So some time back there was this guy who was sleeping on the double seats on the train..and upon being woken up by an old man who wanted to sit, asked the latter for his age. The old man, being an old man, shot back with something like “definitely much older than you”. And the young guy went back to sleep. And with smartphones everywhere, it comes as no surprise that the old man snapped a photo of him. What was surprising to me though, was that the man, who was in his 60s, posted it on FB. I’m not being an age-ist here, but omg, I’m really surprised. I thought the photo came from some other kaypoh commuter.

Anyway, the reason given by the young guy, who claimed to be on ‘drowsy medication’ (which totally explains his irrepressible urge to sleep) was that he didn’t know exactly how old the old guy was, hence his question. (Well after taking the train for 20+ years, this is something new to me. Apparently you can only give up your seats to people who are above a certain age)

See that’s the problem here – you never know if they’re old enough/pregnant enough/weak enough for you to give up your seat. When you see an old man with grey hair and offer your seat to him, three things can happen:

  1. he accepts it immediately
  2. he act-act paiseh and says nehmind, nehmind but accepts it eventually
  3. he questions you “Do I look very old?” (死不认老)
  4. he feels insulted that you think he is weak just because he is old (at least he admits he is old, unlike no. 2)

As a matter of fact, I’ve actually seen an angmoh feeling insulted when someone tried to give up a seat to him. Cultural differences I suppose…

And, when you see a seemingly pregnant lady (barring the obviously pregnant ones) board the train, two things can happen:

  1. you give up your seat to her and she accepts it immediately
  2. you can’t figure out whether she is pregnant or just fat, so it’s better to remain seated and observer a while more, just in case (with all due respect to pregnant ladies and fat people, sometimes I really think it’s a bit hard to tell =.=)
So, I’ve decided that the best thing to do is not to sit at all, unless I’m pretty sure there’s going to be quite a lot of empty seats, like during off peak hours, past those crowded stations. And after all, every passenger has paid and therefore has a right to a seat, and there’s really nothing much we can say if one refuses to give up his seat to others. I think others have to be quite thick-skinned to demand for a seat as well. I once saw two aunties boarding the train with only one seat. One of them started pointing at the ‘reserved seat’ sign above a young guy’s head…and the guy eventually made way. That’s really buay paiseh hahaha.
But you have to admit, the double seats ARE pretty cosy…