Im an expat myself
In that expats home country, America, Australia if anyone reserved a seat with bags their bags would be stolen! It is ok if a person reserves a table but bags on a seat is something that we dont see much in our home countries.
He couldve been a dickhead expat who does think he is better then any one else, there is many of them around, but this incident isnt one that shows that he is
It couldve been another expats bags and he wouldve said the same thing
just think bout it before you go and criticize another person for doing something that in his home country would never happen
I frequently eat out alone, so let me share my POV.
Firstly, let me make my stand. It's my normal sequence/process that I find a seat first BEFORE ordering my food. No difference even when I'm eating out with someone else, when either would reserve the table while the other buys in turn.
So, I'll "reserve" my space with an identifiable item of little value but of bigger volume (like my empty bag) before joining the queue to order food. I've already a planned response, whoever tries to remove my bag, I'll shout "theft" across the foodcourt if I need to, of course reaction must be fast enough to shout while whoever is still holding my bag. And if that person insist to be like the guy TS mentioned, I'll let it pass first, simply order something with soup and go back to my "reserved" seat and argue/tell him to eat faster as he's seating on my seat and my food is getting cold (basically just irritate him just as he have irritated me)... hopefully no hot soup incident will happen. (hand very tired carrying tray and bag mah)
Luckly, so far it only happens once and when I confronted that person, he let me have my seat back as I argued, "I too have waited for a seat to be available and not jumped queue or whatever".
let me remind you people that racially rude remarks of any kind will not be tolerated
in fact rude remarks will also not be tolerated
It's basically a case of local and global social norms.
When an argument does erupt, there really is no law that allows public seats to be reserved. This is the same message we're trying to teach our young in the school libraries, that you can't "chope" or reserve a seat in the school library using your books.
Typically, expats who have been briefed before hand will try to "understand" this peculiar social norm that he/she won't find in any part of the world, except in cafeterias of prisons/high-schools (where gang/bully activities reign), and in, well, Singapore.
But of course there will always be a p*ssed off expat caught on a very bad day, who needless to say has been sick and tired of this public property reservation scheme. That's when things get ugly. Sadly, both are correct in different ways. The expat is correct to claim the empty seat as this is a PUBLIC seat where no law exists about reserving them. The person who reserved it with a tissue/bag/newspaper/you-name-it is also, ermmm, kinda correct, as it is a social NORM that he/she has been surrounded with. It's a case of NURTURE, good/bad upbringing, or whatever you call it.
So I just hope everyone will play nice, and try to understand. We'll have a better world to live on (ooohhh, that just sounds so cheesy, haha!)
Depriving others from having a seat to start their meal is so unproductive... how long does one queue to get food? 5-7mins? that is about the same time someone could have eaten and left.
I think there is nothing to be proud about if you are one of those who reserves your seat in advance or should I say deprive others of a seat for their meal.
P.S. Not directing this a Gunbucker, as your post is very reasonable.
I admit, I'm guilty of reserving seats with my bag when I'm dining alone at times. however, and these are done not as an atonement for my "sin", but I try to share my seat/table with as many people as possible, and also try to clear my meal as quickly as possible so that I do not deprieve someone else of a seat. I've also noticed that 9 out of 10 times it would be with a table that already has someone else occupying it, and I would try to tell them to hold the seat for me whilst I quickly make my way to order my food.
but I notice that I do not do such stuff once I'm overseas. maybe because of the whole "if I left my bag on the table, I wouldn't expect to see it ever again when I turn my back to it" mentality.
but yeah, I get so paranoid nowadays that I actually turn around every few seconds to see if the bag is still there.
ang moh power! yeah!
ok seriously, screw the expat (ang moh?). it's his stupidity that he bought food first then find a seat. it's his stupidity that he thought we singaporeans are easy prey. it's his stupidity to argue with hawaiisg bro (aloha!).
why we chope seats with tissue paper? has anyone thought of that? i do not think that it stems from selfishness, but rather it stems from typical singaporean pragmatism. everyone wants to enjoy hot food. we wouldn't want our food to turn cold while waiting for a seat. also, the risk of someone losing control of the tray (and worse spilling the food onto someone else) while waiting for a seat can be disastrous. so our culture of choping seats with tissue paper packets and umbrellas etc etc has evolved from pragmatism.
and to that expat / FTrash, you can go sod off.
There are pros and cons for both systems.
Pros for getting seat first
1) For a group of people, it is easier for them to sit together.
2) You can eat while your food is hot. No need to wait for a seat.
3) No need to move about with hold soup. No need to practise balancing.
Pros for getting food first
1) If alone, you don't have to worry about your things used to reserve the seat being taken away.
2) In groups, the group will leave faster since they can't sit together and chat.
3) It will be slightly faster because you'll grab the nearest available seat.
There is no right or wrong. But if the majority practised seat reservation, it should be fair that everyone follows. Else those who just take away the reserved seat will be akin to queue cutting since the one who reserved the seat probably waited for it to become available.