An angry reader who repeatedly wrote in to The Straits Times about choping seats in Singapore claimed his letters were never published. He sent us his post instead as he really wanted to get his message across – that it is fine to chop seats in Singapore, be it using “human choping” or “tissue choping”.
“My emails were ignored despite their measured phrasing, so this time I shall present my points in their original tone:
1) Long tables with rows of seats VS tables with different numbers of seats
For first-come-first-served seating, long tables with rows of seats like those in school canteens should be used instead.
A table with two seats is meant to cater to a pair/ couple; four seats to allow a family/ group of four (or six seats for a group of six and so on) to sit together.
I am not saying that 1 person should not sit at such a table, (that is like saying 1 person should never take a cab alone, which is ridiculous); what I am saying is that it is reasonable and understandable for a group of 2 people to want to sit together at a table with 2 seats, a group 4 people together at a table with 4 seats, 8 people 8 seats, etc. (would 4 people share a cab or take 2/ 3/ 4 separate cabs?)
1) Preventing others from taking an unoccupied seat and insisting on keeping it empty staying on to chat after having finished the meal rather than vacating promptly for (when they are) others who are waiting
2) Tissue choping and human choping are both choping
Whether you use an object or a person to tell somebody else that a seat is “taken” by your companion (who has gone to buy the food and will be back soon), it is still reserving.
Either you accept both or none at all, not one without the other.
3) Nothing rude or ungracious about tissue choping VS human choping
Japan is the epitome of excellent etiquette, yet slurping while eating noodles is not deemed rude or ungracious over there.
Singaporeans know what tissue-choping is, so the “feeling” that choping gives a rude or ungracious “impression” is merely an irrational perception stemming from a superficial desire to “appear” classy.
People who get upset just because they think they are so important that an actual human must personally inform them that the seat is taken, otherwise they will retaliate by taking or discarding the tissue, are nothing more than egoistic hypocrites.”