness in the nation from July to October 2022.

Results from the survey found that 95 per cent of all respondents returned their trays and crockery every time they ate at a coffee shop or hawker centre in 2022.

This is a 46 per cent increase from the number in 2021.

Also, 84 per cent of respondents said they believed that the individual diner is primarily responsible for keeping tables clean as opposed to a cleaning staff or outlet operator.

ALSO READ: No diner fined since return tray rule started at eateries, only 2 warnings issued

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