Last Sat (25 May), the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) launched its second Kindness Carnival. The event featured funfair staples like bouncy castles, hopscotch and a giant twister game to keep children entertained, whereas volunteers cycled along East Coast Part on SGBike’s bicycles to raise awareness of the carnival and give out yellow gerberas to passer-by.
Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who was the guest-of-honor, felt that such events are great in promoting a more gracious Singapore. She said, “It is not just limited to an event, but it is for us to bring this energy that can be put to great use in shaping the kind of society we would like to see.”
At the Kindness Carnival, Ms Fu stood by one of the new Ground-Up Movements (GUMs) called Anti-Chope Movement supported by SKM.
The founders of the Anti-Chope Movement said, “What an honour to stand with Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Ms Grace Fu. While she holds up one of our cards with the #antichopemovement message! – ‘Please don’t chope!’.”
On their Facebook page, one of the founders explained why the movement was started, “What started out as a pet peeve, I have decided to take action and make a difference in hope to change social behavior, dissuading ‘chope-rs’ from ‘chope-ing’.”
“To ‘chope’ is not a life hack. In my opinion, it is an ungracious act carried out by individuals who are conforming to what everyone else is doing and taking to this advantage ‘ Singaporean-tradition’ of reserving a seat for selfish reasons… Seats at hawker centres, food courts, coffee shops, cafes and fast food restaurants are meant to be FREE-SEATING, free-for-all, it is a first-come-first get a seat (butt seated) basis; that is why you pay an economical price dining in places like that as opposed to dining in a restaurant,” it added.
“Please don’t ‘chope’. It is ungracious.”
Grace Fu caught ‘chope-ing’ public carpark lot with the help of a police officer
It’s strange that the founders of Anti-Chope Movement felt honored to have stood next to Minister Fu, the guest-of-honour at the SKM event, when Ms Fu herself was caught ‘chope-ing’ a public car park lot a couple of years ago with the help of a police officer.
In 2016, a resident while waiting for his wife at a public car park in Jurong, saw a man standing at a red season parking lot, reserving the season parking slot. The resident went up to ask the person what he was doing. The person identified himself as a policeman and explained that he was reserving the parking lot for a “VIP”.
The resident went back to his car to continue waiting for his wife. When the VIP arrived at the lot in a Mercedes, it turned out that the VIP was Minister Fu.
Like seats at hawker centres, food courts, coffee shops, cafes and fast food restaurants, the parking lots at any public carparks are meant to be parked on a “first-come-first-get” basis. That is why one pays an “economical price” parking at public carparks as opposed to parking in office lots with specially assigned car plate numbers.
When the news broke, many netizens did not approve having a policeman wasting his time ‘chope-ing’ a public carpark lot for Ms Fu.
In any case, since Ms Fu has sided with Anti-Chope Movement, she seems to be sending a message that ‘chope-ing’ seats in public eating places is ungracious but having a public servant to ‘chope’ a public carpark lot for her is ok.