Entering an MRT in Singapore should be like entering a train on any other country. You get in, mind your own business and get off when you have to. I am unsure of what other countries might be practicing but Singapore has this “movement” and it concerns our seats.
Recently, the mascots for all things courteous and gracious are characters whose names abuse alliteration so much it could sue somebody. Now, it’s a noble movement and it makes sense, “Give up your seats to those who need them more than you do.” Sure okay, here you go really frail old lady or really pregnant young lady or really injured person or you really young child. I have no qualms about that; just looking out for people. What I increasingly am having problems with is the rise of a curious case of entitlement. I will put this out simply and you’ll see how absurd this really sounds.
The sign on the seats say “Priority Seat” which means, should someone with a greater need enter the train, they have priority over it. For any other seat in the train, it comes more as a free for all, first come first serve thing. I don’t know how, and I am running on conjecture here, why in a majority of cases, it is the middle aged, cranky citizens that get the most annoyed when seats are taken up. They also, usually, have the absolute balls to ask for the seat when the only thing they are suffering from is a mild case of nothing. Unless your name is “Priority Seat”, you are not entitled to a seat or any seat for that matter. It comes as a privilege to be able to sit your ass down and if you happen not to get a seat, that’s just too bad, try again next time, thanks for playing, better luck tomorrow and the day after.
Indulge my rhetoric, but some people are starting to think that the very public and very free seats on trains “belong” to them and when someone takes away the warm (cold) embrace of moulded plastic from their hineys , it becomes an egregious act only matched by removing your tissue packets from tables in the hawker centre (another thing I don’t understand but okay).
There has been dozens of incidents out there of people photographing or recording this appalling, disgusting act of sitting on a chair, trying to shame them because how dare you sit on this publicly funded chair.
This shit has got to stop.
There are also cases of people getting into fights because someone’s feelings are pricked and they decide to be confrontational about whose butt the seat really wants pressed down on it. You are fighting for a chair and unless you are playing a round of musical chairs, you only look like an idiot.
This shit has got to stop.
Now, I’m not saying that you do nothing. By all means, if you truly need a seat and someone refuses to give it up to you, get frustrated. But don’t start ripping into them like Freddy Krueger. Sensible thing? There are literally, more than 20 other people in the train. Ask them. Not everyone is an asshole. You get your seat and the asshole will probably go home to an overcooked chicken and his sweat stained arm chair sullied by hours of only meeting people online.
What you shouldn’t do? Make a big deal about it. It’s a seat. You want to be passionate about injustice, leave the seat stealer and go be passionate about climate change or human rights. There are truly bigger things than a damn seat.
“But Val, this person needs to know he’s in the wrong!” Sure, if they murdered a cat or something. What will posting his face online do? Or even just picking a fight with them. Nothing. He’s not going to jail and honestly, most people don’t even study the person’s face, they just take a look and go, “whoops another asshole oh well on to YouTube and more important things in life”
Ironically, our endeavour to have everyone be gracious has created quite a vicious cycle. You can’t force these things. Teach people to be gracious because it’s the right thing to do or because a very old person could just tumble and break a hip. You can’t shove it down people’s throats and suddenly expect them to be a good guy. You can’t turn Lex Luthor into Superman by posting his face online with the caption, “this person tried to kill superman #angry #noshame” You’d probably make him mad and he’ll go off creating some Doomsday device.
So if you happen to run into Lex and friends on your early morning commute, just realize there are a few Stand-up Stacey’s (sigh) in the train.. Just ask them, you’ll be happy and no one has a bad day. (For real though, let’s rethink the mascots)