Following her post shaming an inconsiderate man, who was caught hogging the priority seat on the MRT while a woman with child struggled to keep her balance nearby, retail firm general manager Celine Chia has spoken to the media to reveal her motivations for posting up her thoughts on the issue.
Ms Chia said that she decided to put up the post as she had already done her part to convince him to “be gracious and do the right thing”.
“Since he can be so blatantly inconsiderate, I thought there’s nothing wrong with putting up his picture,” she added.
She has since received many private messages of support from people who praised her for what she did.
The woman with the baby, who turned out to be Ms Chia’s secondary school friend, also commented on the Facebook post.
“Thank you for speaking up… really appreciate what you did there!” wrote Ms Clare Zhang. Surprisingly, Ms Zhang said she did not recognise Ms Chia on the train as they had not met for more than 10 years.
The incident took place earlier this morning when Miss Chia, 32, boarded the North-South Line train at Dhoby Ghaut station at around 7PM. The man, who was already seated on a priority seat, had refused to give up his seat while a woman, who could visibly be seen struggling with her baby boy strapped to her chest, got on at Orchard station.
Miss Chia said that she had “politely” asked the man if he could offer the seat, to which he replied curtly, “It’s my choice and I am not giving up my seat to her.”
After Miss Chia insisted, the man then gave excuses saying that he was tired after work. Seeing the awkward exchange, “dead silence” fell upon the cabin.
The man eventually alighted at Khatib station.
In a Facebook post today, the man, accountant Syn Kok Meng, who is in his 30s, said that he was feeling unwell and revealed that he had a heart condition due to a weight issue.
When interview, he told reporters from the Straits Times, “I’m shocked at how this issue has been blown out of proportion – I’m usually a shy person who will give up his seat to those in need. But I had worked late and was feeling tired and unwell last night.”
According to his side of the story, he says that the woman with the baby had boarded the train along with her elderly mother and husband. After initially securing a seat next to him, the woman then gave it up to her frail elderly mother instead.
He then blamed Miss Chia for continuously provoking him by referencing his weight, adding that he then kept his head bowed to pray instead of speaking to her further.
“This is cyber-bullying and I suspect there was some malice involved, but I’m not intending to pursue the matter,” said Mr Syn. He had sent a message via Facebook to Ms Chia requesting that she take down her post.
Miss Chia’s post was shared at least 9,000 times before it was taken down.