Singaporean Chivalry

Here’s a nice counterpoint to my story on Singaporean Generosity.

When I’m running late for work, I can shave 15 minutes off my hour-long commute from the East by changing buses at Fort Road. And, as anyone who knows me will not be surprised to hear, I’m running late for work pretty often.

There’s a crowd of regulars I’ve come to recognize at that Fort Road bus stop. One is a guy in his mid-twenties, tall, well-groomed without looking like he takes too much trouble over it if you know what I mean, basically quite good looking as Chinese guys go. He always has a book in hand, which he reads while waiting and also on the bus. Most recently, it was Crime and Punishment.

Two weeks ago, the bus that arrived at our stop wasn’t particularly crowded, but there weren’t any free seats. I was one of the first to board, so I walked right to the back and stood there. As the bus pulled away from the bus stop, I noticed that a heavily pregnant woman had also boarded the bus. It’s possible someone would have given her their seat if she’d walked deeper into the bus, but I can quite easily believe that her public transport experiences so far as a pregnant woman in Singapore might not have been sufficiently encouraging for her to bother trying.

So she stood right at the front next to the driver, I was standing right at the back, and the guy – let’s call him the Rare Reader – was standing about 2 metres behind her. Noticing the pregnant woman too, he turned round, tapped the shoulder of the guy seated nearest him, spoke to him and gestured towards the woman. The guy duly got up, the Rare Reader then walked to the front of the bus to let the woman know there was a seat for her, and she took her seat with a smile for both men. I, still standing at the back with my early morning grumpiness dispelled by what I’d just seen, couldn’t help thinking that if I were still in the market for dates I would have asked the Rare Reader out on the spot.


  1. Yes, nice guys do exist, but they are slowly becoming an endangered species due to their inability to breed in captivity. I blame the publication of The Game… nobody wants to be an AFC.

  2. I remember being quite impressed by the San Francisco transport system when I was there. They had very prominent signs all over the bus telling you to give up your seat for older people and everybody did. The bus drivers always checked to see any elderly people were sitting down before they took off as well.

    I was leafing through Crime and Punishment a couple of weeks ago thinking about buying it. Decided it was a holiday book rather than oh-shit-oh-shit-i-really-should-be-studying-right-now-not-reading-books book. Went for Brian Wilsons autobiography instead.

  3. I’m a nice guy. No one ever asks ME out. I’m so nice, I get on buses and punch people out for not giving up their seats to pregnant ladies and senior citizens. And I don’t even take public transport.

    It’s true when they say nice guys finish last. Heck, I don’t even get to finish. I get framed for doping.

  4. At the risk of turning the tone of the conversation, I thought ‘Nice guys finish last’ was akin to ‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

  5. At the risk of turning the tone of the conversation, I thought ‘Nice guys finish last’ was akin to ‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

  6. Dammit Russ, now I can’t get Michelle to delete the duplicate without deleting your comment, and this one…

  7. SIGH. Jokes are no longer funny when one has to explain them!

    Russ’s comment was a witty double entendre in response to Matt’s duplicate comments, following in the vein of puerile jokes suggested by the themes of Relax and guys “finishing”.

    Matt got the joke so remarked that now he couldn’t get me to delete the duplicate, or else Russ’s joke wouldn’t make sense.

  8. Oh I know. I was just putting in a stupid comment to increase the number of stupid comments you had to be deleted.

  9. That is a rare one Michelle! Did Mr Crime & Punishment look good? Not that I’m near Fort Road at all…

  10. Mag: Yeah, definitely above average. I’d say about 7 out of 10, and then if you add the fact of him being a Rare Reader on public transport here and the chivalry, I’d say he goes up at least an additional 0.5.

    Tamara: Quite possible. I’ve also seen Indian construction workers almost jump out of their seats for elderly people, so I don’t even mean “expat” in that usual “earning big bucks and hanging out in Holland V” way.

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