"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" is a spoof letter sign-off typically used to mock those pedantic, easily-offended members of the English middle class who are wont to write to missives of complaint to newspapers over the merest trifle.
But these much-derided scribes are nothing compared to Singapore's angry letter writers, who are emboldened by a sense of entitlement passed down to them by the nanny-state government.
While "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" may, from time to time, take the edge off their perpetual sense of outrage by imbibing a few stiff drinks, Singapore's "disgusted of Toa Payoh" never lets up. And that's one of the reasons that I sorely miss opening up the Straits Times every morning to read the latest incredulous correspondence.
Thanks to the internet, though, I can still read gems such as this letter to the Straits Times forum from Lim Yong Soon, who may or may not live in Toa Payoh, a public housing estate in central Singapore that is popular with Chinese families. The correspondent is scandalised by the common local practice of reserving a table at a food court or hawker centre by putting down a packet of tissues:
I am shocked that some Singaporeans continue to regard their tissue paper packet as an endorsement of their public reservation of a table for lunch or dinner.
I had lunch recently at the Great World City foodcourt. I spotted an empty table while my friend went to order the food.
This was a table for four, and this young man in his mid or late 20s plonked down at the table and said it was his as he had a tissue paper packet there.
There was no tissue paper packet around, so he insinuated that I had removed it so I could occupy the table. He then called his friend and one minute later, she appeared and also plonked down at the table.
I would have gladly shared the table with them had they been polite and not accused me of removing their tissue paper.
I was shocked by such ugly behaviour.