Thursday, 26 May 2011

Eating fish soup in the Library?!

Singapore National Library
A couple of days back, in between appointments, as I was in the Bugis area, I thought I had visit the National Library so I could do some work before my next meeting.  Also, to escape from the mad heat wave outside.  I managed to find the Study Lounge where many tertiary students were mugging.  I could plug my laptop as there were power points available. Little did I expect what I was about to witness within that short 30-minute break. 

Study Lounge (photo credits:

While the desks were all occupied with young people busy studying or working on their laptops, I saw a couple of individuals, mostly older guys (between age 45-55), lazing around in the lounge where the sofa seats were.  One guy probably in his late 40s was busy fiddling with his laptop, and kept turning the pages of the numerous books he had with him. Nothing unusual, but somehow, you know he was not really doing anything constructive.  Somehow, you know these odd-ones-out were just doing nothing. Their actions convinced me.

There was this guy in his late 40s, bald, wearing a striped polo tshirt and bermudas and track shoes. He was sitting restlessly on the sofa, right in front of me. He had with him a can of Coke and an empty bottle. Turned out he wanted to transfer his Coke into that empty bottle. He finally did, making a wet mess on the coffee table. Then he took out his laptop, but his attention was hardly on the screen. His eyes were furtively looking at the young girls who were walking past, or often staring into space, as if his thoughts were far away. Then he got even more relaxed. He removed his track shoes. I was quesy as he aired his feet with only socks on.  There were a couple of holes in the worn out socks and they were very loose (obviously elasticity was already lost). I would have gone ballistic if I had smelled hong kong foot from him at this point. To me, this is a public enclosed place, we have to be mindful of our manners, especially where everyone can see. 

Then, that guy left. Another guy in white t-shirt, long black pants and slippers immediately took the previous guy's seat, the same spot on the sofa.  Nothing unusual, until I noticed him opening a small plastic bag, obviously food inside. The sign at the study lounge mentioned that food is allowed only in the study lounge. Even though there was a vending machine for drinks and snacks like peanuts and sandwiches, I noticed some people brought snacks and bread from outside. Nothing unusual, until I saw the contents of the guy's plastic bag. He was slowly opening a packet of plain rice, and a plastic bowl of soup. Obviously it was fish soup! Then, to my horror, he started eating his rice and slurping on fish soup on the sofa of the study lounge (with an opened pack of chilli padi and light soya sauce no less!), in full view of all the students who were studying.  I could not believe my eyes. One by one, some people noticed him as the smell of his food filled that corner of the room. Some rolled their eyes, some stifled a giggle, some stared at him with disbelief. I was totally stumped as the guy was eating right in front of me. Pretty appalled and disgusted. 

Although "FOOD" is allowed in the study lounge, I think the Library needs to put a disclaimer to the type kind of food that is allowed in the lounge. Otherwise, we are going to see people eating chicken rice, and perhaps Nandos' chicken next. And I think we need a campaign to teach the public on social etiquette, please.

Remember my previous post  about the elderly lady sleeping on the floor of the Library ?


  1. Sadly, I see many instances of people with no sense of social etiquette in public these days. Another pet peeve: airing feet, putting feet up on empty seats, and clipping nails on public buses!

    Am surprised that food is allowed in the Study Lounge. Food should be banned! This way, thoughtless people like these won't be allowed to annoy other visitors or dirty public facilities with their inconsiderate behaviour.

  2. He looked like a china man..from his dressing..


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