Posts Tagged ‘ bus ’

All Aboard the Train of Bad Manners

Sometimes I wish I was Superman, able to fly anywhere I want to in a blink of an eye. Sometimes I wish that I had listened to my parents and got my driver’s license, instead of the crappy learner’s permit that I’m stuck with because I was too lazy to clock enough hours. And sometimes I wish I had a red-haired best-freckled-friend who had a flying car, or a friend who was a know-it-all female wizard (is that a witch, or is that offensive?) and could wave her wand at a car shouting “TOYOTA-LEVIOSA!!”

But until that happens, I think I’ll just take the train. Continue reading

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The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author: 30-06-12

Live! LLLIIIIIIVVVVEEE!!!!!

Just thought I would revive an oldie of mine, where I would chat inanely about my week, and at the same time, write down any random thought of mine that popped into my head. POP!

Continue reading

Respect Your Elders, You Young Whippersnappers!

Salutations, as the spider Charlotte said to the pig Wilbur. How is the general disinterested community today?

The reason why I’m updating is because of an unusual event that occurred a few days ago. No, not the floods, or even my eighteenth birthday – which I spent running around the entire length of the Singapore CBD. No, this is something that is so mind-blowing that it is even more contentious than the whole Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debate. The subject is the elderly.

You know, those shuffling, grumpy old people whose hair is slowly giving up the fight to stay on their heads. The bunch of wrinkly folk who either prefers to spend their time snoozing in a rocking chair or running after/over kids with their motorized death-traps of doom.

Or killing monsters with glowing staffs. That’s just another of their daily activities, after shuffleboard.

But to move on to a slightly less ludicrous stereotype, those who are 60 and over (including those who LOOK 60 and over) tend to populate any place you can see, and just like the different countries, them old folk have differing cultures. Since I have been blessed to live in both Australia and Singapore, I am qualified to pretend to know what I’m talking about.

The Australian old folk are nothing like those frail, dying old men you see on TV. In fact, they probably put that man in the hospital. Those guys keep fit and active through a healthy lifestyle of bowls, speed-walking, and chasing their daughter / granddaughter’s potential suitors away with a shotgun or a well-placed cauldron of hot oil. Heck, in Western countries, the grandparents may even be getting more suitors than their grandkids. In Singapore, it’s almost the opposite. With the lack of space to swing a cat, the pollution so thick that you could feel it, and the fact that most Singaporean older folk prefer to either stay in and watch Cantonese dramas or stay in and gamble, those people can spend ten years in a comfortable rocking chair being sustained on ancient Chinese kung fu serials alone.

Though to be frank, any diseases in your body would probably die when they see IP Man.

However, one thing is for certain: The older generation has lived longer than all of us hip Gen Y folk. They have centuries of combined wisdom between them on a range of subjects life, marriage, schooling, and gambling. At least, the last was more for the Asian community. The Australians probably teach their kids to hunt koalas or ride kangaroos or something. But altogether, most of us obey and honour our parents, whether it’s because of love and deep familial bonds, whether it’s because of a biblical imperative (Exodus 20:12, NIV), or whether it’s simply because they’re giving us our allowance. The question is, do we, as a younger generation, have to obey the orders given by strangers of the older generation?

Of course, for purposes of this discussion, I of course mean legitimate orders given by a member of the older generation (middle age and over) to one of the younger (say, 20 and younger) in the course of everyday life. This does not include illegal requests or orders, or even requests. If someone orders you to do something and you have to biological or emotional prerogative to do so, would you do it?

I, as a partially-Singapore education teenager, have been brought up in a culture that demands courteous respect to our elders (i.e. anyone older than us), because that is our tradition. Family is one of the most important things in Singapore, and tradition states that we must defer to all elders, even strangers. While that all seems sunny and green, it does have a dark side – though I have no time to go through that at the moment. If you would like to do some further reading, have a look at Neil Humphrey’s Notes from an Even Smaller Island.

But why wouldn’t you want to live in a system that respects your elders? You might ask, and I’m sure that many of my older relatives would in a furious tone of voice. In response, may I just tell you a story? Note that all this is true, and it really did happen to me.

I was riding on the bus a while ago in Singapore. As with most public transport anywhere in the world, it was quite full, but thankfully not packed like a can of sardines. Or like the morning trains I used to take to work, where it was so full that the doors would close less than two inches from my face in an Indiana Jones-esque fashion. But I digress. The Singapore buses were shaped in such a way that there were two doors and two distinct ‘parts’ to a bus. The back had the normal rows of seats filled with rubbish and sticky substances and a narrow aisle, while the front had seats facing sideways, and on the other side was a space for people to stand / a wheelchair / some young goats and a goatherd named Peter. If anyone gets the reference, I owe you a candy bar.

