Baby if I could change the world

Today when I was travelling on the MRT to work, I noticed this sign posted above each of the corner seats in the train carriages.


In other trains I have taken, the usual sign is “Priority Seat” which most people take to mean that you should give up these seats to anyone who meets the description of the figures represented. Even then, that isn’t always the case and I have experienced it firsthand when taking the train during both my pregnancies where people just automatically “dozed off” even with my protruding belly right in their face!

So that got me wondering what SMRT’s purpose was in redefining Priority Seat to Reserved Seating…
What is the meaning of Reserved?
Does it mean that the public should leave these seats unoccupied, or should they take them anyway but give it up whenever they see anyone entering the train that meets the picture descriptions of the figures represented?

Are they leaving the interpretation to the public and hoping that moral suasion or social pressure will win the day?
Maybe I missed some article in the newspapers or press release which defined what the public should do with this definition?  😉

Because as opposed to the common practice in countries like Japan where similar designated seats are left empty, (i.e. the real definition of “Reserved”), the first thought that came to my mind was that any typical local would reason, hey, the seat’s there for the taking, and if I don’t sit, someone else will, so I might as well grab it first, right? And this is really what happened. In every one of those “Reserved” seats there was someone sitting in it and they were certainly neither a parent with a small child in arms, a disabled individual, elderly, or pregnant.

What would you have done?  Take the seat? Leave it empty? Be bold and admonish those sitting in it that don’t qualify?  😉


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3 responses to “Baby if I could change the world”

  1. Grace says :

    I have made many students stand up before. What I normally do is to ask the elderly person, in the presense of the person sitting in the reserved seat, if he/she would like to have a seat. They usually nod or say yes, and then I look at the person sitting there in a pointed manner. If they don’t get the hint, I ask them politely to get off their backsides and thank them profusely so that they don’t feel as if they have “lost face” and they have done a great service to help the elderly!

    • iwonderbee says :

      Hi Grace,
      Thanks, that’s a great suggestion and a wonderful way of doing it tactfully. And thinking about it, hopefully by the time you’ve asked the elderly/parent/pregnant mum if he/she needs the seat, someone in one of the seats would take the hint (if the one in the reserved seat still hasn’t! ). 🙂

  2. Grace says :

    I’m glad to say that I have also seen my fair share of people giving up their seats too!

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