“Chope” : Is this Uniquely Singapore?


Ian sent me this photo of a bunch of “very literal” tissue paper packets. I’d like to credit the person who made this cultural artifact because it sums up one of the most uniquely Singaporean traits I’ve seen so far. Choping is a cultural phenomena where the locals have self-established as a form of social cue to mark their territory, for the purpose of reserving a place (e.g. dining table or seats) simply because they are hard to come by in our crowded country.

Some common items used for chope-ing include tissue paper packets and the daily newspaper which this particular blogger has no problem using for his own (haha!). I believe that to effectively chope a seat, you need something that’s handy and of low value. Anything expensive would simply be stolen.

Choping has been around for a long time, but it’s only through personal blogs that I’ve managed to see the extent of it. Just take a look at what turns up on technorati when you key in “chope tissue“!

I’m just wondering if anyone has seen other items used for choping (e.g. iPods, handphones) and if you’ve seen choping used on other places (e.g. parking lots)

9 thoughts on ““Chope” : Is this Uniquely Singapore?

  1. Indeed a culture here. People here wants to feel that they are one up by choping anything that can be reserved, a high society trait that is brought down to the masses.

  2. Otterman: Sometimes with the “chope” bunny / peace hand sign. ­čśŤ

    Straydog: Sorry haven’t got time to call you back. Speaking of high society, they employ people to chope for them right? Like queuing up for them, getting a table on their behalf, in places like China, even employing literate people to take English exams on the Chinese student’s behalf. I wonder what advanced forms of choping behaviors there are… ­čśŤ

  3. Once I was at Raffles Place meeting a good friend of mine for lunch… walking nearer to the food court, I was wondering if free packets of tissue were provided for patrons.

    I was wrong!! That’s a sign saying the seat or table is reserved! I was like WTF!?!?! Why don’t people use other items such as PADS or even tampon? PADS = F.A.D. that’s what we address in army dayz (First Aid Dressing). Tampon can help those who having blooding nose….

    This is getting out of hand. Silly and ugly.
    This is what I will do, if i encounter such incident i will open up the tissue and use. If the owner comes back, I will reply, there arent your name stated here….

    hahah so in future, they might come out an idea such as, customize own packet with own name printed on the tissue packet + CHOPE!

  4. Jason: I saw a funny police poster telling people not to chope using handphones (cellphones) otherwise they might get stolen. Singapore gahmen so nice hor… remind people not to do silly things like that. ­čśŤ

  5. Hahaha…. this is proving indirectly how silly one can go so far… even for a seat….

    anyway, welcome back bro!!
    Hope to catch up with you soon!

    ask your sis for my contact, wanna organize a frontal dinner.

  6. I have no idea how this word came about for the usages given, but since it is my surname I have done some research on it. It entered the English language through the Normans. In French it means “been stein.” In Old Church Slovanic Chope or Chop(e) means “long neck.”

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