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Pedestrian Courtesy in Singapore

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WideEyed
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Postby WideEyed » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 3:14 pm

x9200 wrote:Most people I know had their honeymoon period from 0.5 to 1.5y before their level of frustration got to the level of open complains .


I'm actually adjusting quite well here. It's a great place to live and work. Whether I last here or not isn't the point of this thread. The lack of pedestrian courtesy is a daily occurence and immediately noticable. I do laugh it off because it's often not intentional. I've just never lived anywhere where people have such a lack of awareness of their surroundings. It's as if the majority is on auto pilot with blinders on and their head in an invisible bubble. I don't think kiasu explains it. It's more like a kind of widespread boredom. I've asked friends about the lack of pedestrian courtesy and they have surely experienced it, but don't know the cause. Is it the safety and security of Singapore that makes people this way? Or is there something in the water that they're not telling us about? :lol: Hmmmm.

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Re: Pedestrian Courtesy in Singapore

Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 3:20 pm

WideEyed wrote:I've lived here 6 weeks now and really like it. My one and only complaint is that I am stunned by the lack of pedestrian courtesy. Why is it this way? I understand that people walk slow because it's hot and that they have the bad habit of shuffling/dragging their feet because they often wear flipflops. But why do people stop at the end of an escalator when the know there are others behind them?


Because they are situationally unaware... inside their bubble. Answer: Run into them, push out of the way, while saying, "Hey!" in a loud voice.

Why am I forced to step off the sidewalk into the street when passing an oncoming group who won't share the sidewalk?


Because you let them. Strong shoulder forward and bash right through them. It really is quite satisfying.

Why do people stop and congregate at a tight bottleneck? Why do people stop, change direction without looking first, and run right into me? Why do people not step to the side on the escalator or conveyors and not let me pass? Why won't anyone walk up or down on an escalator or conveyor? Why do people cut in front of the queue when they clearly see that there is a queue? Why do people not let me off the train or elevator before barging on? Why do slow walkers drift from side to side and not let me pass? Why do people seem to have a complete lack of awareness of those around them? Is it self centeredness? Is it because there are so many cultures here? Is it just every man for himself? I've noticed several times that people will apologize when they realize they have been inconsiderate, but it's the lack of awareness, self centeredness, and zombie-like momentum that has me questioning the place. Please don't take this as a rant. Singapore is great, but six weeks here and I've experienced all of these things. I've lived all over the world, and really love Singapore, but I have never experienced a place where everyone's head seems to be inside a bubble. What gives?


Trains and elevators are another great place to perfect your "barging" techniques... also in heavy queues where no one will let you pass. I AM coming off the train... and I have no problem in making strong body contact with someone trying to shove his way on... nearly bowled over one blighter he was in such a rush. If you are dragging a wheeled bag, make sure to drag it across their ankles as well.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 3:51 pm

^^^^ +1

Yep, an if you are a short block you have a lower centre of gravity then them so the briefcase usually impacts the shins or kneecaps, and if it's a 14kg samsonite hardside, it will definitely make an impression. Oh, even short people, if the shoulders are set, tend to scatter the biggest of them.

x9022, do you remember ozchick? She was a prime example of the honeymoon type. Her tone changed considerably up until she when to Germany a couple of years ago, then she wanted to come back here. ;-)

WideEyed, it's a total lack of spatial awareness. I think it's a result of Leeky's social engineering experiments of the 70's & 80's and what can happen. They are genetically smart in math & science and devoid of anything called social responsibility or spatial awareness of anything that goes on around them. This might explain WHY they are so good in math & science, because they're oblivious to everything around them, it makes concentrating easier. Might also explain how they can study in McD's, Starbuck's & the airports without all the human traffic bothering their concentration.

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Postby poodlek » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 8:07 pm

Bahahahaha I love these threads! They never get old for me, your stories are always good for a chuckle. A couple weeks ago Adam yelled at some people in an elevator at Dhoby Ghaut MRT as they were ramming themselves in there ahead of a family with a stroller and another dude in a wheelchair. It made no difference, nobody got off, but the father of the family (who was properly flustered "oh no, it doesn't matter, I don't mind..." etc) asked "Are people really more polite in other countries? How does it work? How do you make them be courteous?" LOL I told them nobody has to make them do it, they just do it, generally speaking. I said I learned from the time I was a young child to look out for others, and if I was caught by my parents rushing ahead of old or feeble people or pushing through a crowd or some other antisocial behavior I would have gotten smacked.

X9200: I remember being totally baffled and annoyed by these behaviors as early as two weeks into my stay here. I've grown to accept it, and am able to laugh it off especially here on this forum, but I still find the rage building up if I happen to be so foolish as try to get groceries or venture out in public for any reason on a weekend :-D

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Postby nakatago » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 8:19 pm

Oh noes! Some crabby auntie will then complain that foreigners like to engage in assault!

On another point, they say that Westerners are rude!

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Postby movingtospore » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 8:26 pm

Last week, I was heading up the escalator to get on the train, when this woman running behind me was in such a hurry she stepped on my shoe and pulled it off. No apology, she ran past to make a mad dash for the train that was arriving. I calmly put my shoe back on, followed her onto the same train, looked at her and said, "Amazing how I also got onto the train without stepping on anyone." She turned beet red and walked to the other end of the train. An no doubt complained about rude Ang Mohs for the rest of the day. :D

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 8:30 pm

Yeah, they don't realize that rudeness begets rudeness. They don't think of choping tables, rushing in before anybody is out of the train as being rude, but pragmatic, cause it they don't get the seat, somebody else might. Therefore, Kiasuism to a new level, whatever it takes to win. Some of the older folks like to send their little grandkids to rush in to grab the seats thinking folks will give way for them. I ride the trains from Serangoon to Clementi twice a day 5 or 6 days a week. It's comedic/tragedy.

