Remember Chope? As a kid whenever you were playing a game or were in a difficult situation, and needed a break, because you didn’t want to die, from the neighbours fat kid sitting on your face? You’d instinctively call out, “Chope! Chope! Chope” Actually with the kid sitting on your face, crushing your jaws, it would have sounded like, “CHWAP! CHWAP! CHWAP!” And if your hands were not also being pinned down, you’d be waving the peace sign in the air with fingers as well, just in case the bugger could not hear you.
“Chope!” Remember that? Everyone knew exactly what to do when we hear that! Back off, stop hurting, release and back down, stop the game, chill. And usually after a while we’d shake hands too.
To the one screaming “Chope” it provided instant relief. To the fat kid, choking the one yelling “Chawp!” he knew that if he continued he’d lose trust and friends. And for the rest of us kids, we knew that someone was in some pain or distress and it’s ok to stop the game. ‘Chope’ gave us the reassurance that we could go all out and play really, really hard again the next time and not die. We all knew that!
So why did we not just use “Chope’ instead of ‘Circuit Breaker?’ Unless you’re an electrician or someone who fiddles with electrical wires and circuits, you may not see the correlation between COVID 19 and a circuit breaker. Go ask one of those aunties at the market about the circuit breaker and see if she knows what to do. But yell “Oi! Aunty! CHOPE!” With the peace sign, and see what happens.
Most disappointing are the younger Singaporeans who have never had the privilege of experiencing “Chope!” These turned out to be self-centred, self-absorbed and selfish brats. They make comments like “If I get COVID-19 my problem la!” That’s because they’ve never had that neighbours fat kid sitting and jumping up and down on their faces, when they were growing up. They’ll never know how dying feels like when you’re gasping for air, listening to your throat being crushed by some sweaty, slimy, smelly, gassy kid sitting on your neck. Had they experience that, they’ll know, how to “CHOPE,” respect a “CHOPE “ and how to behave like decent human beings.