train rage

Move over, road rage, train rage is the new thing in town. Train rage, like road rage, has a spectrum of expressions. Mild expressions of road rage include showing The Finger to the offending car driver and honking continuously. For train rage, agression is shown by:

1. Leaning against the pole, despite how many people are holding on to it for their dear lives.

2. Asking your daughter / son / progeny to lean on the pole because heck, if someone’s gotta do it anyway, it might as well be your kids.

3. Loudly scolding your kids who disobey your commands and not lean (so that everyone hears, including the pole leaner.)

3. Glaring at the person who leans on the pole but never really meeting them in the eye. Their neighbours may note your annoyance, but not the pole leaner himself. You think to yourself, it’s a pole damn it, I’m not going to let a pole, or the lack of a pole for me to hang on to, get to me.

4. Despite someone leaning on the pole, to dig your fingers into their backs, to get a grip of the pole and look skyward when the pole leaner gives you a I-was-here-first-and-am-entitled-to-leaning-on-the-pole look. Hah, you win and they lose!

I experience all of the following in my train ride home from town this evening. Maybe it’s the crowded trains, but tempers flare quite easily in this hot and humid city of Singapore. And for some reason, Singaporeans like to lean on something. You can write a psychology paper on it, but man, Singaporeans like to lean, man or woman, young or old. It’s one of our common denominators. And those are just the mild forms of aggression, where a passenger won’t even bat an eyelid at these tensions gathering momentum around a stupid metal pole. But enough of mild aggression, let’s get into the thick of the action– into real aggression, shall we?

Forms of Real Train Aggression:

A. Raising your voice at the person who gave you a look (usually one of contempt, disgust or general displeasure). The look usually comes from a person who expresses discomfort that the scolder has sat too close to her in the train seats. The scolder will be upset that such displeasure was expressed and may then proceed to scold the person in loud Singlish, for instance:

“What are you looking at, huh? You not happy, then say it ok?? Don’t look, what look, at me ok? You think you very pretty ah? You better mind your manners!”

B. Advanced aggression involves scolding until the person has got off the train or the scolder has reached his train stop. By this time, despite how crowded the train is, people will start to inch away from the impassioned scolder, hoping to distance themselves comfortably from the scolder. The people seated near him will leave their seats quite willingly. The rest will continue to pretend to sleep. The sleep pretenders refuse to let their hard earned, lucky seat be taken away from them by some mad son of a gun. The scolded on the other hand will remain impassive and bored, knowing that the best way to aggravate the scolder more, is to show absolutely no sign of response to him.

Other passengers within hearing range will look and stare, but not say or do anything. They will continue listening to their ipods and zens, wondering what it is with people these days. Life is hard enough without train aggression. Take a chill pill. Go work out in a gym and channel all that aggression to something constructive and healthy.

C. Where the scolder and scolded are locked in a ‘kuah-si-mi-kuah’ eye-to-eye staring incident. The incident does not come to disastrous consequences because it is the Mass Rapid Transit after all, there is no space to do anything really dangerous, except accidentally. Hell, you can’t move your elbow without hitting someone in the eye. The showdown usually ends in a yelling incident and the loser gets off at the next train stop. Simple, fast and satisfying. 2 minutes and it’s all over.

I have seen incident A and B personally and truly, it amazes me how angry people are. It’s a train carriage, you’re scolding a stranger at the top of your voice for all and sundry to hear. It’s early in the morning, no one is ready to hear anyone’s voice, let alone a raised voice at that. And how can you get so angry in the morning? You’d need lots of energy. And what can you get so angry about? Someone invading your personal space? Just say it nicely, tell the other person nicely. No need for discreet looks and suppressed rage blowing itself up to needless proportions. But it happens, all the same. Anger builds up, or you feed the anger.

I shall end with the wise words of Yoda, the little green man:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate… leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.”

8 Responses to “train rage”
  1. Tim says:

    I love this entry. Totally mind-blowing.

    Perhaps I should blog about road rage someday.


  2. Hahaha, it’ll be the complementary article to this one!

  3. Izzy says:

    Babe… Hee hee. I totally get what you mean about train rage. Although I don’t think tt I consider pole-leaners perpetrators of train rage – they’re just plain rude. Have you read an encounter I had with one such last week (or was it the week before)? :

  4. humanoidinterface says:

    Hehe, you’ve dealt with that pole-leaner nicely, no? You, train aggressor. 😉 I think all pole-leaners are in need of a backbone.

  5. Ned Stark says:

    Well said! Many many instances of horrible people on the trains.

  6. Divine Intervention says:

    Love your entry on the jellyfishes on the train. Thanks to them, everyday on the train is a balancing act that one can join the circus as a second career after a few weeks. Let’s not even forget the bloody ‘football aunties’. They rush into the train, as if they were playing American football before pouncing on those empty seats. It’s as if their butts never did have the chance to lay on a cold hard surface before. And what about those uncles who loves to sit as if they have giant cocks or those young couples with the empty prams standing directly infront of the door each time you try to get out of the train?

    Singapore breeds an angry nation. Hear us roar!

  7. Hi Neddy, thanks for dropping by!

    Hi Divine Intervention, I know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s a subject we feel passionately about. It’s the lack of a concept of personal space.

  8. Ned Stark says:

    Neddy!!!???!! Doesnt seem to sound right 😛

    Anyway perhaps there could be a post on the charecteristics of Singaporeans when taking public transport, when driving, when crossing the road etc etc. I believe there is much to talk about regarding this issue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: