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Shit Things Singaporeans do on Public Transport

Lots of Singaporeans talk shit about the frustrating irregularity of our public transport timely arrivals and the disappointing regularity of our public transport breakdowns. But let’s face it; we’ve got it pretty good compared to other countries. Our buses and trains are almost always crazy clean and we’ve got transportation that takes us almost anywhere in the country.

But some Singaporeans are real assholes when it comes to taking public transport. Are you guilty of any of these?

1. The Manspreader

Manspreading: Termed to define that jackass who sits with his/her legs apart, taking up more seat space than necessary or allocated.

If you’re slightly larger in size and cannot help but take up more space given in one seat, we understand. But as stereotypically petite Asians, I have strong reason to believe you do not need to take up so much space to air your inner thighs. We get it, the weather in Singapore is sweltering hot and we would all love to get a little bit of cool air around the groin, but do us all a favour and keep your legs closed. No one needs to see your leopard print underwear or take a whiff of your 3-days-in-a-row pants (I exaggerate, no one else does that, right?)

Someone needs to design pants with Velcro that runs along the length of the inner thigh because these people look like they need help keeping their legs closed.

2. The Ezlink Card Hunt at the Gantry

These are the absolute worst. They know they’re going to take the train/bus. They know they need to tap that card of theirs. They know everyone is going to be waiting for them. But they still don’t get your card out and ready beforehand.

So they stand at the gantry (or bus card readers) and rifle through their bags with the ferocity of a dog burying a toy in a garden or stuff both hands down all available pockets like they’ve got an uncontrollably itch everywhere, while the rest of us stand behind them doing what we do best – queuing and rolling our eyes.

Repeat offenders should be required to have their ezlink cards on a lanyard around their necks at all times.

3. The Obsessive Pole Lovers

I get it. Pole dancing is all the rage now – but keep your body off the pole and let’s limit the pole touching to just our hands.

I don’t think these people get it. The moment you lean on that pole, none of us can wrap our hands around it for support unless you enjoy the feeling of a stranger’s hand digging into the flesh on your back. We’re left with two choices- to go high by raising our arms to hold the pole where your head leaves it, or to go low, to grasp the pole right where your butt stops leaning on it.

I’m not a fan of either of those uncomfortable choices, so let’s just be decent human beings and stop leaning on poles, okay?

4. The Escalator Irritant

This is the one that stands on the right side of the escalator, taking in the sights of our glorious train stations, while everyone else is forced to stand behind, unable to walk up.

Here’s our general rule: If you’re standing on the escalator, move (in the words of Beyoncé) to the left and leave the right side of the escalator empty for other commuters to walk.

As much as we hate having our right side of the escalator clogged up, we also have this thing where we hate having to ask the person responsible for the line to move. Nobody asks, nobody moves. I’m guilty of this only when it’s an elderly standing on the right. I can’t ask them to move! I would actually feel bad.

So do me a favour – please tell your grandparents, aunties, uncles and those relatives you probably only see once a year but try your hardest to avoid even then, tell them to please stand on the left side of the escalator.

I’m going one step further to do the work for you:

In Chinese: 你用自动扶梯时,站在左边hor ( Evidently, my Chinese stinks. I even had to Google translate what escalator in Chinese is)

In Malay: Bile kau diri pat escalator pls ah favour ah kau boleh diri pat tepi kiri tak? Favour ah. ( Translation thanks to my friend. Thanks Nat)

In Tamil: நீங்கள் , நகரும் படிக்கட்டு எடுக்க விட்டுச் சென்று நிற்க ? ( Google Translate – don’t even know if this actually makes sense)

Also, if you’re keen on just walking up the escalator, next time you could try climbing the stairs.

5. The King of Seats

The last time I checked, it’s public transport, not your grandfather’s train/bus. Stop chope-ing (read: reserving) seats with your bags. They can go either on your lap or on the floor. The seats are for people, not your thousand dollars branded bag or evidence of your retail therapy. I can understand if it’s an empty train and seats are aplenty, by all means, scatter your belongings. But when it starts getting crowded, take your shit off the seats.

Not forgetting our long-legged friends who feel the need to stretch their legs out on other seats. We do not need your shoes dirtying where we will be plonking our butts on. Can we show just a little bit more love for our fantastic trains and buses?

6. The One with Privacy Issues

We get it, the commute can get long and you can get bored. You’ve scrolled through your Facebook feed and you have nothing to entertain yourself with. Twiddle your thumbs or bring a book along next time. Do what you will, except peer over my shoulder and look at my phone. If I need someone getting all up in my business and reading my text messages, I will leave my unlocked phone in the hands of my friends. But your nosiness is unsolicited, so please keep your straying eyes elsewhere.

7. The Stomper

People snoring on reserved seats while pregnant women or the elderly stand, NS men decked in their uniform occupying seats, children who take up half a seat while their parents or grandparents stand. We get it; some people find it so fundamentally wrong.

On a side note, what’s really wrong with NS men taking a seat? Their days can get pretty tough and exhausting, let’s give them a break.

Some of these situations can really get on some people’s nerves, but instead of a gentle nudge or reminder, for snoring passengers to give their seats up to ones who may need it more, we’ve taken to the passive, useless way of taking photos to post on our social media platforms.

That guy sleeping on the train is not going to read your post, or at least not until he gets off the train, having had a nice nap, all while that heavily pregnant woman stood with a big belly from Kent Ridge to Marymount.

In the meantime, this photo-taking obsession has scared so many people from doing anything within their rightful means. NS men get scared to take a seat, foreign workers don’t think they have any right to a seat and everyone on reserved seats remain wide-eyed and on high alert their entire commute.

Do society a favour. Next time, gently correct the situation instead of snapping photos.

8. The Kancheong Spider

Kancheong Spider : our colloquial term for someone who’s always flustered, anxious and sometimes overly paranoid.

These are the people who stand right in front of the MRT doors before they open, ignoring the orderly queues on either side of the platform door. They’re the ones who rush in the train when passengers are still trying to alight – they’re using the ‘shoulder push’ to shove their way through to get a seat.

In the words of all Singaporeans, don’t like that can? Chill ok?

9. The ‘Fast then Slow’

These are the ones who seem to be in a rush. They ‘tsk’ at your pace and overtake you. Got a meeting? Got a deadline? Fine.

But the moment they’ve taken a lead, they slow down, hindering everyone else behind.

The rule of the commuting constant pace: everyone taking the commute is likely to be in a rush, especially during the peak hours. Choose a pace, and stick to it. If you’re going to overtake other people, make sure you keep your pace up. If you slow down and we accidentally step on the back of your shoe, I don’t really think you can blame us for it.

10. The Loud ones

Two types: The loud talkers and the loud listeners.

The loud talkers: These are the ones who take or make a phone call and decide that a private conversation held in a public place means everyone in the train carriage should passively participate by hearing their side of the conversation.

So even though we didn’t sign up for it, we’re hearing all about Ah boy and how he failed his last paper, how Ah girl just got a new promotion at work and how the neighbour’s brother’s friend’s younger sister’s cat passed away last week.

The loud listeners: These are the ones who, like everyone else, live for music during their commute. They’ve got their earphones plugged in and their music blasting - just that everyone else in the carriage gets to listen to it as well because they’re playing it unhealthily loud. It can’t be good for their ears; I actually get a little worried there.

Whether it’s the mandopop top 40s or The Wam Pillows’ new single, let’s let everyone enjoy their own music or the silent train commute.

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