Reserving a seat like a Singaporean (like a boss!)

Singapore was in the news again this year as the country with the highest percentage of millionaires (per pop.) in the world.

You might wonder why this matters, or how really does this affect you. Well I guess here’s the slightly roundabout way that it links back to the title of this article.

See, Singapore is a safe country, like ridiculously beyond safe. I go running alone through a dark underground tunnel in an isolated park with my headphones blaring kind of safe. And Singaporeans are nothing if not law-abiding citizen. I know a friend who once got a ticket for jaywalking. Yeaps, that’s right, jaywalking! She was the only one I know whom this actually happened to. All stories before that were more like an urban legend of existence. Needless to say, she has not done so since. And even in the crappiest of situations, during the most horrible of peak traffic hour, or late at night in the drunken sprawl of Clarke Quay, you are pretty much guaranteed that everyone will remain calmly in a taxi queue, (somewhat) patiently waiting their turn, while trying to expedite the process by booking via their apps, or texting, or calling. No jumping the queue, no stealing of cabs.

Nowhere in the world do I ever expect to see such behavior on a daily basis…. Ok, fine, I guess the Japanese trump the Singaporeans in that aspect.

So you have a bunch of rich people, and you have a bunch of law abiding citizens, and so what do you get?

A seat booking system unseen anywhere else in the world.


(This could seem like a scary situation. Standing around in anticipation of an open seat. But what do you do if you’re alone?!?!)

The next time you are heading out to an open food court, or a restaurant with an open terrace, or any restaurant where pretty much there isn’t a maître d’ to show you to your seat, look around and check before you plonk your butt down at a table. That packet of tissue sitting pretty on the table? That wasn’t your free gift. That’s pretty much someone saying “Chop!!” (Booked!! Reserved!!) “I have already staked a claim on this entire table and its seats”. Though of course I think it would have been more fun if you actually do stake a flag on the table.

Reserving a seat

(Honor the system – these seats are booked!)

Essentially it could be anything except for the leftover bowls from someone else’s lunch. I’ve seen my fair share of weird things being left on the table. The most common are packets of tissue papers, keys, ID tags, I’ve even seen iPhones and laptops! So now we either have a bunch of millionaires who don’t really care about the keys to their Ferraris being stolen, or a country so trusting that all its people will behave, that nothing gets stolen. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

So next time you’re about to run out for lunch solo or pressed for time with a bunch of friends, carry on with you your packet of tissue, or umbrella, or water bottle to leave on the table. Personally I would advocate a flag… with a big “CHOP!” sign on it. After all, not all tourists to this island nation would have seen this article, and they might truly think that packet of tissue on the table came free with their meals.

For all other restaurant reservations, please feel free to pick up the phone and put in a call to reserve =)


(The almighty packet of tissue – booking a seat like a boss)