Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Clearing The Table After Eating

It’s a common sight to see uncleared tables strewn with unfinished food or food that has been chewed and rejected and spat on the table.

Why do most Singaporeans don’t bother to clear the tables at a food court after they have eaten? It’s just another sign to show how much we are lacking in social graces.

Clearing one’s table after eating at a public dining area is a social norm in Japan, US, Europe but certainly not so in Singapore.

If everyone in Singapore decides to clear their tables after eating, most if not all of the uncles and aunties who work as table cleaners would be out of a job.

There was a man who wanted to clear his table after eating at a fast food joint but was stopped by a cleaner. The cleaner was obviously afraid that his job would be redundant if every patron clears his own table after eating.

If we clear the table, it’s not because we are civic-minded or public-spirited or anything like that. We only do so simply because we ourselves need to use the table to place our food and eat.

Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all to clear my table after eating. I do so whenever I patronise a fast food joint, which I seldom patronise anyway nowadays. I’m not a fan of junk fast food.

When we were in school and the army, we clear the table after eating. But after leaving school and national service, we throw this basic social grace out the window.


Blogger Teoh Yi Chie said...

It's only a social grace if people think it's a social grace. Same as people who block passengers from getting off trains.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 11:42:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To Teoh Yi Chie: Yaloh. Singapore is just far from being a gracious society in the likes of Sydney, New York, Tokyo :p

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 11:50:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Las montañas said...

We'll always be lidat lah. Third world upbringing in a First world shell.

Actually, some establishments can try to do away completely with cleaners. Then everyone would be forced to clean up after they are done eating.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 2:22:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To LM: Hyundai staff canteen at Ubi is one such example. No cleaner. Patrons are expected to clear the table, return the utensils and cockery after eating.

If all food courts do away with cleaners, then what are all the retrenched workers going to work as?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 3:48:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lunch is Served! said...

I know I'm the strange one, but I always hand my tray to the cleaners when I'm done eating at food courts. Sometimes the aunties will scold me and tell me that they are too busy cleaning to take the tray so I should leave it on the table! But I persist in this behaviour. LOL!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 11:24:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Happysurfer said...

Malaysians share the same culture. We just get up and go. :(

Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 1:16:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To Lunch Is Served: Tsk, tsk, tsk. You're making the life of the cleaning aunty miserable, are you not? Ha, ha, ha...! :D If she's too busy to take the tray from you, you should bring it somewhere else. Like another table or on the floor :p

To Happysurfer: Do you know where the food court picture is from? :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 1:26:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mansor said...

"another table or on the floor"
Haha you're teaching us to be a non graces customer by putting it on the floor.

Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 5:49:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Happysurfer said...

MB, wild guess. Berjaya Times Square?

Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 5:57:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To Mansor: Ha, ha, ha..! :D Sometimes we have no choice if we want to clear the table ourselves and we are too lazy to awalk all the way to the corner where used utensils are chucked.

To HS: No, it's not BTS but you're close :) It's also in KL :)

Friday, August 1, 2008 at 10:32:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger QuaChee said...

when i first came to visit singapore years ago, i was reminded by relatives to clear after eating... they told me it was a culture in spore.

but now i guess its much less?

Friday, August 1, 2008 at 3:34:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To Quachee: I think your relatives bluffed you one. Maybe they wanted to fool you into thinking Singaporeans are more cultured than Malaysians. Ha, ha, ha...! :D i guess maybe only your relatives themselves are civilised enough to clear the table, return the tray and utensils :)

Friday, August 1, 2008 at 9:07:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger QuaChee said...

lol, u might be right. but in uni, there were some students who did clean after they ate. some however, argued that by not cleaning up, they give work to the uncles & aunties..

guess that argument dont hold so much now as more of them are prcs :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 2:08:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Mockingbird said...

To Quachee: I think when the foodcourt is very crowded and packed, we would have no choice but to clear the table first if it's filled with crap left by the previous patrons :p

Monday, August 4, 2008 at 10:24:00 AM GMT+8  

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