Time to make choping an offence

The couple that abused the elderly man at a hawker centre - Mr Chow Chuin Yee and Ms Tay Puay Leng - have been punished by the court and society (Public backlash 'making us live like fugitives'; Aug 13).

They have regretted their follies and apologised. No one is infallible. It is time for us to give them a second chance and allow them to move on with their private lives.

Now that matters have cooled down, it is time for the authorities to decide if the act of "choping" seats should be allowed to carry on unabated.

This matter should not be treated frivolously or brushed aside.

The choping of seats using tissue paper, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, newspapers, magazines and so forth is very common in hawker centres, foodcourts and other public eateries.

In some instances, a table meant for four would be choped by two people. This is selfish.

Sadly, over the years, this has become an accepted culture here.

However, this should not be the case. In public eateries, getting seats should be on a first come, first served basis. No one has an inalienable right to a seat just because he has placed an object on the table.

This chope culture is not confined to eateries - MRT trains and buses also suffer from this, when young people brazenly occupy seats reserved for the infirm, pregnant women and the elderly (Don't tolerate decline of civility and disrespect of the aged, by Mr John Driscoll; Aug 16).

Singapore is a First World nation and is held in high esteem internationally. Let us not let this choping culture destroy our hard-earned image.

I urge the authorities to intervene and pass a law to make choping an offence, and take to task those who violate the rules.

Pavithran Vidyadharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'Time to make choping an offence'. Print Edition | Subscribe