On that fateful day, I was standing in that space and attempting to simultaneously peer out of the window to observe Singaporeans in their natural habitat and keep away from direct sunlight lest I either burn, get skin cancer, or sparkle and be cursed to act in a sappy teenage vampire romance movie. On the seats facing sideways (and me), there was an elderly gentlemen in his, I would estimate, late 50s, and his wife sitting comfortably. Between us were about four very young school children, say about 9-11 years old, still in their school uniforms. They were all from the same school, and were situated around the front entrance and between me and the old folk, and then a gap between them and the steps to the back section.

Now that the Agatha Christie novel-style description (long and draggy) is over, here’s where things get interesting. All of a sudden, and breaking my thoughts on whether the first bulldog was actually a crossbred between a bull and a dog, the old man suddenly spoke up, snapping at one of the kids who was standing in the aisle.

“Hey, you! Boy! Which school are you from?!?!?”

The little boy, in confusion, did an  ‘Are you talking to me?’ gesture, before answering the man.

The man grunted in satisfaction, before continuing: “Don’t block the aisles! Don’t block the entrance! Go move to the back [of the bus]!!”

Now, it may seem like a normal request (the snappish way of speaking notwithstanding), save for two things:

  1. The man had no authority to tell them to move on. He was not a bus conductor or driver, nor their father / teacher / cruel overlord. He had nothing but the casual requests of a bystander or fellow passenger.
  2. Even if the man had had the authority, the bus was currently in motion and not stopped. If someone was being blocked by the kids, the order would be perfectly justifiable. Thing was, no one was moving around on the aisles, nor was anyone trying to enter. The man had no reason to order them to move.

However, the man either didn’t know / didn’t care about the two things. Despite the confused ‘WTH‘ expression on the little kid’s face, he repeated his demands. But he didn’t stop there. Oh no. Ordering a little kid around wasn’t enough.

The man glanced to the side and, observing more of the little tyke’s friends clustered near the entrance, decided that he could embarrass all of them at the same time. He turned back to the young schoolboy and said:

“Go. Go tell your friends to move away. Go!”

If I was the kid, I would have hit the old man, or treated him to my best death glare. Or, at the very least, said no. Credit to the little boy, though, he was nothing if obedient. Trading freedom of individual thoughts for the, albeit unwilling, deference to the old man, he trudged back up the bus to the front and tapped one of the kids on the shoulder.

“Hey,” the boy whispered to her. “We have to move. That man told us to.”

The girl gave him the same dumbfounded look that he showed earlier (maybe it’s catching), and with a look at the old man, told the boy, “You go move!”

Ah, childish insults. Or insults of a child. Potato, Po-tah-to.

In the end, the boy and girl did move to the back, the old man sunk back to his seat with an arrogant smirk, and my face now carried the dumbfounded look. Because, I truly was shocked.

Personally, I feel that the old man overstepped his boundaries. By snapping at the children, ordering them around when he had no authority to, or when he had no need to. He had no reason to make them do what he wanted. Either way, he should have asked them politely, and not barked orders like a drill sergeant. Kudos to the children for obeying and choosing not to make a scene. But in a system that promotes respect of elders, what the man did fell far short of the mark. This was not respect. This is an abuse of authority.

Thankfully, not everyone is like this. Here’s hoping that that old man, and everyone else who is like that, realises that respect is a privilege, not a right. Ironically, I learnt that one from my elders.

But perhaps you feel differently. If so, I would love to hear your thoughts upon the subject and the story – post a comment and tell me what you think!

The Random Musings of an Attention-Seeking Author – 08/03/2010 to 14/03/10

I do apologise for not writing much…but unfortunately, there IS nothing to write about. Life has been unbelievably routine, and amidst the rush of lectures and homework, the dullness left is pure drudgery. However, there HAS been some interesting bits and pieces of random events that have provided some relief:

  1. I have been slightly sick the past few days. Actually, more than slightly – I’m starting to think I could be one of the patients in an episode of HOUSE M.D. Now, you guys might think that being sick is all doom and gloom – I can’t get much rest, I cough my lungs out, and I’m behind on my schoolwork. (The latter is also partly due to procrastination, but let’s not dwell on stuff that is actually my fault). However, being sick has ONE silver lining: I don’t have to exercise. Small price to pay, hmm?
  2. I met a guy at church today who resembles the actor Joshua Jackson, who plays Peter Bishop in FRINGE. Not kidding. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of him, but here’s a picture of Joshua Jackson:

    Now, imagine him a little fatter, and with more hair…..he could be an alternate version of Joshua Jackson / Peter Bishop! Which kinda ties in well with FRINGE’s whole “alternate universe” theory……

  3. As part of my Critical Legal Thinking course, I had to learn about “faulty arguments”. One of them was the argument of Correlation and Causation, where two statements appear to correlate, but may not actually do so. The example I read was hilarious:
      • An overall decrease in the number of pirates over the last century corresponds with an increase in global warming over the same time period.
      • Therefore, global warming is caused by a lack of pirates.

    Huh? Huh? You can’t make this stuff up. And people say lawyers have no sense of humour…

  4. Now, if you have read the previous article about the Brisbane Bus Service, you would have noticed that I said that I wore shorts to uni. That was a truly rare occasion, as I prefer jeans….and I look waaaay better in them. However, a few days ago, a school bus from a girl’s school rolled up to uni. The one day I dressed down, a busload of schoolgirls came trucking into the campus. I just can’t win.

Alright guys, that’s it from me. I have to try to get some work done tonight….or just procrastinate again. I mean, at least that’s better than seeing me in shorts, right?

Do YOU have a fashion disaster you would like to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Oh, Where is the Bus Driver? Or Even the Bus?

Alright, let me kick things off by saying that yes, it is an extremely hot day here in Brisbane. Very, very hot. It was so hot, I wore shorts instead of my usual jeans. Yes, it was THAT hot. But I digress.

If people were to describe me in one word, they would probably say stuff like antisocial, weird, outcast, loner…….you get the idea. But one word that probably would also come to mind would be afraid to try new things. Well, that’s not one word, but work with me here. I feel most comfortable at home, and dislike coming out of my comfort zone. Just ask my friends the lengths they went to to get me to go to a RAVE party. They practically had to pry my hands off the doorframe. But that’s another story.

(Blindingly bright strobe lights, ear-shatteringly loud music, rowdy teenagers – I mean, who WOULDN’T want to go to a RAVE?)

So, it was a pretty big thing for me to be taking….wait for it….Australian Public Transport. Yes, that’s right – after hours of endless wheedling and threatening by my family, I finally agreed (albeit reluctantly) to take the bus to Uni this morning. Oh joy of joys. And boy, did I do my homework. Google search, route planning…..etc, etc. I was ready.

I woke up at 8.30am this morning (and surprisingly, did NOT feel like P Diddy) as I had a tutorial at 10am. I had planned it down to the wire – the bus was to come at 9.27, and arrive at uni 9.50. Perfect.

With the confidence of a seasoned veteran, I strode off to the bus stop to wait for the bus with my dad. With the naivety of a child, I deliberately arrived early, at 9.10am.I was perfectly content to wait for my bus (no. 432) for the seventeen minutes. And that’s what I did. I waited.

(“Perhaps if I wait here a little while longer, the bus will come!”)

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited. And waited. And waited……

You get the idea. By the time 9.30 rolled around, my bus still hadn’t arrived. 9.35, and I was annoyed. Since it takes around 20 minutes to get to uni, and about 15 minutes to find my classroom (hey, I’m new!), I was worried. It didn’t help that plenty of buses drove by in quick succession, all NOT the bus I wanted. 412, 444, 433….it was almost like the bus drivers wanted to make me annoyed.

Thankfully, my dad was still there, and together with my mum, they drove me to uni, and I arrived with 5 minutes to spare. Cars: 1, Buses: 0.

So kids, what have we learnt today?

  1. Taking the bus in Australia is like taking the Underground in London, and it’s also like taking any form of transport in Malaysia. Don’t.
  2. When the bus timetable says “…account for buses arriving slightly late…”, add about 14 years to the late side.
  3. Bus services have it out for students who are running late. The right bus won’t come, and other, incorrect buses will pass by just to make him get his hopes up.
  4. Parents are extremely important for driving you around, especially if you don’t have your  license. Mum, Dad, I love you guys.

The last point is really true. Without them, I would have had to run all the way to uni. And you know how horrible I look when I run in shorts….

[UPDATE]: I tried to take the bus the next day – and this time, it came so early, I nearly missed it. And the ride was so bumpy, I nearly got sick. Plus, it took forever.

But then again, that’s nothing compared to how bad the Malaysian bus service is….

Do YOU have a scary bus story? Tell us right here by leaving a comment!