Singapore is a crowded place. The latest statistics I remember are 5 million people living on an island of approximately 700 square kilometers. I cruised through traffic lights today while driving Small Boy to Aunt’s place, and Medium Boy to school. I wondered why until I looked at the time. Ah, it was 7.57am when I set off. The ERP gantries along the route I take switch to a higher costs (and more money off motorists’ pockets) from 8am onwards.
The lack of the usual jostle for space on the roads this morning started me thinking about a satirical piece on getting a seat on our public train system the MRT. A simple Google search for ‘get MRT seat’ pointed to this column. Yes my memory serves me right. Indeed a Daily Mail columnist posted a tongue in cheek guide to getting a seat on the London Tube in Oct 2011, and that column found its way into Singapore internet forums rapidly.
In my late teens, getting an MRT seat was a game to me. I did have a set of rules similar to what the columnist laid out, like standing in the “fertile valley” with a 360 degree overview, and picking out school children who were due to alight…. that required some knowledge of where their schools are. White on white uniforms always threw me off, as there are many boys’ schools in Singapore that boys wear white on white. I also avoided the reserved seats as sitting on them meant that I would have to keep a look out for the elderly, young, pregnant and disabled. Hey it was just a game then….
And then I became pregnant for the first time. During my first and second trimesters, I took the bus and MRT to work, as the Husband and I were waiting for COE car prices to drop to a reasonable level before we shell out money for a liability (yes that is what a car really is financially). I noticed a strange phenomenon. Most of the time, it was NOT the well dressed office workers, who presumably would be more educated, that gave up seats to me. Instead the schoolchildren, the middle aged uncles and aunties, and sometimes even the white-haired elderly leapt out of their seats to offer them to me. The well dressed office workers dozed off when I approached. Well, let’s draw our own conclusions on this interesting phenomenon, and of course one person’s experience is not definitive or conclusive of anything……