Seriously, guys. Seriously. WTF!
Apparently our Prime Minister, in one of his points in his recent National Day Speech 2008, gave the suggestion that we help clear our trays after we finished our food, perhaps at Food Courts and Fast Food Restaurants. Though I doubt the man has ever seen the situation of our Food Courts, being one of the more privileged people in this world (tagged with a high price tag as well), at least he brought this to our attention.
Shortly after comes the rebuttals from the citizens, who needs to share their two cents worth about the following issue on the Internet. Sources: Soshiok.com , SgComplainHub , Tomorrow.sg
Says one: "We shouldn't generalize about returning tray equates social graciousness. Many of these foodcourt workers are old men and women and they need jobs."
Says another: "When I was in the army I also washed my plates, so I need to do this in food court too?"
Says, the most imbecilic one from all: "We don't return our plates it's because FREEDOM allows us to do that and there is NO LAW that indicate that we must return our plates."
This leads me to ask the following questions: Am I actually living alongside and surrounded by fecking morons such as them? Did they actually studied in the same schools as I did in this country?!
I mean, come on lah! First of all, you morons are not getting the message. Don't know how to read between the lines, har? The Prime Minister just wants to tell you to think for the next person who's going to be using the Food Court table. That is called having SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS! Never mind whether he/she is a Singaporean/PR/WP/SP Holder. Basic Courtesy! He is not telling you to put on your gloves and whip out your scrubs to do some dish-washing!
And yes, don't be stupid, those aunties/uncles would not lose their jobs just because you help them with the table-clearing portion of their job scope. I'm sure if this practice of self-service table-clearing continues, I'm sure their employers would busy them with other duties that goes on "backstage" in this Food Court Orchestra: which is sure to include throwing the stuff into dishwashers.
National Service teaches you to be independent. Forces you to do stuff which your mother or maid has been doing for you. Oh come on, I've never been enlisted into my army, but haven't we been taught the same things since childhood? Can't you apply the skills and knowledge you've learnt? In our school canteens in Primary or Secondary Schools, we had big buckets infront of canteen stalls, where we can put our plates and bowls and what have yous back. You're just doing the same thing if you're returning the trays.
Even in the Polytechnic where the canteens we had worked like Foodcourts, cleaners were hired to push their trolleys around to collect the crockery and give the tables a quick wipe-down. It so happens that around 15,000 of us were distributed in the 4 canteens around the school, so you can imagine the horrible lunchtime crowd and the difficulty of getting any available tables. And those were the days you would have found me having no qualms clearing the mess left by the previous patrons, and wiping down the table with tissue paper, just so that me and my classmates could have a table to have lunch on.
Even till this day I still don't mind clearing the tables just so I could have a table with my friends or colleagues: at coffee shops, fast food restaurants, food court. But of course I draw the line when it comes to places where I pay a hefty 10% service-charge. And these are actions coming from someone who hates doing housework!
I was at a Thailand University when I was 18, for an Asian debating competition (Not to debate, really, I'm a lousy debater), so expect debaters from everywhere in Asia. We had our meals in their canteens which served really horrible food. The 'proud' Singapore contingent did what we usually do back at home: left our cockery on the table. I remembered that one of the ladies, possibly from the organizing committee, approached us and told us to clear the plates ourselves, pointing to the stations we could returned it at. These people must have been thinking: "These first-world country snobs, snortsnort."
Lastly: Mr SgComplainHub, do you really need the law to tell you what to do? PREASE LAH, use your brain lah! "We don't return our plates it's because FREEDOM allows us to do that and there is NO LAW that indicate that we must return our plates." Yeah seriously, I think you belong to the same league of people who leave the junk at ZoukOut parties or those big countdown parties. Or drop your flyers infront of mailboxes. Boh Zheng Hu mah! But thanks for the suggestion! Perhaps we really do need a law to force morons like yourself into social-conscious creatures!
Returning the tray is just like holding the door for someone. Or giving up the MRT seat to someone else that needs it. Or holding the lift for the neighbor who's ushering his/her noisy kids to school. Or pressing the lift buttons. Tree-hugging hippie it may sound, but it's simple acts like that make this place a better place to live in.
Mr Lee is so right. "It's going to take time to change the mindset". Unfortunately you are right, Mr Lee.