I am angry. Pardon me for the poor English because I do not write too well when I am angry.
Last afternoon, I boarded a bus at Choa Chu Kang LotOne, my neighbourhood, and found a seat near to the driver. A lady and her son came onto the bus after me and they paid for the ride with coins. I did not hear their conversation with the driver. Anyhow, when they were about to get off the bus, the pair walked up to the driver and the lady asked the driver in a demanding way for his name and said she wanted to file a complaint against him for his poor attitude. What was unbecoming was that the son, approximately 10 years old, pointed his finger at the driver and said, “Stupid bus driver.” The lady then said to the driver, “I demand an apology from you.”
I was angry. Without thinking about any possible consequences, I went up to the lady, tapped her shoulders, and said as flatly as I could (so as not to sound angry), “Please be more polite.” She then said I should side her because I was the “eye-witness” and saw how rude the driver was and to that, I responded, “This is a gracious society..” She then got agitated and interjected, “What rubbish! I am the customer..” Then, someone, possibly her husband, dragged her and her son off the bus and the driver quickly closed the door.
I remember a conversation I had with Eva’s dad. He asked if I didn’t know anything about the bad situation in Spain, would I think that it is a rich country? My answer was yes because people seem to get on with life normally and more importantly, people are cultured. Cultured people tend to look richer. Singapore is a relatively rich country (I know some Singaporean keyboard warriors would disagree with this statement but I think it is true), we have first-class infrastructure and fanciful, futuristic, modern buildings, people could afford those $100000 cars, people have good places to live in. But wealth and culture in a country do not necessarily correlate. A cultured society is definitely not one in which people see themselves as “clients” and “sales agents”; a cultured society is one in which people see themselves as an integrated entity, each playing a vital role for the larger community to function. We still have a long way to go.
After the lady and her son got off the bus, a boy, approximately 15-16 year old, said, “I have never seen anyone fought on the bus before.” I turned around and looked at the other bus passengers. Almost all seats on the bus were taken, there were old people, young people, Chinese, Malay. I felt disappointed in the people living in Singapore. I am not sure how “rude” the bus driver was towards the lady and how right I was to side the driver in the dispute. However, I know it is not right to allow a lady to scold the driver, who could be someone else’s father, so badly in public. I know it is definitely not right to allow the young brat to point his fingers at the driver and scold him. I learned those values in school along with moral courage and I am sure the young people on the bus also learned those values in their respective schools. We have a pair of eyes and a pair of ears to judge and a voice to speak and people choose to stay silent when they see injustice in the society. That is why no one stopped the old lady who scolded the poor girl in the MRT and instead, a coward chose to take a video and put on the internet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cZ3WoQe3nI We were given a unique face to develop our own personality but people choose to hide under the safe covers of anonymity that the internet offers. Stop taking videos, do what you think is right.
This country may not need heroes; it definitely does not need cowards.