I could not help smiling cynically when I read the cover story, "Aunty, you're just too much" (The New Paper, June 20) about a dispute between two women, which began over a priority seat on a train. It is an indication of the disintegration of the social fabric of our society.
Priority seats are labelled to let people who need them more (such as the elderly, handicapped, pregnant women and so on) have a more comfortable ride. But giving up seats to others should not just be the responsibility of the commuters occupying the priority seats. Others can step up and offer their seats as well. It is called being civic-minded. Maybe it is time for SMRT to do away with the priority seat system.
When we have such seats, commuters who occupy the other seats no longer feel the obligation to fulfil their social responsibility and help those in need.
They feel the onus is on those who occupy the priority seats. If they do not give up their priority seats, why should I give up mine that is not a priority seat? I'm not the one occupying the seats meant for those in need. That is the mentality of the general public.
If we are to be a first-world country, let us start by doing away with the priority seat system. Let us hold everyone accountable andshare the social responsibility equally.
As for the older woman, a simple "Please" and "Thank You" from her would have been enough. Being old does not exempt one from being polite. Good manners are the glue that hold us together as a society. Let us grow old with grace.
This article was first published in The New Paper.