Is it that difficult to be gracious?

I was reading the Yahoo article ‘Are MRTs really that overcrowded?’ and I feel prompted to blog down my own feelings about Yahoo’s article. While many commented on the article, unloading their criticisms that the MRT trains are always overcrowded, putting the blame on SMRT CEO Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, I beg to differ.

Taking the public transport on a regular weekday morning for years now, many times during the morning and evening rush, there has been several incidences where I have to miss a train and sometimes even the next train or two as it was ‘overcrowded’.

Most of us will deduce that the frequency of trains should be increased, yet it is quite obvious to all that the centre of train cabins are usually not filled to maximum capacity. Reason being, people are not willing to move in for fear of not being able to get out of the train when the train arrives at their destination.

So, the question is not whether trains are overcrowded or not, but are Singaporeans willing to be gracious to move into the centre of the train cabins so that more passengers can board the train? The boarding process is no better. People would squeeze their way into the train, even if there is already no more space, sometimes even elbowing their way through in order to get into the train.

And the list of ungracious acts of Singaporeans goes on.

I was traveling on a cab on the way to school today, and my cab was by lane one behind several cars ahead of us, waiting to turn into the school when a black Honda MPV driving on lane two drove past us and cut in, in front of a car, a few cars ahead of my cab. I am sure there are tons of incidences where elderly, pregnant or passengers with kids are not given seats in buses or MRT trains. I guess we all have our own story to tell whereby we are unfortunate victims of someone else’s ungracious behavior.

Of course I am not saying that I am guiltless, perhaps I could have done such acts in the past, consciously or subconsciously. The question also boils down to whether are we contributing to the problem as well? Instead of self-reflecting and trying to be more gracious ourselves, many of us choose to hurl abuses and baseless allegations at the authorities (The unfortunate victim to be SMRT CEO Ms Saw in this case) or whoever we can lay our hands, or our comments on.

Lets make it a national effort to be more gracious to each other. We shouldn’t need the Government to come up with campaigns to prompt us to be more gracious towards one another.

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene

Yahoo ‘Are MRTs really that overcrowded?’ Article:


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