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Hygiene Notions

Out of desperation, I had to join the Sunday crowd at Ikea for my dinner.

Such a trendy place to hang out for families from a highly developed country, to show off that the wives do not have to do the cooking at home because they can afford to eat out.

After much struggle, I finally managed to snatch an empty seat at a table shared with a family. They had a stack of serviettes (paper napkins) on the table. When I said stack, I really meant stack. A 1-inch thick stack! How can a family of 2 adults and 2 toddlers need so many of that?

It is such a common scene that these humans will take much more than they should, when they can, even when they have absolutely no need for it. "Well, it's free", someone will tell you that.

It is also one of the many notions of "hygiene" in Singapore, well, also in many other places where humans reside. Since the extinct of handkerchief (some may not even know what it is or how to spell it anymore), the use of paper napkins is on the rise. "It's hygienic", someone would also tell you that.

Of course! And here is why they need a whole stack of paper napkins, and would go back for more:

1. Oops, spilt a drop of sauce on my little finger. I need a paper napkin to wipe it off. Chuck.
2. Oh no, spilt some juice onto the table, pass me another paper napkin please. Chuck.
3. Aww... look at you little baby, I'll use this new paper napkin to wipe that food off your face. Chuck.
4. Oops, spilt another drop of sauce on my other little finger. I need a fresh paper napkin to wipe it off. Chuck.
5. Intermission for my drinks, let me wipe my lips clean with a fresh paper napkin before I drink my juice. Chuck. (I might even need a paper napkin to wipe the side of the glass or the straw clean. Chuck)
6. I think I need to wipe that bit of food off my lips again with a fresh paper napkin. Chuck.
7. Aww... look at our little baby, stained her little face again. I'll use this new paper napkin to wipe that food off your face. Chuck.
8. Repeat of 5 and 6, probably a few more times. Chuck, chuck, chuck.
9. Finished eating, finally. Let's use one fresh paper napkin for each of us to wipe our lips, fingers, and faces clean. Chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck.

Home is where children get their primary exposure to morals and ethics. But how can we expect this couple's children to grow up having any conscience towards consumption?

Me? I tear one paper napkin into at least 4 little pieces, each for one meal. Dirty little bugger me.


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