MANY Forum writers have complained about the lack of social graces among commuters who fail to give up their seats to the more needy.
All manner of solutions have been offered, such as painting the seats a different colour, having large signs that stick out, and having public announcements.
Some even choose to pass remarks loudly in an attempt to shame them into giving up their seats. I wish to suggest a more effective solution.
Whenever I notice a pregnant lady or old person, and no one offers to give up their seat, I simply approach one of the seated persons and ask politely if they are willing to offer their seat to someone who needs it more.
I have done this several times and no one has refused yet. There is no embarrassment or antagonism; if the person declines, simply ask the person beside him.
If you are unsure if the old person wants a seat, you can ask him before getting the seat.
I believe that social graciousness must start somewhere, and that somewhere is 'me'.
If enough people start asking others, sincerely and with a smile, if they can give up their seats for others, I think Singaporeans in general will start giving up their seats willingly and happily.
It was during those peak hours in the evening that I saw this 70 year old man (he look about 70 to me). He was standing in the centre of one of the cabin in the train and was having difficulty keeping his balance even with the help of the pole.
Right in front of him, was a young man who look early 20s. He was holding onto a PSP and was definitely enjoying his round of game. I have no idea was it because he was so engrossed in his game that he did not see the old man or he simply do not care.
Hence I took up the courage, went up to him and said, "Hi, can you please give up your seat to the elderly man here?" I tried to put on my nicest smile for that :) hahahaha!
Instantly he looked at me and stood up which of course I did thank him for the gesture. The old man then got a seat and when I turned back the young man was nowhere in sight. He could be too embarrassed to be seen or had alighted?