I usually don’t talk about the kind of nonsense I have to put up with when I’m taking public transport here in Singapore because, well, given the fact that this tiny island holds millions of people, it’s a normal occurence. BUT of lately, it’s becoming annoying and frankly, I’m beginning to tire of the sort of things I go through like clockwork. I’ve resorted to going to work slightly earlier than usual just to beat the crowd but it doesn’t really work.
I have resorted to calling people kiasu, scolding them whenever I try to disembark. Why? Because the people standing right at the doors refused to step out for even a minute for fear that the train would leave without them. It’s hard to squeeze through that 1-2 cm of space – I don’t think anyone is all that thin to begin with and it amazes me how willing people are to squeeze the life out of the complete stranger behind or next to them than to just step outside for a few moments. Of course there is the issue of people just refusing to go further into the train or bus and end up hogging and squeezing like sardines in a tin can in the front or at the door when they could have ample standing room in the center. Hai.
I’ve had my fair share of crowds during my LRT days in Kuala Lumpur but this morning was definitely a first. I was doing my usual reading in the MRT, clutching onto my bag when before I know it, this old man slides up right behind me, rubs his arms and chest across my back while trying to hold onto the central pole and the more I tried to squish away from him, the closer he gets. It got to the point where I started to wonder whether it was accidental (since the chap next to me gave him ample room) or intentional. I think if you gave him a pull up bar, he would still have done the same thing, brush up against other people. As he made his slinky way towards the exit, I noticed that he nearly did the same thing to another woman, except that she had room to stand away. Needless to say, I was a little dumbfounded at the whole thing and looking back, I should have said something instead of trying to squish away. Part of me wish I struck him over the head with my full bag but that would have ended in disaster in a ultra crowded train.
Other people don’t have it so lucky. There have been new reports going around that certain stops are jampacked with people that the entire platform is not accessible and people on escalators were having problems getting off because of the lack of standing room. Sometimes I do wonder if it is ever possible to place a load limit on the number of people allowed in a train or on a platform.
But yes, that’s the perils of taking public transport in Singapore during the rushhour. I think I’ll carry some durian skin with me the next time so that I get to leave marks of my own when an old uncle tries to get too friendly. =.=