It’s no surprise for Singaporeans to encounter tissue paper placed on tables at hawker centres as it indicates that the tables are “reserved”.
However, this culture might not be acceptable for people from other parts of the world.
In fact, an exchange student from Germany found it rather selfish, and even shared their experience to confessional Facebook page NUSWhispers.
The German students at National University of Singapore (NUS) expected to make some Singaporean friends while at the university, but found them “cold and unfriendly”.
The habit of reserving seats using bags and laptops also comes as a culture shock, and the confessor witnessed this not only in canteens, but also in study areas where other students would “reserve” up to four seats and leave for lunch.
After being in Singapore for two weeks, the German student noted does not know “what to expect later”.
In response to this, many Singaporeans took the effort to explain the reason behind the chope culture in the Lion City. They said that it is reasonable to reserve one's seat as they don't want to get their food first and then realise that there can't find a free space to seat.
However, others mentioned that this culture exist even in Germany where they wake up early and reserve the lounge chairs at resorts.
Alan Ang opines that the student has to learn how to adapt to different culture in different countries. He added that "some may be unpleasant but learn to accept it with a positive mindset".
However, other group of Singaporeans do find this culture quite selfish. They said that it is indeed a selfish behaviour and unfair. Facebook user Harbans Kaur said she pretends to be oblivious and just sits and enjoy her food whenever she sees tissue papers on tables or seats.