vozzie wrote:... and to deal with the other issue raised ...
Why isn't that school kid standing up for the old guy with the walking stick?
Because he hasn't been taught manners sufficiently by his parents and teachers.
Do I agree with that? ... No
Do I have a chance of changing that culture? ... Well, yes
Do I get angry at him because he wasn't taught properly? ...No
But, I might decide to suggest to the kid that he might get up for the old man.
There ... I'm happy, the man's happy ... and the kid has learnt a bit of a lesson and next time he might act differently
And, again, I'm not stressed out over it.
P.S. My rather big point is ... these people aren't doing this to get up your nose. They are doing it because they were taught that way. That's why understanding does help.
1. Funny, I have a Sg'n friend who posted a photo on facebook of a young woman doing this exact thing (well a girl had her shopping bags on next to her on the reserved seat), under the caption "why do people do this??" or some such thing. Her other Sg'n friends all weighed in on how terrible it is, offering suggestions like "you should have photographed her face and sent it to the paper" and "people like this have no conscience" etc. I made the point that maybe she was in fact completely oblivious and the gentle thing to do would be to point out to her that somebody had a greater need of that seat than her shopping bags and suggest she move them. But I know nobody here would do that, they'd all stare and mutter under their breath and judge but would never risk a confrontation by actually addressing the issue. I think people here also like the feeling of being superior to someone else (part of being kiasu?) so they're on the lookout for stuff like this.
2. Interestingly enough, over the months this past year that I was obviously pregnant, my husband had opportunity to evict dozens of folks from reserved seating on buses and MRT, and only one of them got offended. It was rather funny, actually, he glared at us all the way from Tanah Merah to Outram Park, even after another seat nearby came available and my husband invited him to sit down before he did, he refused it.
3. I have had the opportunity to ride public transit in many cities, including NYC, London, Rome, Madrid, Shanghai and Beijing and the only place I've seen such obvious disregard for social cues like barging and refusing to offer seats to those who need them more has been here in Singapore (despite fully expecting it to be worse in China, it was quite civilized). Two years ago on an impromptu trip to London in December after having spent three months in Spain (on my way back to Canada) I was inappropriately dressed for the weather in a heavy sweater and scarf under a spring jacket. The effect was it made me look about 6 months pregnant when in fact I was not. It took me a few tube rides before I realized that people weren't offering me their seats because they liked the look of my face, LOL, but I was kind of embarrassed to explain so I just sat
4. My take on dealing with annoyances: I see this assignment here in Singapore as just another life experience, for me there is only one place I truly call home. If I planned on raising my kids here I might get a little more uptight about certain things but in the grand scheme of things I'm only a visitor here, so while these things grate on my nerves, they're really something to laugh about. Especially with other expats who have had the same experiences.