S’poreans are generally helpful but sometimes too paiseh to help in everyday situations

We need thicker hide.

Tsiuwen Yeo | March 20, 2017, 10:40 AM

For the most part, Singaporeans are a caring bunch. We really step up when shit goes down, like rushing to help a man trapped under a truck, offering assistance when cars get into an accident and standing up to bullies who perpetuate racism.

But think of Singaporeans and “caring” is hardly ever the first thing that comes to mind.

That’s because more than a few Singaporeans choose to turn the other way, instead of making someone’s day by being a bit more considerate.

The main grouch? It really doesn’t take much to step in and help, but people just don’t make that effort.

1. When you’re chasing the bus with all your life but everyone at the bus stop just stops and stares


Unless you are an athlete, the only time people will watch you run with all your might is when you’re chasing after the bus.

Perhaps “watch” is too kind a word to use. Most times, people at the bus stop are actually staring or pretending not to see you -- instead of doing the very simple deed of helping you flag for the bus.

A wave is all it takes to get the bus driver to wait. You’re only using about 20 out of over 600 muscles in your entire body to flag for a bus. That’s 3% effort. Not difficult at all.

Paiseh level: 7/10. What if the person just likes to run in office attire? Damn paiseh one.


2. When a shameless person blatantly takes a seat offered to someone who needs it more, but no one confronts him.

Here’s a scenario you might relate to:

You are on a crowded bus/ train and an elderly person comes on board. You make the gracious choice to give up your seat. The moment you move aside, however, someone (whom you obviously didn’t give up the seat for) ninjas their way into the seat. You are left baffled and annoyed.


Meanwhile, Shameless Person avoids all eye contact, pretending nothing is wrong -- so does everyone else who witnessed the crime.

Paiseh level: 4/10. You’re just sticking to your decision. Unless the person who took the seat needs it too. Then… we suggest asking a sturdy-looking individual to give up their seat to the original receiver. With a nice smile.


3. When there is a commotion in public but everyone’s busy taking a video.

Citizen journalism is definitely a boom these days. See someone being verbally abused at the station? Whip out your smartphone and there you go -- you have a scoop, ready to be made viral.

Don’t forget the vivid description of what went down, who pulled punches first and end off with a poignant quote about loving thyself and thy neighbour.

But most times, foregoing viral gold for a heart of gold makes everyone happy.

We have a suggestion: help them out, then take a picture of what happened. Same viral content, but you actually help someone. Non-zero sum game.

Paiseh level: 10/10. Potentially walking into a viral video. But think about it, you will be famous for the right reasons.


4. When tourists struggle to navigate our public transport system and S’poreans don’t help

Getting on public transport is a seamless process for many Singaporeans, especially since we love efficiency to the extent of having constant reminders to ensure we do it as swiftly as humanly possible.

Like this seemingly inane reminder here.


So being stuck behind tourists struggling with the ticketing machine is not particularly a pleasant experience for us busy bees.

But instead of thinking “walao, they damn slow!” and making audible, typical Singaporean passive aggressive tut-tuts of disapproval, it probably saves you more time to step forward and help them.

Paiseh level: 6/10. What if they can’t speak English? Then you gotta mime in public. But we’re not sure why you’d be paiseh, cos’ you’re not the one asking for help.

Bonus: People queueing behind you will think you’re awesome.


5. When there’s something wrong with your clothes but everyone feigns ignorance

One of the most embarrassing things that could happen is to walk around in public with your fly undone, or when your period decides to go all crazy and stain your clothes.

That sense of horror intensifies when you realise all the double takes you got weren’t actually because you have a good hair day.

No. They’re probably laughing at how silly you look.



Here’s a tip on what you should do the next time you see someone with the above, or anything else that’s off about their outfit:

Tap them on the shoulder and just tell them. Preferably in a small voice.

Everyone has their bad days. You can make it better with just that teeeny effort. No biggie at all.

Paiseh level: 0/10. The dude with the open fly should be more paiseh.




Start spreading good karma with simple acts of kindness that will make anyone’s day -- including your own.

Again, it makes more sense to help others first, rather than stand by the sidelines taking photos.

After that, if you’re a social media junkie, share your encounter with the hashtags #DaretoCare #SGcares. Let the Internet do its magic and inspire more Singaporeans to be kind.


Top image from here.

This post was brought to you by MCCY

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