Thursday, October 23, 2008

bus commuters in melbourne and singapore

when i came back from my last australian trip in april this year, i decided to find out how different singapore bus commuters were from those i met on the buses in melbourne's suburbs. each time i boarded a bus here, i opted to sit near the front door so that i could study closely the behaviour and attitude of the passengers.

i was especially keen to observe the actions of those who would have missed the bus if the bus captain had not stopped to wait for them. this was not something difficult to catch because it seemed to be a common occurence. more often than not, it would be a young man or woman in a hurry.

i have yet to come across one of these passengers thanking the bus captain for having waited for him so that he would not have to wait for the next bus. people here seem to think that because they are paying passengers, bus drivers must stop for them no matter what; it is, therefore, their right to keep the whole bus waiting.

most times these passengers did not even make eye contact with the bus captain; not a word of thanks or a gesture acknowledging the bus driver's action. i also think that our bus drivers are not used to passengers thanking them, so they also do not expect such a gesture.

in australia, in the suburbs where i travelled, it was heart-warming to see how the commuters treated the bus driver. most of them, who tended to alight by the door nearest to the driver, would express their appreciation for the ride. is it because the australians have been taught and brought up differently? they respect a person regardless of his occupation? here, we accord more respect to those who work in certain professions?

i like to think that the situation is like this because we asians tend to be more reticient when it comes to expressing our feelings openly.


PChew said...

I went to California for holidays a few times. Each time I took a bus ride to differnet places in Orange County for it costs only USS0.50 for any number of rides per day for senior citizen. This year it has increased to US$1. All the bus drivers were very friendly to the passengers. They greeted one another like old friends. When a passenger said 'thank you' just before alighting the bus, the driver responded with 'have a nice day'. I wished that our commuters and our bus drives could have such courteous behaviour.

kAreN said...

Hey I happened to pass by your blog (: Its an awesome blog I have to say! I liked this particular entry since it contrasts the difference between people from 2 different places. I came across a review that states that people over at australia kind of don't really wow-ed at the job of a banker,because ppl at aussie generally think that that is a boring job, which is however, wow-ed by Singaporeans because it pays relatively well.

Sometimes, I used to think, due to the welfare system operating in aussie, people generally have more time, freedom and ability to pursue their interest, which encourages more room for creativity and originality to grow. Singaporeans, however, was tied down by the fact that jobs such as musicians/artistes generally are 'hard' to earn a relatively good pay compared to banker, or engineers. That in a way, deters students having an interest and talents, from pursuing that talented part of them, more of which parents do not encourage so. Probably that accounts for a small little part of Singapore's ever small entertainment and media/music industries.

I think I've gone out of the point but, yep this is an awesome blog post which encourages thinking (: