Like many countries around the world, Singapore has introduced priority seats on trains in recent years. But is the supposedly simple kind act of giving up your seat to those who need it more than you as simple as it seems?
I know that in some countries, most passengers would not sit at the priority seats so it will always be available to those who needs it. In Singapore, priority seats are for general sitting, but people sitting there will, most of the time, give it up when there are needy people around.
However, this is also where the strangest thing will happen. For example, one sees an elderly and give up one’s seat, though most elderly will gladly accept it but there are some who will reject it. Why reject such goodwill you ask? The elderly will probably say they are getting off at the next stop, which is usually a lie. They just don’t want your seat. Now this is rather thought provoking. I think maybe it’s because the elderly does not want to admit that he/she is old?
So what happens next? The poor fellow who gave up his seat will perhaps feel saddened that his goodwill is not accepted, or maybe even slightly embarrassed? Well he/she can sit down back onto the seat but this is not recommended as other commuters who just came in might think that how come you never give up your priority seat? Which in actual fact you did but the elderly rejected it. So I will suggest anyone in this situation to just stand and leave the seat empty.
Then there’s also the thing about how old an elderly be for one to consider giving up his/her seat for? Some might think this person is old yes buy maybe not that old enough to warrant one to give up his/her seat? So with the case study earlier, what if the person whom one offer the seat to rejected it? Perhaps he/she feel insulted that you think they are old by offering your seat? But if you do not give up your seat, what if others accuse you of not giving up your seat? Afterall, different people have different interpretation of how old is old. So how old should an elderly be for you to consider him/her old? 50? 60? 70? 80? 90? 100?
Anyway, I don’t really approve of priority seats. it gives people the impression that only people sitting in priority seats are suppose to give up their seats. In my opinion I think everyone should give up their seats regardless of where they are sitting, not just priority seats.