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 on 3rd November 2007

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