Tue, Jun 16, 2009
my paper
Mugging at cafes? No big deal

By Daryll Nanayakara

WHEN Ms Indrani Chilleya was preparing for her final examinations last year, the junior- college student hit the books at a Starbucks outlet near her home in Woodlands.

The 20-year-old spent up to six hours at a stretch revising her work at the cafe in Causeway Point shopping centre, a 10-minute ride from her Woodlands flat.

Some cafe users would have felt irritated by her actions but Ms Indrani did not see anything wrong at all.

After all, she was patronising the cafe.

She told my paper: "I do not see what I did as wrong because, after all, I was a paying customer. It"s not as if I sat on the outlet's chairs without buying anything from it."

Still, she would leave if an employee at the outlet asked her to. "If it got too crowded, I would go somewhere else to study so others could take my seat," she said.

"It is only fair to the outlet if I was just there to study and not spending much on items. There is always the library as a last resort," she added.

Six years ago, at another coffee joint, police had to be called in after a group of students, who had been studying there, refused to leave.

Other customers my paper spoke to said they would not mind if seats are taken by students.

Ms Lavanya Kannathass, 21, a relief teacher, said: "It"s okay if they use the cafes to study, but it would also depend on the time that the students choose to hog the seats.

"If it"s crunch time and there are a lot of customers waiting for a seat, then the students should be sensitive to their needs."

Ms Grace Chung, 22, a polytechnic student, said: "The coffee joints are a business and if the other customers can give them more business than the students, I think it"s fair if the outlet managers do something."

Another customer, Ms Fadilah Amir Hamzah, 24, a publicrelations consultant, said: "The students probably find such cafes conducive for studying. It is understandable and I don"t see it as a big problem."

For more my paper stories click here.

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Studying at cafes? No problem
Mugging at cafes? No big deal
Let students apply to unis
He earns 3-year uni fee in 6 months
They come in groups, hog seats and chit-chat

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