03 December 2013

singapore life: the art of choping

I have never heard of the word "chope"* until I came here to Singapore. In the Philippines, we "save" or "reserve" a table, usually by having one person in your group sit and wait while the rest of you go off and buy food. It's not really recommended to leave something on the table, like an umbrella or worse, a bag. I've seen people lose their stuff in the foodcourt because they used it to "save" a table.


In Singapore, there's no need to have someone sit and wait, all you have to do is take out the all powerful packet of tissue and place it on the table. 

By doing that, you now have ownership (at least temporarily) of the said table. When I was a newcomer here and I went to a crowded food court, I sat down at a table with a packet on top. I seriously thought someone had just left it there. A couple of minutes later, an old "auntie" carrying a bowl of soup arrived and was pointing to the tissue. She wasn't talking fast, so I thought she owned it and I was handing it over to her. She shook her head, and told me, quite annoyed "This table, I chope with the peket (packet). Why you sitting, ah?" I just said sorry, and quickly left. So that's my introduction to "choping".

But what if you don't have a "peket"? Most stores in food courts (and in fact, in most restaurants) don't give out tissues, they assume you have your own. The drink stalls usually sell tissue packets, so you can get one from there. Or some uncles and aunties who go around the food court selling these, 3 for 1SGD. 

So if you're in Singapore, don't forget to bring tissue and get ready to chope. This will make your hawker-eating experience hassle-free.

*Check out other words in the Singlish vocabulary on Wikipedia.

1 comment

  1. Keep sharing... ^_^

    that was awkward.. :D


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