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The New Paper
Sept 15, 2023
How long can you be gone for before you are deemed to have given up your seat at a table?
An argument of that nature broke out between a middle-aged man and a group of students at Our Tampines Hub on Sept 11, prompting the man to call the police in the end.
According to Shin Min Daily News, the man had sat down at a sitting area located on B1 of the community centre. The area offers a few tables for visitors to use for study or dining.
When he left the area, he left his personal belongings behind as a means of “reserving the table”. In that span of time, five students had sat down at the same table.
When the man returned, he berated the youngsters for using his space and moving his stuff.
In a clip of the incident uploaded to the Sgfollowsall Telegram channel, the students can be heard explaining to the man that they only sat down at the table to study after he had left the area for a few hours.
But the man, wearing a black shirt and cap, wouldn’t relent, and told the students they should go to the library instead if they want to study.
A student who was present at the scene told Shin Min that the man is a frequent visitor of the area and would sometimes arrive as early as 6am.
"Every time, he will bring a few bags with him. He usually watches videos with his laptop before disappearing for a few hours. However, he will leave his personal belongings behind to reserve the seat," said the student.
According to the student, on the date of the incident, the man left the area for a long period of time. When he returned, he threw a tantrum in front of the students.
"Some of us tried to explain to him why his items were moved, while others tried to ask him to lower his voice,” explained the student.
“However, he kept saying we were having a party, even though everyone there was reviewing our lessons.”
“The incident took place during examination week, and Sept 11 was teacher's day, so students could be found everywhere," the youth added.
The man eventually called for the security officer of the mall. But he became even more outraged when the guard told him that if he were to leave the area for more than two hours, he should bring his personal belongings with him.
"He then accused the students of damaging his personal items and called the police. The students were a bit frightened when police officers arrived at around 6:30pm. Some of them asked their parents to come over to talk to the man," said the student.
In response to Shin Min's queries, police said a report was lodged over the matter.