Only in Singapore! – Happy Studying Sign at Starbucks

I don’t think you will see a sign like this in any other country. The kids in Singapore need to constantly swot for exams. It’s due to people in Singapore being kiasu (Singlish for afraid to lose out). Kids also prefer to study at cafes instead of at the library or at home (probably due to insufficient space or noise from the TV).  Saw this at one of the two VivoCity Starbucks Cafes.  Yes, there are two Starbucks outlets in one mall and within close proximity too.  Being someone who likes the coffee, I’m not complaining.

The signs are basically telling students they are more welcome before noon and in the early evening, before the work crowd makes their way out to the malls. Smart move Starbucks. They realize they should not alienate their future potential addicts, *ahem* I mean customers with a no studying sign. The kids would then just move to Coffee Bean or Tully’s.

I am curious?  Do you have signs like these in your country as well?  I am of the notion that kids in other countries are more well-adjusted and pursue more outdoor activities.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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13 Responses to Only in Singapore! – Happy Studying Sign at Starbucks

  1. Kirsten says:

    It’s actually pretty sad…

  2. Maria says:

    Very smart move on their part, I think. I didn’t see too many study groups in Starbucks when I lived in Singapore, but every McDonald’s I went to in the late afternoon would be crammed with them. This is something I’ve never seen in Canada. I guess it boils down to individualism vs. collectivism — Canadian students study alone and Singaporeans study in groups.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Thanks for sharing the Canadian experience with me.

      I totally wasn’t able to study in a group, when I was young. I definitely needed to be isolated to concentrate. If I was with my friends, we’d always end up just chatting and not studying. That’s why I can’t understand how they get their work done. I am guessing that the noise at home might also be too unbearable or not conducive. I have a feeling it’s also because HDB flats and apartments are spaced so close together, the noise from the neighbour’s TV is audible. Also they probably just like being with their friends like you mentioned, probably for someone to bounce ideas off.

  3. Maria says:

    I suspected it was partly to do with the HDB flats. And when I was young, I was the same as you — still am, in fact. I needed absolute silence to study. When I was a student, we weren’t allowed to work together in class. Everyone had to do their own work, and talking was discouraged. Things are very different for my daughters, who are both in high school. Now, students are encouraged to collaborate in class. It’s all about teamwork. My younger daughter told me the other day that she asked permission to leave her group and work by herself, because the other students weren’t focussing on the task, but were chatting with each other. She would never survive a study session at Starbucks in Singapore — she can’t concentrate with all that noise!

    • bookjunkie says:

      Wow that’s really interesting and your experience at school is similar to mine. At postgrad level, more teamwork and group projects (collective grades) was encouraged, but by then we were all so used to our individualism and we couldn’t deal with slackers who skirted by doing nothing.

      My sister could study with the radio on (pretty loud too), but I couldn’t. If a nice song was on, my mind would automatically process the lyrics and melody and I would start singing. I could not fatham how she could do it. She always did a whole lot better than me at school. Today I am even worse. I need absolute silence in order to concentrate, think and write.

  4. kierstens says:

    We DEFINITELY have them in the US. I’m from a college town, and if you go to the Borders or Barnes & Nobles or Starbucks around exam times, there are signs just like this asking people not to study or not to sit with books for longer than 30 minutes. Maybe students are internationally annoying to shop-owners everywhere…

  5. LL says:

    I’m reminded of all those aspiring writers with their macbooks, pretty common in los angeles, especially that one with a total look of concentration on his face as he played solitaire. =)

    But yeah, in college it was harder to find places to study. I remember I ended up studying at the grocery store since starbucks was packed.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Were there actually seats at your grocery store? In Singapore there is no way we can do that. No seats and the management would chase you away if they caught you lingering at the aisles.

      • LL says:

        Yeah. It was a weird section where they let you sit and eat food from the their catering area (I’m still not sure what it’s called, since I never eat at those places. A deli? But it wasn’t just sandwich meats. They offered soup, whole chicken, pastas, etc).

        That area was always empty (excluding finals week) since the environment was not very nice: loud cash registers, tables are sticky or wobbly, etc. I usually study there when I miss the bus. Most people fight for a spot at the libraries, coffee shop, etc. I only know it’s close to finals when that section of the grocery store has a group of students there.

        • bookjunkie says:

          I am imagining an imaginary scene in a movie right now where there’s a girl studying at one of those wobbly sticky tables at the grocery store you describe. Your words have evoked a vivid image. It’ll probably be an Art movie with wonderful cinematography 🙂

      • LL says:

        If you ever decide to create this artsy movie, please remember me! =)

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