Misbehavior on Public Transportation in Singapore

[Update 15 June 2012: Peoples’ behavior when getting on and off trains really isn’t that much better in New York City.  In fact, it’s about the same, or maybe worse.  I suppose that’s a “grass is always greener” thing, because I may have been remembering NYC better than it was while in Singapore, or I may be remembering Singapore better than it was now that I have to deal with commuting in NYC every day.  The trains still smelled worse in Singapore, though.  I can’t forget that day my eyes burned and my wife got nauseous and we had to get off the train and wait for the following one to avoid becoming physically ill.  Not that weird situations don’t happen in NYC, like vomit, but it’s just much more infrequent.]

I’m sure that at some point, anyone interested in Singapore has read a post about people doing things that are, basically, retarded when dealing with Singapore’s transit systems.  After living in Singapore for over a year, I think it’s time for me to weigh in on the debate.  So, here’s my list!

    1) When there’s a problem with your EZ-Link card, don’t stand in front of the turn-style scanning it over and over … and over … and over … and over … and over.  Obviously there’s something wrong with your card, so after at most three attempts, get the hell out of the way and let other people through! Don’t just stand there looking stupid, annoying everyone else that’s trying to pass through to either get in or get out of the MRT station.  There’s a customer service desk usually located less than 10 feet away from the turn-styles in MRT stations.  Use it.
    2) This next one is a classic and is what people complain about most.  The people, usually older women, that stand directly in front of the train doors as it arrives.  Let me demonstrate with this handy image that I borrowed from this site.

Board MRT Confusion

    As you can see, it’s made very plain to people where they should stand.  Obviously common sense wasn’t good enough and the lines had to be put on the floor to demonstrate how to be courteous and let people off the train before getting on.  On top of that most train doors have images of local actors repeating the warning to let passengers alight from the train before attempting to board.  It doesn’t really help though.
    Here are some photos from the Outram Park Interchange MRT station that should help illustrate this point to people who’ve never been in Singapore:
Wait Let Me Come Out First
Wait Let Me Come Out First
Don't Play Play Let Me Come Out First
Don’t “Play Play”. Let Me Come Out First
Lines on platform floor at MRT train doors.
Lines on platform floor at MRT train doors.
    3) This is something that can apply in all situations, but is especially annoying if you’re in an enclosed area like a train or bus.  Don’t play your music aloud.  There’s a reason portable music players are sold with headphones.  Even if you want your life to have a soundtrack, it doesn’t mean the rest of us want to hear it.  Respect the people that are stuck being around you.  Ya, it’s a free world, but that doesn’t mean you should be rude.
    4) This follows suit with #3.  Mobile calls can come at any time, but it doesn’t mean people in the front of the bus should be able to follow along with your conversation when you’re sitting in the back seat.  Have some volume control on your voice as well, ok?  You’re not making yourself look important by talking about your mergers or financial transactions either.  You’re still just being annoying.
    5) This one is perhaps the most deadly of all, and has been addressed recently by an advertising campaign in the trains:
Stop The Horror With Soap and Water
Stop The Horror With Soap and Water
    Please, do stop the horror with soap and water.  To paraphrase someone I know, if you stink like old rotting flesh at 7:00 AM, sure it’s impressive, but it’s still disgusting.  Really disgusting.  I’ve gotten on trains in Singapore at all times of the day, whether it be early morning, afternoon or evening or late night and there’s a varying degree of odor.  Sometimes it smells like urine.  Sometimes it smells like vomit.  Sometimes it reeks of durian.  Sometimes it smells like someone shit their pants.  Sometimes it stinks of body odor the likes of which makes the eyes burn and the stomach churn.  I’m not exaggerating.  My wife and I caught a train once over in the Jurong area that stank so bad we got off at the next station to wait for another one.  My eyes were watering and my wife was trying not to puke. Ladies and gentlemen, Singapore has great plumbing.  USE IT!  PLEASE!  Wash your nasty asses before getting on the train and subjecting the rest of us to your disgusting body odor. Besides the odor, your fetid bodies are leaving trails of harmful bacteria everywhere you go.  I’m almost afraid to hold the handrails in the trains now.
    6) On buses and trains there are designated seats for the elderly, pregnant and disabled.  If you’re a 20 year old stud and you’re sitting in the reserved seat with a 70 year old woman in front of you, you’re not only wrong, you’re a jackass.  Everyone else on the train knows you’re a jackass too.

Well, that’s what I’ve got.  Feel free to add to this list by leaving a comment in the comment section below!

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