Whether you applaud this trend or condemn it will likely depend on how old your kids are — or if you even have kids at all. In Singapore, more and more restaurants are setting a minimum age requirement for their patrons and it has nothing to do with the legal drinking age. Some are even going so far as to ban anyone not yet a teenager.
PS. Cafe is one such restaurant — it won’t allow anyone under the age of 13 at its Ang Siang Hill location. Gunther’s Modern French Cuisine bars children under 7 while Kuriya Penthouse, a Japanese restaurant, says no kids under 15, except on Sundays and public holidays when they still have to be at least 6. I’m not even sure this is legal in the United States but I guess it’s okay in Singapore, a country where chewing gum has been banned for nearly 20 years.
Naturally, some diners love the idea. “As much as I love children,” says Leong Yuet Har, who dines regularly at PS. Cafe, “I want to eat my meal in peace with no crying babies and kids running around the table.”
Even parents are in favor of the restrictions. Patricia Chong, who has two teenagers of her own, thinks banning kids under 12 is great. “If you have paid for a baby sitter on a night out away from screaming kids,” she said, “the last thing you want is to encounter it during your hard-earned meal or date.”
I think that a Mrs. S. Bett, an expectant mother, put the concept in context perfectly when she explained that “My husband and I have already decided that we will teach our kids to sit up, shut up and eat their food like mini-adults.” She added that “If they don’t, we won’t take them out with us, it’s just not fair to other diners.”
Personally, I do expect my kids to know how to behave in public and that some behaviours are acceptable in one location and not another, but I’m not going to deny them the chance to experience eating in a restaurant simply because they might act like, well, kids. Similarly, I don’t have a problem with other people’s kids not being perfect little “mini-adults.” Would you like to see restaurants implement such a policy here in the States or is this an outrage?