Recognise 'choping' as S'pore culture

Diners "choping" tables and seats at a hawker centre.
Diners "choping" tables and seats at a hawker centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

Recently, I came across the "Anti-Chope Movement", which was started by the associate general secretary of partnerships at the Singapore Kindness Movement.

People who insist that it is acceptable to "chope" a seat by leaving a human and not an object at a table are blind to the fact that the "choped" seat remains unavailable regardless of the method.

This fixation on the illusion of graciousness shows a lack of consideration towards a mother with a baby, an elderly person with bags or anyone else who is alone and has no choice but to "chope" a seat first.

At the core of "choping" is the basic concept of logical sequence - ensuring that a person has a place to sit before getting food.

"Choping" has, in fact, been traditionally practised at hawker centres for decades.

In the past, a patron had to secure a table and give its number to the hawker, who would then bring the food over.

With the advent of self-service as well as the fact that our population is set to increase, the best solution to stop this divide from festering for more years to come is for the authorities to officially recognise "choping" as our unique local culture and implement campaigns to educate the public on the recommended ways of practising it.

Terence Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'Recognise 'choping' as S'pore culture'. Print Edition | Subscribe