Saturday, May 16, 2009

chope! chope!

my australian friends, who were back here after a lapse of 15 years, were sitting down to have a meal at a food centre when they found 'complimentary' tissue packs on the table. already in awe over all the physical changes that had taken place since their last visit, they were about to be bowled over by this gesture - a packet of pocket tissue to clean up after the meal - when the 'chopers' appeared.

when i first ate at a food court in australia, i did it the singapore way: find some empty seats, plonk ourselves down and then go and order our food, with at least one person at the table to 'jaga' the seats. my australian friend told me that in his adopted country, they buy their food first and after that go look for a place to sit.

for sometime, i have been unaware that using a packet of tissue to reserve a seat has been a prevalent practice here. maybe, they do not do it in the heartlands. maybe, it is the office crowd that does it. i first saw it in practice when i had lunch at the foodcourt at the basement of sim lim square. i saw it again the other day at marina square.

wonder why people chope seats with a tissue packet? you would look silly carrying a tray and walking up and down, without a single empty seat in sight. maybe, we do not feel comforable sitting down for a meal with strangers, sharing a table? we want to be seated with our colleagues during our lunch break? it can be costly to chope seat with a mobile phone or a handbag.

you may say in australia or any other country they do not do it because the food centres are not so crowded. but it is not the accurate picture. the food places can get quite crowded at lunch time and you may have to wait for a while to get a seat.


Vanilla said...

Chanced upon your 'tissue packet' entry. I am equally amused by this local practice. Wrote a similar post too.

kimology said...

I was at the Telok Ayer Food Center and unknowingly sat on the packet of tissues, only realising what was going on when I got up after eating. The 'choper' must have been too embarrassed to confront me. I seldom go to these food centers in town and didn't realise the practice. I am what you call 'sua ku'.