On giving up seats to the needy ….

Reserved seat fines will not lead to graciousness
From Angela Lim Jie Yi

Admittedly, the issue of reserved seats has been discussed at length in our society. But imposing a “S$5 fee for sitting on reserved MRT seats” (Dec 28) may not be a feasible solution to the current problem.

I agree with the writer that reserved seats are located for the convenience of pregnant women, the disabled, senior citizens and those with young children to get on and off the train with ease.

However, it could also apply to those who are feeling unwell.

Or what if there are two pregnant women and a senior citizen standing next to a reserved seat?

I am six-months pregnant and this happened to me during peak hour recently when I was in a cabin with another mother-to-be and a frail, old lady.

I had to ask a woman to give up a reserved seat to the old lady, who needed the seat most, I felt, among the three of us.

In such a situation, other passengers should give up their seats, too.

The point is that the act of giving up a seat, reserved or otherwise, is a beautiful gesture of social graciousness and responsibility, and imposing fines on people sitting in reserved seats would not send this message across or lead to a gracious society.

I have noticed in recent years that it is the elderly and those in equal need of a reserved seat who would give up the seat to the next needy person.

I am saddened to see teenagers and young adults who are often oblivious to those around them.

Education on this should start with parents. Social campaigns, the media and schools could complement proper upbringing.

In years to come, I believe that our society will learn and the giving up of seats will be second nature.

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