Why fix the practice of “choping” when it’s not broken?


by Liew Yeng Chee

After reading many so-called points from the opponents of the "first come, first chope" system in the media, I still did not see any good argument to thrash the system.

For that I have communicated with Dr William Wan( the General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement) who has expounded to do away with the de-facto choping system in the newspaper and in in the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee which he is a member, on emails to ask him for any good reasons for doing this. All he could say was only that (paraphrasing) it's his opinion that "choping" is ungracious, and he wouldn't want to engage in a course of reasoning to make his point.

So what's so ungracious about the "choping system"?

Is it the articles left behind the table to do the choping that make the system ungracious? If it is, then to improve on it, hawker centres can issue "chope tags", like the queue numbers to customers. Or is it the anxiousness of looking out for seat while holding on to piping hot food, that make one very heated up? If this is the problem, the more we need  the "first come, first chope" system to fix it.

Anybody(whether singly or come with friends, can first look for empty, un-choped seat(s) and chope it(them), then he/she(they) can take their time to look for and buy his/her(their) food. Or is it some foreigners(and some locals) who acted as if whatever locally implemented is no good as long as there no-clearly spelt out rules, and they would be  much more happy to take things in their own hands.

All seating arguments in hawker centres started from the side who refused to accept the "first come, first chope" tradition, and argued as if they have the right to an empty(choped)seat. Who gave them the right to take things in their own hands?

Remember: We cannot build a gracious society on opinions, we need all the good reasons to get people to buy into whatever that's going to be implemented.

And they dared as far, to call the first-come-first-chopes bullies without any good reason. That's really over what we should hear from any one in a gracious and courteous society.

To have a gracious and courteous society, we should enforce/legitimise the "first come, first chope" system if that would cut out all unnecessary arguments who's right or who's wrong. With this system, everybody is a winner. We don't have to go to the extend of wasting public fund to build bigger food centres or increase the number of seats or re-do the seating layouts as suggested in the newspaper forum.

Why try to fix something(choping) when it's NOT broken?