Grace, Onboard!


Getting your own transport is very exciting. From picking the car model to the colour of your car to the material of your seats, it is something a new car owner would be thrilled about. Or at least, I know I would. I would even buy accessories to pretty up my car.

But getting a new car is a tremendous responsibility. Do you pick up your friends and send them home? Do you – oh dear – become the designated driver every time you go out and have fun?

And of course, the real worry for fresh graduates is getting cars. Can you afford fuel, parking, ERP charges and other countless payments after coughing out a sum for the high COE prices and a car befitting of your job? For the lucky ones who received a new car or managed to buy a good second-hand, can you stand seeing your friends buy all the latest toys while you continue to cough out money for fuel?

But that’s okay.

Laugh at them, as they face the wrath of the other sardines on the buses.

I am sardine no 54321. I am a faceless passenger muscling my way onto a bus because I decided to get an iTouch, countless bags, clothes and Godiva chocolates instead of a Chevy.

Said bus is full of people; yet, the minute the bus pulls over, the crowd cluster around the closed doors and push their way up to get a seat. Everyone else crowds along the aisle – making it hard for anyone to move anywhere. I need not even hold on to a railing, really. When the bus makes a sudden move, I just rock with the crowd and sway myself upright again. There is simply no space for me to sprawl onto, in any case.

And this is on a good day.

Sometimes, you get on a bus with unhappy people. And we all know unhappy people are not the most polite people. I have endured perfectly pleasant-looking executives stomp on my foot as they hurry past to get a seat to ease their own tiredness and young people yakking on their phones about the weirdest topics.

Like, “If he died tomorrow, can I use his bus pass? Or would it have expired?” I was so shocked; I stared for a minute then quickly look away. What if she plots for my bus pass?

The straw that broke this tolerant camel’s back was today, when I hopped on a bus to get to work. It was crowded, of course. As I edged in, a lady muscled her way from the rear to the front of the bus – to collect her bag, which she left. I wonder why. As her hand gripped the bag and retreated, the bus moved. Her hand flew out to grab the pole and hit me on my cheek en route. The audacity of it!

Worse, she looked at me as if I hit her hand with my cheek and turn her back on me. Mind you, people usually stand side by side on a bus aisle. I glared at her, but she probably could not feel the angry eyes burning into her.

What I am most amazed by is this lack of grace on public transport. I am usually big on saving Gaia; but this lack of grace makes me beg for my own transport, rising COE, fuel and congestion or not.

I guess Singa, our own Courtesy Lion have much more to do in educating citizens to be civil and polite members of society.

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