Do you clean your table after having a meal at the hawker centre? Yes, we said clean. Not just clear.
If you don’t, you probably should start doing so before you end up like the TikToker who had a dispute with two National Environment Agency (NEA) officers on it.
Man Fails to Clean His Table; Challenges NEA Enforcement Officers in Dispute
On Friday (13 October), a video surfaced on TikTok which caught the eye of many Singaporeans. It was a video of a man confronting two NEA enforcement officers after he was approached for failing to clean his table at Tekka hawker centre.
In the TikTok, the man asks the officers whether he’s supposed to wipe the table clean when he dirties it.
One of the two enforcement officers, donning a red t-shirt, answered in the affirmative.
Regardless, the TikToker wasn’t satisfied with this answer—he thought his duty was limited to clearing disposable items from their tables.
Not happy; take it up with the NEA enforcement officers lor. And take it up, he did.
Regardless, the other enforcement officer, wearing a black t-shirt, answered his question by confirming that diners are, in fact, expected to clean their table on top of returning their trays.
This means that any trash on the table must be cleared as well.
But, as many say, the third time’s the charm—the TikToker probably subscribed to this, so he challenged the NEA enforcement officers once more.
“For used tissue, I’m supposed to throw [it away], but if while eating and drinking, I make the table dirty, am I the one who needs to clean it?” the TikToker said.
And, well, you guessed it. The answer’s yes, and that’s what the two NEA enforcement officers shared with the TikToker.
The TikToker then thanks the two officers and wraps up the video.
Well, I guess at least he thanked the officers.
It is unclear whether the TikToker was eventually fined for failing to clean his table. Presumably, he was.
Ah, Singapore… What a fine city.
Not the First Time “Clean Tables Campaign” Has Come Under Fire
This TikTok seems to have flipped the switch in many Singaporeans, triggering a debate on whether diners should reasonably be expected to wipe their tables after meals.
After all, most Singaporeans’ takeaway from the Clean Tables Campaign is that diners merely need to clear their trays after makan-ing.
However, as we’ve said, diners are generally responsible for keeping their dining area clean. This includes clearing your trays, tissues, crockery, and other litter from your table.
The cleaners’ role is then to maintain the general cleanliness of dining areas by regularly wiping the tables and clearing the tray return areas.
This means that you, as a diner, still shoulder the responsibility of keeping your table clean, even if that means wiping your table after you dine. If not, you risk getting fined up to $300.
It’s a little mafan, but it appears that’s the least you could do to be gracious and clean up after yourself.
So, what’s your take? Do you think expecting diners to wipe their tables after dining at a hawker centre is reasonable?