Demanding free prata a practice from the past
The practice of demanding free prata from a stall is a "legacy" from old Singapore, said a third-generation prata seller at Adam Road Food Centre.
Mr Mohamed Kalith Mohamed Anver, 27, said his grandfather and father were prata sellers who had to deal with people demanding free food in their time.
"Gangsterism was common in the 1950s, and gangsters would often demand free prata because the stall was on their turf," he said.
"It was still a thing about two decades ago."
This was why his grandfather and father kept their sideburns long, to make themselves look "scary".
"They said it was because they had to look gangster-like, so the gangs wouldn't see them as pushovers and keep demanding free food," said Mr Kalith.
Even today, there are still people who approach prata stalls asking for free food, but these are mostly the needy.
"We do give them what we can, out of pity," he said.
"Even then, they don't really take it for granted we will give them anything."
He said if it was a drunkard who came over and demanded free prata, it is unlikely he would be entertained.
"If someone came up to me now and demanded free prata, I would be quite shocked," he said.
"It is a practice from history. Singapore isn't like that now. I don't have to keep long sideburns." - DAVID SUN & VENGADESHWARAN SUBRAMANIAM