A unique Singapore anti-social behaviour: “choping” with tissue packs

[Editors’ Note:]

  • The hogging anti-social behaviour are not confined to tissue packs, you can find it in libraries, Starbucks, school canteens, fast food outlets where people hogs using bags, books, papers, water bottles, umbrellas and god-knows-what.
  • Why we do not see this kind of behaviour even in croweded cities like KL, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Guangzhou but only in Singapore? How can a civilised society have such ungracious behaviour on a national scale?
  • Why can’t the operators of the foodcourt/coffe shop/hawker centre just remove whatever tissues and prominently display “No Resevation Allowed”? After a short period, this anti-social behaviour will eradicate itself. The relevant Government anthority can work with the business associations to eradicate this problem from the education and promotion angle via schools and mass media to minimise impact to the businesses who are afraid of offending their “customers”.


Article 1: An issue with tissue on road to graciousness

Source: The Straits Times Apr 16, 2011 THREE weeks ago at the Queen’s Street hawker centre during lunch time, a Chinese tourist asked if he could share a table with me and I readily replied yes. He went on to complain that he had been hopping from table to table with a hot bowl of soup, looking for a seat but the tables were hogged by inconsiderate diners with tissue paper packets used as reservation markers. He said such ungraciousness rarely happened in China. Just a fortnight ago, I was at the IMM Kopitiam foodcourt holding a hot plate, desperately looking for a seat. I approached a woman and asked if I could share the table and she replied that all the seats were ‘reserved’. Nevertheless, I squeezed myself into a small space and ignored her stare. When her friends arrived, I realised that she did not have to hog the entire table. The same ugly scenes are repeated daily at every hawker centre and foodcourt during peak periods. All I want is a quick meal and it takes no more than 10 minutes for me to finish. If these table- hogs are considerate enough to spare a seat, I would finish my meal by the time their friends finish queueing for their food. While in Japan, I observed that the Japanese were congenial and affable at all the eateries. There was no hogging of tables or seats. They waited patiently for diners to finish their meal and bowed when the diner left the table as a sign of graciousness. In Hong Kong, diners share seats with others without any reservation and some even invite diners who are strangers to occupy the seats when available. In Bangkok, the table etiquette is orderly and the Thais consider hogging antisocial behaviour. We pride ourselves as First World citizens but when it comes to graciousness, our decorum pales in comparison with developing countries. Ungraciousness, as manifested by protecting one’s space at eateries and refusing to give up bus and train seats to those who need them more, is the result of selfishness. We must dispel such a mindset if we ever wish to build a gracious Singapore. Francis Cheng

Article 2: Caucasians chased away from ‘reserved’ seats

Source: STOMP  Feb 18 2009 Singapore, February 18, 2009 – Two Caucasians were unceremoniously chased away from a table ‘reserved’ by a woman at the busy Lau Pa Sat food centre on a rainy afternoon. The incident was witnessed by reader melting eskimo, who wrote an email to STOMP about this: “It was looking like another crowded lunchtime at Lau Pa Sat, except it started raining so everybody sitting outside flocked inside, with trays of half-eaten and un-eaten food in hands, desperately searching for empty seats. “An empty table had its four empty chairs ‘booked’ with tissue packs, while my colleagues and I were standing around for 5 minutes with our food, waiting for a table to clear up. “We eventually found a table for us, and sat down to eat. Five minutes later, two Caucasians (top pic) unknowingly sat down at the aforementioned empty table, having removed the tissue packs. “Another five minutes later, which was already a full 15 minutes since we first spotted the empty table, (but) who knows really how long it had been since they had selfishly ‘reserved’ the table and walked off, a lady (in white in picture) came back with her food, and went on to do the shameless thing of chasing the Caucasians off, looking all indignant. “Equally stunning was how the Caucasians acquiesced, picking up their half-eaten food and going off in search of another table. “Of course, this whole victorious episode was subsequently recounted to her mates when they came back with their food yet many moments later, with all of them repeatedly turning around to look at the two offending Caucasians who had ‘stolen’ their seats. “I later went up to the lady in white, and told her that a lot of people had witnessed what she had done, and I told her that it was disgusting that they’d leave the seat empty for 15 minutes and still had the audacity to come back to reclaim it, chasing the two Caucasians off in the process, and acting like it was her god-given right to the seats. “I added that it’s ugly Singaporeans like her that make me embarrassed to be called a fellow Singaporean. Her reply was a lame “Fine!” “Later, as we were walking off she said something that I couldn’t make out, to which I just told her that she’s shameless and that there’s nothing more to be said, to which she said, ‘And you too!’ “Classic case of ugly Singaporeans. In that amount of time the seats were left empty, we had sat down and finished our food.” This story was first published in STOMP. related links:

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  1. […] is a real thing. If you see tissue packets on a table or seat, it is probably being reserved or saved by someone […]