By now, I’m sure train and public bus commuters in Singapore are familiar with this rap:
The rap features Phua Chu Kang – Singapore’s very own darling sitcom character – urging us to be more considerate when onboard public transport. The rap is played at all MRT stations, and together with it are posters and images on buses and trains showing Phua Chu Kang and his wife Rosie spread the message of gracious commuting, reminding us to: give way to alighting passengers, give up your seat to those who are more in need and to move in to the rear of buses or the middle of train cars to increase the passenger capacity.
These are all part of the public education programme launched by the Public Transport Council (PTC) and supported by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that started in May this year.
Now four months in, I wonder how successful this campaign has been. While I do see people waiting patiently for passengers to alight the train before boarding, most times there are still those who simply shove their way in too. And if one were to visit STomp’s (www.stomp.com.sg) “Ugly Commuter” page, it is utterly disappointing to view daily updates of the same rude, inconsiderate behaviour seen onboard public transport.
I understand that to expect every single person to be swayed into consciously changing their attitudes through a campaign is idealistic, but a public education programme like this one is the last stratum of effort that is going to be initiated for us by an authority in providing us a high-quality experience in our local public transport system.
What I mean by experience is the comfortable seats, cool air-conditioned spaces, friendly service staff and adequate passenger information that are provided onboard public transport. With all of these made available for us, the last piece of the puzzle for us to enjoy “A Happy Journey” really is our own attitude towards other passengers.
I applaud the initiative for this public education programme. Sure, the rap video does come across as a little cheesy, but I think that many Singaporeans do need this campaign. We need to assess our own level of social-graciousness when travelling on public transport, and this effort is a great reminder for us to do it. And when we finally come around to improving our behaviour, I look forward to "A Happy Journey" every time!