i cannot emphasize enough that singaporeans are indeed ugly commuters.. i think i blogged previously about no one giving up a seat for me on the trains, despite spotting a huge tummy. although not on ALL occasions (thankfully there are still nice Samaritans around), i noticed the trend the majority of the time, there are a lot of people who, pretended (1) not to see (2) avoid eye contact (3) falls asleep immediately (4) simply ignore and go about doing their own stuff.

i always feel that as a commuter taking up the reserve seat (fine, its justifiable to sit if there’s no other people who needs it more than you and your legs are tired), it is your responsibility to keep a constant lookout for people who might need the seat more than you. just because, the seat is “RESERVED” for these people.

i could easily find a dozen or even hundreds of articles on the net pertaining to the ugly commuters that we have in singapore today. stomp even has its own topic column to house these (just goes to show that the incidents happen all the time and we are not even including those that went unreported!). and it saddens me to read about articles and seeing people ‘suffering’ in silence and not voice it out (because i am one of them!).

here’s some interesting articles if you wanna read about found on stomp.com.
‘Ugly S’porean’ commits multiple faults: He sits on Priority Seat and takes off shoes
Another commuter caught using eye-mask tactic to grab priority seat
Man in reserved seat ignores old auntie standing right in front of him
Everyone so ‘busy’ with gadgets, no one gives up seat for pregnant woman on MRT
Parents with babies on crowded train, but no one offers them seats
seriously, WHAT THE HELL are these people thinking about?!

well, i can’t emphasize enough that there are just too many actual incidents happening.

ugly commuters aside, i have seen nasty comments lashed out at the righteous people who ‘stomped’ the pieces, telling people off that they do pay the same fare and everyone have EQUAL rights to the ‘reserved’ seats, and that if the old, pregnant, with kids want to have the seat, they should pay more because they ‘need’ it (not like they pay additional fare right?). these are just some examples and there are a whole lot more out there. and this, is what i call people is ZERO compassion, and their hearts are probably thrown away and eaten by the dogs. wait till they grow old or when their wives needs the seat and people do the same thing to them. i always believe in karma. 🙂

the old folkies. we all know they are not as strong, may have a lot of health complications, could be potentially frail, cannot afford to fall (bones takes a longer time to heal, get injured more easily) and com’on, they sure deserve some respect for being old so the reserved seat should really be given to them.

a lot of people actually argue that the pregnant women are young and they should be able to withstand the standing in the crowded trains. before i got pregnant, i knew i had to give up the seats because they need it more (heavier body, cannot afford to fall since baby is at risk) and it was basic courtesy to do so (i have to applaud the courtesy campaign that was rolled out when i was a kid that instilled good values in me). but when i got pregnant, suddenly, it makes perfect sense to actually give seat to a pregnant lady, sometimes, more so than an elderly. i actually had elderly giving up their seats for me on the train before (shame on the young ones) but of cos, i refused on the account that i am alighting soon (even tho i am not).

so, here’s some reasons why you should always give up the seat to a pregnant lady.

(1) they don’t breathe as well or have nasal problems when they are pregnant. com’on, they need to share the same amount of oxygen that they take in as a normal person with another baby whose heart beat rate is almost twice of that of a normal human being (imagine the amt of oxygen needed). and because of this, they often feel dizzy as well. you don’t want to deal with a fainted pregnant person, do you? truth is, i almost fainted a few times during my first trimester in the trains and i cannot breathe in enclosed areas (like lift) and although while i am on the verge of fainting, no one, offered me a seat still because they simply cannot be bothered.

(2) they carry around a heavier load. pregnant ladies put on a lot of weight to grow the baby. on an average, 12 -16kg, though there are cases where some put on more than 20kg. if you are lugging a laptop (2-3kg) and feeling the strain on your shoulders on your train ride home, just imagine having the weight of at least 5 laptops bearing down on your legs ALL THE TIME, whenever you go. at least you can opt to drop that laptop on the floor while you take the train, but pregnant women simply do not have that option.

(3) they do not have a good sense of balance. with the additional weight and the bump sprouting out in the front, the centre of gravity for all pregnant folks has changed and it is often hard to balance because they have to arch their back back to support the weight on their stomach, resulting in them more susceptible to falls.

(4) their bodies are a lot weaker than they seemed to be. the baby in them is draining their strength, nutrients and calcium and the pregnant body is much weaker than an average body (that’s the reason why they need tonics or supplements during the pregnancy). so you can imagine a vampire sucking your blood dry and yet, you are struggling to stand on the train, packed with commuters.

(5) a fall could be deadly. some times, the train jerks and a normal person loses their balance and fall. a pregnant is likely to face the same thing except that with their weight, they’ll fall harder, with the lack of calcium, their bones are weaker (can fracture easily) and also, the baby’s life is in risk should the impact be great. so, do you really want to account for another life out there?

ok. i cannot really think because i spent the entire night awake battling insomnia. will add on to the list when i can, meanwhile.. i guess it’s enough to chew on for now.

the whole reason of me penning this down is to thank a particular SMRT staff at bishan mrt station, someone who has made an impact in my life and i can’t thank him enough.

on almost every occasion that i had to take the train home, bernice (who usually goes home with me, thank goodness for her company) always sulk at the inconsiderate people who don’t give up their seats, or attempt to embarrass them by say loudly,”someone should just give up a seat for you, you are pregnant eh!”. some times, it works, other times, people pretend to sleep.. but i often “shh” her to silence because i think its a tad embarrassing. ok. i am not the kind to confront people to ask for the seat. it’s just not me. I’ll usually try to hang on to the pole for my dear life while trying to regulate my breathing and make sure i’m ok. at times, i alight at interval stops to take a “breather” before hopping onto another train to ‘break’ the journey home so that it’s not that bad.

one day, while i was at bishan mrt, this kind white-haired uncle was directing the traffic of the commuters to the platform area where it is less crowded. i went the opposite direction simply because when i alight at my stop, i would have to take the stairs should i follow his instructions. so, i waited at the other end (the uncle was out of sight) for the train to arrive and when i was about the board the train, someone from behind shouted very loudly, “could someone give up a seat for mother and baby? could someone give up a seat for mother and baby here?!”. it was the same kind uncle that was directly the traffic earlier. noting that there wasn’t any response from the commuters (really!!), he directed his attention to this young guy hogging the reserve seat and went, “excuse me, sir. could you give up your seat to mother & baby here?”. of cos, the guy stood up and gave me his seat (all eyes in train were on him) and he huddled somewhere far away.

i had to shout “thank you” to the uncle in that split second before the train doors closed. i didn’t get his name.

when the train door closed, all eyes were on me (it was SOOOOO embarrassing!). Both bernice and me were trying to hide our faces because of the stares.. i whispered, “OMG. super embarrassing lor” and i think i wasn’t soft enough cos the people around me all broke into smiles. we had to cover our faces on the journey home (i was trying hard to stare into my iphone and not look up).

despite it being an embarrassing incident, it has also left a deep impression on me.. because the uncle actually went out of the way to help me and remembered that i needed assistance even though i have walked away far from his sight. i still remember his face, but unfortunately, i haven’t bumped into him again. if i do, i would ask for his name and send a compliment letter to smrt, because he, really made my day. and my train ride pleasant.

if only, more people would be more considerate.



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