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 8:43 pm

poodlek wrote: "Are people really more polite in other countries? How does it work? How do you make them be courteous?"


Manners, etiquette, unwritten social rules, or what ever you might call them have evolved due to a) making life simpler for all b) making society a more pleasant place for all.

I do wonder why this seems to have not taken root in certain cultures. I remember a discussion many moons ago with a local colleague in Tokyo in which he aired his theory that Japanese society is group-centric due their historical origins in communal/agrarian societies. Whereas westerners were hunter gathers and hence more used to functioning alone. Well... I can see what he was driving at there.

The thing is in SG the people do come from kampongs/villages and still act communally at times (think of the multi-hundred guest lists at weddings). But it only seems to be when it is for the direct benefit of their family or kampong (read: social circle if you wish), everyone else can be damned. It makes for an interesting contrast with the JPnese.

(I put it down to 'New Money' to be honest. A peasant society suddenly presented with a banquet of riches. All manners go straight out the window.)

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Re: Pedestrian Courtesy in Singapore

Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 9:08 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
Why am I forced to step off the sidewalk into the street when passing an oncoming group who won't share the sidewalk?


Because you let them. Strong shoulder forward and bash right through them. It really is quite satisfying.


Trains and elevators are another great place to perfect your "barging" techniques... also in heavy queues where no one will let you pass. I AM coming off the train... and I have no problem in making strong body contact with someone trying to shove his way on... nearly bowled over one blighter he was in such a rush. If you are dragging a wheeled bag, make sure to drag it across their ankles as well.[/quote]


I especially like doing it to the old uncles that try to barge onto MRT while I'm still getting off.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 9:26 pm

I do sometimes wonder though, is it the locals who are the rudest, or the PRC? I'll be hones, I can't always tell them apart here. PRC has some of the rudest people I've ever met. Vietnam too. Grocery stores there are hilarious. The aunties there 'chop' their place in line with random items on the counter. Keep in mind none of the counters there are big either, more like the size of a single cashier at Shop N Save. But you can be waiting in line for 10 mins with no one ahead of you, because people just keep walking back and forth putting more and more things on the counter.

I think JR is on the right track. Not quite so much new money, but just "new technology". In the west, a lot of these developments slowly built up allowing people time to aclimate. In a lot of countries, they went from rice paddies to smart phones and grocery stores in 10-20 years.

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Postby WideEyed » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 9:58 pm

When the plane from Hong Kong landed in Singapore, I was surprised to see so many people jumping up from their seats and racing toward the door to get ahead of the other passengers. Even as I stood up to get my bag out of the overhead, a woman was trying to squeeze by me determined to be the first one off the airplane. The man sitting beside me saw me shake my head. I mouthed the word "rude" to him and he corrected me saying she's not rude. She's mainland chinese. That was my first introduction to kiasu.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 11:02 pm

WideEyed wrote:When the plane from Hong Kong landed in Singapore, I was surprised to see so many people jumping up from their seats and racing toward the door to get ahead of the other passengers. Even as I stood up to get my bag out of the overhead, a woman was trying to squeeze by me determined to be the first one off the airplane. The man sitting beside me saw me shake my head. I mouthed the word "rude" to him and he corrected me saying she's not rude. She's mainland chinese. That was my first introduction to kiasu.


Ahhh, yes... since I fly every week, well accustomed to such stunts. Almost always fly aisle... block the offender with first stand up into the aisle, then swing back pack from luggage compartment to shoulder... really shouldn't stand so close to me.

Big dude last week trying to push by me... literally had to back into him with my back pack and push him into a seat. I am normally quite laid back... and obnoxious people will pay the price.

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Re: Pedestrian Courtesy in Singapore

Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 18 Mar 2012 11:06 pm

zzm9980 wrote:I especially like doing it to the old uncles that try to barge onto MRT while I'm still getting off.


And since I am a white haired guy myself, usually older than them, it is even better... my karate skills are still very useful... no, not the 'whack whack'... the body positioning... I really could put a serious hurt on some of those folks with just body contact... as it is, a marginally stunning blow works wonders... for me, anyway.

And then say, "Uncle, you so rude. Very bad example for younger people". I get to say that, not being a younger person.

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Postby the lynx » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 10:52 am

And being small and short, I'm often on the receiving end :cry:

Try to imagine fat packs of rude men and women bouncing me out of their way in mad stampede.

Sounds like a good scene in comedy but it is not funny when I get that most of the time during peak hours :(

Given the height and the mass, I would love to do what SE does on these people...

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Postby aster » Mon, 19 Mar 2012 11:36 am

WideEyed wrote:It's as if the majority is on auto pilot with blinders on and their head in an invisible bubble. I don't think kiasu explains it. It's more like a kind of widespread boredom.


I think it's the "going from point A to point B in a straight line" approach coupled with their inability to recalculate their "trajectory" until an object (like yourself) is less than half-a-yard in front of them heading in their direction, at which point it's usually too late.


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