27 January 2008

Closing In (the MRT and the Population)

This is a Sunday afternoon where the sun shines so hot it burns even those who are sheltered.
Some things will never change. Let's see what it's like to ride on the most relied-on public transport in my country.

My train rides have been annoying as I realize many Singaporeans don't give the slightest damn to be courteous or polite. I still notice things like being squashed in between two people who didn't get enough sleep the night before (and for some reason they have to involve me in their problem). I stay peacefully in my seat - bear in mind that everybody gets equally the same space - yet the person next to me would start dozing off, lolling toward me, nudging against my shoulder, brushing their unwashed hair on my face, or to the extent of leaning against me until I have no choice but to slunt to one side.
I don't know if I'm just so lucky to have two people leaning against me at the same time. One on my right, one on my left, me in between sandwiched. When the train is already so crowded, standing up makes very little sense.
Do you know what I should do? I should carry a knife with me and stab these people to death. You want to sleep, right? I can make it last forever.

There's also another issue that pisses me off and all men out there should pay attention. Singaporean men in the MRT trains. As males you are already blessed with size and stature. Do you follow? So let's say that you are in a train and you are also blessed with a seat. I'm not saying that all men do this, but those who do, I need clarification as to why you have to sit with your legs so wide open that your crotch is perfectly dilated for a baby to pass through?
A few guys sitting next to me has sat in that manner so I've encountered this a couple of times. I either have to move further away from this person or get up from my seat altogether coz it's too uncomfortable. I just don't understand. Since you already take up so much space as to accommodate your size, why do you go to the extent of crossing borders?

Excuses like "that's just the way I sit" or "if you don't like it then you should have said so" is unacceptable. Why? Because when I tell the guy "Excuse me, please move", they look at me like I'm the weird one. Like they're thinking, "Huh? What? Oh... stupid little girl. I will ignore you." Fuck. They totally refuse to respond for some strange mental reason. It's not your own couch or sofa or chair or living room space. You can open wide as much as you want when you don't have anyone to annoy but you do not sit that way in the train, do you still follow? Like it or not that's just too bad. It's either you sit in such a small space and keep your legs in front of you or you don't sit at all. Honestly I'm saying that it's such an eyesore... and how can you feel comfortable with people staring at where your jewels are? Does it give you so much pride? I don't think you want to offer me an easy target to stick a knife at.

And then there are people who are rude enough to lean against the grand poles. Poles for people to hold on to especially when the train is crowded and it's impossible to find another pole. The purpose these poles serve is precisely that - so everybody has something to hold on to. But some idiot would think it's fair for them to lean against the pole taking it all to him/herself. Furthermore, crushing the fingers of people who are already holding on to that particular pole. And to add to that, the idiot is AWARE of this yet still he/she chooses to ignore that fact. So because they ignore it, it's why I think they deserve to get their heads bludgeoned against the pole to beyond recognition. It's just so stupid. If I ask you, do you think this person should get away with such immature selfish behaviour?

Sure, "It's just a pole" you say. But to me that's not just a pole, that's safety. Safety my ass if you're the one leaning against it while the train is so crowded. I've encountered a lady who totally had my fingered crushed. I had to slap her hard on the shoulder and tell her to please back off from the damn pole. I might've startled her because I was pretty loud and clear about it, but she did move. So thank you. Last week a man did the same thing to me. He looked over his shoulder and gave me that I-know-you-will-get-your-fingers-off-the-pole look. All attempts to make him move failed so I gave in and while the train lets more passengers off at the next station I had some space to move away. See? It's me who had to give in. But this kind of behaviour is definitely rude. Who would really care if you want to lean against the pole or do pole dancing with it, but why is it so hard to consider the situation? Is it crowded or is it not?

People who don't give way are also one of Singapore's neglected problems. As well as people who don't say "Excuse me" or "Sorry" but instead they just shove themselves through you while you witness yourself or others being thrown to one side. These people have inside them a big hole full of bigger insecurities than I thought. So much worse than me.

Here are actual footages:

- What if you were sitting right next to this guy?

- This guy has serious problems too.

- And this is exactly what pisses me off.

I can't just ignore people who lean against me when they doze off in the trains or the people who sit with their legs wide open. I wouldn't know whether they're trying to deliberately brush against me or outrage someone's modesty in that sense. As a woman I speak for all women in the MRT trains who have been in similar or worse situations than mine. I mean, okay, I know what the trains in India are like but I admit it's fortunate that Singapore's not like that (God forbid!). But I can't compare the situations coz it's just totally different. Singapore's getting more and more crowded by the minute, I should say. As a local I'm concerned and I sense the space that's closing in on me. Shopping isn't fun unless it's on a weekday when you have to work anyway. Weekends would mean suicide, because of the overwhelming crowd anywhere and everywhere. In general, just trying to have a good time outside robs the fun out of whatever it is that you mean to do. Because other people take up your space, they cramp your style, and everybody's doing and going for the same thing.

I like this country because of many things. But it's getting on my nerves. It just isn't big enough for 4 million people, frankly speaking. So why the government opts for 6 million people is a big mother of a question mark.

Only 647km2 of land space. You do the math.


  1. Ira, thumbs up for your blog layout.
    Its great..i have tried to do the same thing....I tried to snapshot my eyes and it didnt work. It doesnt look nice...hehe. yours is just nice...
    oh ya..i really like the videos in the mrt..LOL very hilarious though I will be mad if I ever present in that situation...

  2. Thanks Kammy :)
    It was definitely a few attempts at getting a shot that was even 'okay' enough.

    And yeah.. in can be a pain to go on the MRT. But unless you're a Singaporean, you wouldn't know that if you travel around here frequently, the best way is still by train.

    Cabs rip you off, there are more cars than roads can accommodate, carparks cost on an average of $2 an hour (and they are always full), so I think the government did a great job by giving something everybody has to rely on eventually, transportation-wise.

    Too bad that the best way to travel in Singapore can sometimes come with a whole load of crap.

    Maybe I will move one day. Neighbouring countries are not good. It has to be somewhere so far away where everything in it aren't taken for granted.