One thing about Singapore, everyday is a mad rush. Singaporeans never get a chance to take a breather. Everyday is a constant battle to work, school or even to go Orchard Road to shop, everyone is moving in a fast-paced society. If you are trying to keep your mornings slow and easy by walking slow, you get pushed by people who are in a rush or basically, called “Kan-chiong”. Youhavetokeepupwiththefastpacedsingaporekanchiongrunners. It actually feels like that literally by reading that whole sentence without a space or without breathing.
Talking about seeing empty seats on train or bus, it’s pretty hard now unless it is during non-peak hours when there is nobody to fill up those seats. When there is a seat, it’s like another ‘eye-battle’. People’s eye aimming at the seat THEN it is like fastest-finger-first. See who runs to the seat first and sit, wins. What’s wrong about that is firstly, nobody actually looks around to see if there is anyone who NEEDS it MORE than your tired legs. Secondly, what’s the rush? Take a chill pill! We aren’t enemies/animals fighting for survival. We just want a smooth comfortable journey, don’t we? (:
I drew this to try to illustrate what I mean by ‘aimming’ for seats. Haha. I hope you get the drift. It’s WAR TIME.
I always wonder, what does it take for Singaporeans to slow down, think about everyone around them and be a gracious commuter? It is because the busy society we live in that has been so mundane everyday that we don’t stop and think about what is actually happening around us.
I wanna tell you guys how we can be gracious commuters and how much difference it would make if we just take the first step and try to make someone’s day! (:
Even if it is Monday Blues, or work blues… Early morning is never easy. I agree. But SMILING is the best remedy for anything. It is the easiest to do, just by moving a few facial muscles and smiling at someone in the morning. When you are trying to walk up the escalator on the right side, do not push up and use your bag to hit people who are standing on the left while you try to make your way up. Just keep your smile on your face, do not have to be a BIG HUGE SMILE but just a nice small friendly smile and say, “Excuse me” would brighten someone’s day and make them less grumpy. You aren’t the ONLY one feeling grumpy in the morning. The person who is sitting next to you in the train/bus might be feeling the same way too, or maybe they are going through tougher mornings than you are… You never know if your smile might actually change someone else’s day! (: So keep smiling!
How do you feel when you see a smile? (:
#2. Think about others
I know your legs are tired or your legs have not wake up from the early mornings. But before you start your sprinting/eye-battle whenever you see an empty seat, take a good look around you to see if there are any elderly standing or a pregnant lady going to work or a mother handling a few kids alone. These people need the seat more than your tired legs! By smiling and offering/helping the elderly to the seat, he will definitely remember it in his heart. I always believe in good karma points, and trust me, you will earn your good points someday! Offer the seat to a pregnant lady for her safety. Having a big tummy squeezing in the train is hard enough. What’s worst is if the train suddenly breaks, it is very dangerous for her and her baby. You can help prevent all these by just thinking about the people who needs it more than you (: I give you a tiny bet here – If you just give up your seat or help someone to the empty seat, it will make you feel so much happier and trust me, your Morning Blues will disappear AND so will your legs. They will feel much more energetic! By making someone else’s day, you are making yours in return.
#3. Don’t fake-sleep, be ignorant or try to be busy on the train with your iPads or Phones.
Be a good image to Singapore. Even if you are not patriotic, you are still living in this country! And it’s not gonna reflect any better on you if tourist sees all the ugly habits of Singaporeans. Imagine fighting a seat or rushing over to a seat infront of a tourist… When you go overseas next time and you tell people you are from Singapore, you will be judged. Seriously. It makes sense, if you are nice and gracious to people in the bus or train, tourists will remember you and compliment your actions when they are back in their own country. Self-image and reputation instantly level up! 😀
AND do not ever fake-sleep or just close your eyes. It really doesn’t help being ignorant! Like this, this is REALLY bad…..
Bringing an eye mask is really extreme. It shows that you don’t even want to have an eye for people around you who might need it more than your sleep!
If I’m a tourist, it really reflects very badly. Looking at how much that ‘younger’ guy needed the priority seat more than the elderly.
#4. Be gracious and gentle when you queue for the train and kindly move in to the center of the train to allow others to enter.
It is always like a race to enter the train especially during peak hours. Everyone squeezes at the yellow line as if that is the “START” Line for a running marathon and when the train opens the door, everyone DASHES. Like really, this isn’t survival dash or any diner dash game. Just stand at the side 1) Allow people to alight the train 2) Then nicely slowly board the train and move to the center.
This guy is not even standing at the side. He intends to ‘chiong’ inside. Being the first to enter doesn’t make you the winner. “Mr Kiasu 1”
Do not just get in the train and think “yay! I got in! I’m gonna stand at the front and not move in cos’ I don’t want those losers behind to come and squeeze me in the center. I NEED MORE SPACE. I WANT TO BE THE FIRST TO EXIT!” A very wrong mindset for Singaporeans! Everytime want to be the first to board the train THEN they want to be the FIRST to exit too. Another term for Singaporeans – Kiasu (Scared lose)
Looking at how they can settle for the floor and block the exit. “I got no seat, so I sit on the floor. Don’t say I never offer the seat to anyone else” – Wrong mindset. It doesn’t mean sitting on the floor means you are being gracious and cooperative! You are blocking the exit and causing more inconvenience to the people who wants to alight. I don’t know but I feel awkward and ashamed for that group.
In conjunction to all these that has been going on, Singapore has been creating ads and video and using the media to remind us for our proper etiquette in public. So they have created this “Make it Right for a Better Ride” campaign for 2012. It showcases poems and calligraphy by different people of different ages on how to be a gracious commuter and make everyone’s journey a better one.
I would like to share with you 2 of my favourite ones!
This boy makes the first! 🙂 He is only 8 and his poem made me smile when I read it. It has good rhyming words and coming from a 8-year old… We all should look up to him and learn! His poem describes all the ‘evil acts’ of people in trains/buses and being like a little angel, he reminds everyone with his poem and ending it with “everything will be alright” which is really true.
My second favourite would be this,
Looking at this elderly, all he needs is a seat. And the last sentence touches my heart – “Will remain in this heart of mine”. Your actions do count. It takes 2 hands to clap, you offer your seat, you make someone else’s day (: Coming from an elderly, we know how they feel/think now when they are offered a seat!
So I hope this is useful to remind and teach us how to be gracious and considerate when we take public transport (: Be nice to everyone!
Lastly, do you have a favourite poster you wanna share too? You can share it on your twitter or facebook.
Join the “Make It Right For A Better Ride” Twitter contest and stand to win a pair of movie tickets! More details on http://on.fb.me/betterride