It warms the cockles of my heart whenever I see someone giving up his/her seat to somebody else – and I must say, it seems to have (surprisingly) become a relatively frequent occurrence these days! I’ve even joined in the fun occasionally and surrendered my own seat at times. I must confess, though, that I’m not the perfect altruist, and several factors go through my mind before actually deciding whether or not to do so – I actually do a simple cost/benefit analysis every time I spot somebody I suspect might appreciate the seat a lot more than me.
Typical seat-surrender sequence
- Wait. Pray that somebody else will be nicer than me and give up the seat first. “Lord, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me…”
- If everyone else in the carriage is apparently being a jerk, start analysing the subject on neediness level, considering…
- injuries (those that influence bipedal stability, anyway)
- age (not a major factor, though, some of those Ah Kongs are remarkably sprightly!)
- pregnancy status (extremely dangerous territory. I actually try not to offer big-bellied ladies a seat unless it is bleedingly obvious, because some of these big-bellied ladies are not actually pregnant)
- others (because I’m sure I’ve missed something from this list)
- Before standing up, quickly think about how many stops there are before getting off the train. I’m sorry, if I just got on at Boon Lay and have 12 stops left to go, it’s going to take a crippled pregnant old man to get me off my butt! (Hyperbole intended.)
Fortunately (or not), this sequence doesn’t get the chance to play itself out if I’m unconscious (asleep) or deeply engrossed in reading. It’s also surprisingly stressful to keep conducting this assessment procedure – it’s no wonder so many people simply opt to fall asleep instead.