Saturday, December 29

'Chope-ing' Should be Prohibited

Unless you are Singaporean, you might not know what  “Chope” means. It is a local slang for reserving a seat with something insignificant, like a packet of half-used tissue paper (it's a top choice).

Seriously, I hope this practice will be prohibited, like how we had bubble gums banned in Singapore. It is neither fair nor gracious to leave seats empty so that the inconsiderate individuals can take his/her own sweet time to run their errands and then come back to reclaim their seats, totally unbashful.


I had a horrible Christmas this year. I think I caught a virus or something during my vacation to Montigo Resorts at Batam. I was getting chills and my body ached real bad, as a result, I tucked myself in at 10 pm on Christmas eve. Who cares about counting down, when you are feeling too crappy to stay awake?

Then on Christmas Day, I woke up with razors in my throat, a pounding head and pain deposited in every part of my body. I was feeling pretty relieve to be heading home that very day. Plus Montigo Resorts sucks!

Fast forward.

I boarded this overly crowded ferry with my family, which had some passengers transiting from another ferry, it was chaotic. I was frantically searching for seats to settle my two young children and my mom down, while fatigue had gotten me and I was in a state of torpid. My hubby signalled to me to come over to the front of the ferry, where he had found three seats for us (he could just move and sit somewhere else).

The seats were kind of dirty, littered with pieces of newspaper and a small plastic bag. But it would be alright, we could clear them up as long as I could sit together with my little ones and my mom.

Just as we will about to take our seats, out of nowhere, this man in his early 50s came charging at us, shoving us aside, while accusing us of stealing his seats. He crudely claimed that those 6 seats (3 of which we were about to occupy and another 3 behind us, sat a middle-aged woman) were all his because he had 'chope' them with his belongings.

Belongings? What belongings? All I could see were pieces of newspapers strewed all over the place and a tiny plastic bag containing God knows what's inside. Neither him nor any of his friends were anywhere near those seats when we were there.

The middle-aged woman tried to argue that the seats were unoccupied when she came. That man hollered at her aggressively. So my hubby pointed out to him that the seats on the ferry are on a first-come-first serve basis and no reservation of seats are allowed, not especially when he was trying to 'chope' 6 seats without even bother to be physically there.

Then that bugger changed his story and said, he and his friends were already at the seats way before us, but they just left the seats for a short while to go to the toilet.

Seriously? ALL 6 PEOPLE WENT TO THE TOILET TOGETHER!!!! Who the hell were you kidding??!!

But the bugger just wouldn't give up and kept on ranting and ranting beyond reasoning. While his mouth was raving, his hand was swerving his plastic bag in front of my face.

I don't know if my fever had kick in or this arsehole sky-rocketed my blood pressure, I felt as though I was burning up inside. As unexpectedly and abruptly, I snatched his offensive plastic bag and threw it down on one of the seats he so much desired. "FUCK! YOU, FUCK OFF! FUCK TO YOUR SEAT. YOU PISSING ME OFF!" I exploded.

At this point, he shouted "Fuck" back at me and raised his hand up with the intention to hit me, but was apprehended by one of his lady friend, who apologized on his behalf.

With that, we decided to quit arguing with this crazy bastard and moving out of those seats. We have more integrity than this shameless bugger.  Anyone in the ferry who had some sense of righteousness could clearly see that he is nothing but a bully, robbing seats from a family who was dragging bags and luggage in this sardine-packed ferry, saddled with two very young kids and an elderly.

On our way out to the next deck, he was still shouting at us. I couldn't help but snapped at him, "Just shut up and sit lah, sit until you rot and DIE!" I swear if I had another plastic bag, I will not hesitant to hurl it at his irritating  face.

By this time, the ferry was about to set sail, the staff from the ferry managed to find two seats to accommodate my mom and my 3 YO and there really wasn't any seat left for us. But there were some kind souls who witnessed the saga and offered us their seats. We thanked them, but refused to take it from them. It wasn't a long journey, we reckon we will be fine just standing around. Later that same staff, brought out a plastic stool from behind a counter for me.

As I sat there, carrying my sleeping daughter in my arms, emotions surged through my heart. I couldn't help but felt very victimised, the warmth and generosity which I received from the other passengers and the ferry staff just amplified it further. I didn't tell anyone then, but I was on the verge of breaking down in tears. It was pathetic to feel like that on a Christmas Day.


Personally, I have never seen 'choping' or similar practices anywhere else in the world. Not even in Malaysia;  I kid you not. Why can’t more Singaporeans adopt better social morality and be less self-centred?

Or at least, carry a sign like the one below, wherever you go, if you really cannot live without 'choping seats'! 

(Image taken from

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