Recently, there’s been some articles going round about the eons-old issue of pregnant women and priority seats. There were many comments like “how would i know if you are pregnant or just fat?”, “Wear a t-shirt and print in big letters I AM PREGNANT”, “Open your golden mouth and ask for seat la, why stomp?” “Need a seat so badly then take taxi la, don’t take public transport”, “you tired, i’m also tired”, “i paid for my fare so i’m entitled to sit wherever i want” and so on and so forth, with some even going so far as to say pregnant women are just trying to gain sympathy for seats.
ok.. so you are on the train, and you see a woman who looks pregnant. You get up and gesture the seat to her but it turns out, she wasn’t pregnant but is definitely offended by your actions and proceeded to scold you loudly. You promise yourself not to get into such an embarrassing situation EVER again.
What you have failed to realise, is that your kind actions are not reflecting the worst of you, and her ungracious scoldings are not reflecting the best of her. Is your moral compass so brittle that it can be broken by just one ungracious person? So that one ungracious lady can take away your principle to live as a kind and gracious person.
Actually, if you aren’t sure whether she’s pregnant or fat, but are feeling judgemental eyes from your surroundings, just get up and walk off, subtly giving up your seat.
And true, whilst everyone is tired at the end of the work day, but if you notice the group of people identified for reserved seats and give a little thought, you’d know this is not a who-is-more-tired-competition. Which group of people have been identified as needing a priority seat? The elderly, the pregnant, adults with young children, and the physically impaired. Why have this group of people been identified as vulnerable? Obviously, it is because if they fall while the transport is moving, they are at greater risk. And the fact that these group of people have impaired balance judgement would just compound the issue. If an old person falls, it can be fatal to them. If a pregnant lady falls, she risks miscarriage. If the adult with a young toddler falls, the toddler could be seriously injured. If a person in a cast falls.. well, he/she might end up breaking the other leg.
Ever notice that every priority seat have got a pole next to them? The poles aren’t for pole dancing, just in case you thought so. It is for the vulnerable group to have something to hold on to when they have to disembark so as to minimise the risk of them falling while on the move. So, unless you fall into this vulnerable group of people, you should have no business occupying the priority marked seats. Feeling unwell? I can’t possibly ask you to wear a shirt in large prints saying I AM UNWELL. So open your golden mouth and ask someone sitting at a normal seat to give up to you. If you really have to sit at the priority seat, keep your golden eyes open and yourself alert for the vulnerable. Don’t plop there and close your eyes, plug up your ears and absolve yourself of all moral obligations. If you do that, then I’m not sorry to say that I think you deserve to be stomped.
Not everyone is wealthy enough to own a car or take a taxi everywhere they go, but that is no reason to degrade them with all those uncalled for comments for taking the public transport. Remember, for every pregnant women you degrade, you are also degrading your own mother who was once pregnant with you.
On the part of the person who was given the seat, be gracious. Smile and say thank you. Don’t act as if others owed you a living for that seat.
If everyone minds their P’s and Q’s, our society will be a much nicer place to live in. A gracious society starts with Me. I don’t wish Singapore to become a first world country in amenities, but a third world country in its people.