You get up a bus and started searching for a seat – and you found one just next to the exit. Eagerly, you move towards the seat and sat down next to an elderly person- hey, you don’t want to be left standing for the rest of the entire 45 minutes journey. A few stops later, a pregnant lady and her husband boarded the bus. Looking around the husband walked towards you while the bus started moving off.

“Hey! You shouldn’t be sitting here”, he said, and whipped out his 3.5G HSDPA phone with a 3.2 Megapixel camera and proceed to snap a photo of you.

“What are you doing?”, you exclaimed, totally bewildered by the man’s behaviour. “How can you just take my photo?”

“Well, you are sitting at a designated seat that’s meant for pregnant women and the elderly. I’m reporting you to the police”, and the man proceed to send the photo wirelessly to a Web 2.0 police report filing portal.

Obviously fumed, you asserted, “How do you know I am not pregnant? I’m 2 months pregnant, you know? How can you do something like this?”  However, oblivious to your demands, the photo was sent and you’d probably be hurled down to the nearest police station 2 weeks later to explain your case.

This is probably the scenario that you might potentially get if the person in the letter below get his way. I’m not saying that he’s wrong to stand up for his pregnant wife, but can you imagine what kind of society we would become if such rules come into place? People will simply stop becoming gracious (I still believe that people are still gracious) and just act according to rules – as long as there are nothing to penalise them, they’d just do it.

When I was overseas, such things seldom happen. True, we may have a case or two of inconsiderate people, but at the end of the day, it’s the graciousness of people that keeps a society going (in some sense). Overdo it with fines and there will be chaos. Perhaps we are just moving too fast economically.

Slap those flouting ‘seat for pregnant, elderly’ rule with $500 fines

MY WIFE, who is eight months pregnant, has to take the MRT to work during peak hours and the journey usually takes 45 minutes.

As the train is crowded, she has to stand all the way until her destination. Even though MRT trains have designated seats close to the door for the pregnant, disabled and elderly, they are often occupied by people who do not belong to any of the above. They would pretend to be sleeping or they would avoid eye-contact so that they do not have to give up their seats to people who need them more.

I urge the authorities to make it mandatory that these seats be used only by people belonging to the above category, similar to the concept of parking lots in carparks for disabled persons. Anyone who does not belong to the above category caught occupying the seat will be liable to a fine of $500.

This may seem a bit harsh but the reality is that kiasuism has made Singapore an ungracious society and only a stick approach can make the people realise that there are others who may need the seat more than them.

David Teong Lang Hin

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 3rd November 2007



Reader's Comments

  1. Daphne Maia | November 3rd, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    they gotta stop slapping fines for everything, and start checking their citizens’ moral values and courtesy.

    the courtesy campaign obviously ain’t working.

  2. Paddy Tan | November 3rd, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    For those that like to pretend to sleep or avoid eye contact, just walk over and request if it is possible for them to let them have the seats instead.

    We cannot everything depends on the govt to do everything for us. We are asking for it when labeled as a nanny country.

    Just walk up, ask nicely and get it your way too. Too many times we keep our mouths shut and then fume about it later. Writing a letter asking for a S$500 fine? What’s next?

    Pee out of the bowl and get chop off?

  3. DK | November 3rd, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Singapore is a fine city.

  4. xizor2000 | November 4th, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Fines aren’t going to improve manners. Get a life, David Teong Lang Hin. The fault is with the transport operators and the frequency of trains so go bark up the right tree.(Oh yes, I haven’t got a solution for that, but I ain’t paid a couple of millions each year either.)

  5. moby | November 4th, 2007 at 2:03 am

    How about this? Anyone with stupid suggestions/proposals sent to the media will be slapped with a $500 fine. Same goes with the editor who published said stupid suggestions/proposals.

  6. xizor2000 | November 4th, 2007 at 10:01 am

    I once followed Stooge Times’ Forum and Today’s Voices for almost 90 days. (I was doing that because I keep noticing some familiar names with their letters published, and it’s not like they always have something brilliant to say in the first place. I still have spreadsheet with me indication who are the top posters between May 15th – Aug 13th.)

    And by 2 – 3 days before that I stopped reading both entirely because I could no longer suffer the stupidity, bigotry and the endless whining of some of these writers. And it is my considered opinion that some of these letters are published exactly for their very stupidity to give the impression that the gahmen is doing right because we are just completely incapable of taking care of ourselves!!

  7. Simply Jean | November 4th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    @daphnemaia: actually I thought it was quite a shot on the foot because we had Civic and Moral Education classes since secondary school… hmm…

    @paddytan: yes, I think a good alternative is to ask. I’d gladly give up my seat if they ever ask me – because sometimes it’s a little hard differentiating who’s pregnant and who’s not, and it’s quite embarassing if I ever get it wrong

    @DK: yes, Singapore is a…. great city =)

    @xizor2000: as you said, fines are not always the most effective method… and there are more than one ways of effectively doing something, perhaps just that having fines are going to get the most results in the shortest time?

    @moby: hahaha… no comments

    @xizor2000: hmm… perhaps one editorial consideration is that they have to answer that of the least? OK. maybe I don’t know what I am talking about…

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