Monday, August 21, 2006

Short rant on Foreign(?) nationals of chinese descent

10.30pm Orchard Road; waiting for the bus.

Up comes fairly well-dressed woman (about 30ish?) who speaks with some difficulty in a very soft voice, in Mandarin (not singaporean/malaysian accent.), stretches over and tries to speak into ear with a very very VERY soft voice.

"can you please help me? I am ill, out of work, and need help. "

"sorry, cannot help."

"where do you need to go?"

*points at nearest bus, "Bedok"

Finds $1.20 for bus fare, gives to woman.

Woman walks to next bus (No.7 for those who know), and amidst the crowd of people trying to get on the bus, tries to get (sneak?) through without the driver/conductor's notice.

Driver/Conductor notices, calls woman back.

Woman tries sob story again on conductor. Tries to get close to bus conductor/driver's ear and speak softly in ear with difficulty (attempt to pull on sexual strings?)

Bus conductor/driver waves woman towards back of bus. Decides its not worth his effort to contest such free-riding behavior.

Bus drives off.

What did this incident illustrate? Are we wrong to hold racist attitudes? Do a few rotten apples
contaminate the whole batch by accident? (yet, in statistics, if we do find a rotten apple, we might throw away the entire batch?!)

I'm not sure how to respond about my own biases. Here is someone, out to 'free-ride' a little on the rest of society. The money was given for a bus fare (though she looked like she could afford it, and I happen to believe that if one can help, one should work towards a kinder society), yet, the money was put into the pocket, and she also CON(vinced) her way onto a free bus ride.

Maybe she wasn't from China. Maybe the sob story was real. Somehow, the body language just didn't seem to hint at it. No thanks at all after receiving the money, just straight away turned and walked to the bus. Maybe I was biased. but my read of her motions was that she was happy to have conned me out of $1.20. (or was it $1.30?)

Now, I was standing there wearing a short sleeved shirt, and short pants (reaching to the knee), and in what the Americans like to call "trainers", reading a book, minding my own business and waiting for the bus. Either she was desperate, or she thought maybe even a few cents from another unwary individual is still a few cents more in ther pocket than not.

Either way, free riding practices such as this (regardless of ethnicity or nationality), are inhibitors to a kinder society.

Globalization, they call it. Overcrowded society, where every man/woman for himself attitude, I think it.

Sigheth. What future can the world bring, when 2.5bn people are 'unleashed' with personal values that include such 'CONvictions'?

[btw, i hope this doesn't lead to any 'counselling' for the bus driver. He was thinking of meeting his demanding timetable, and the inconvenience to other passengers for delaying the bus. Did I ever mention that the buses in SG rival HK in terms of their urge to get away from the bus stop? buses on the European continent seem to operate at a more sedate pace. Wait, maybe he does need counselling, because he has caused the firm to lose income, and encouraged more passengers to consider trying this form of CONtact with bus drivers to get a free ride.]


Blogger abao said...

Your case at least the solicitor is polite. Mine was just plain rude.

8:17 AM  

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