My #1 woe will be the morning sickness, no-appetite, tiredness and the changes in my body. This is something I cannot avoid and just have to wait for it to be over.
The #2 woe I have of being a preggy in Singapore is having great difficulty to find a seat in the train, even in off peak hours.
Due to the overcrowded and population-increase in this tiny dot country on world map, travelling on public trains is a pain everywhere (HERE).
I won’t say 100% of the commuters are that heartless to ignore me, but I confirm and swear there is a minority among us who will “Gei-siao”, act blur, “bo-chap”, ignore, fake a sleep when they obviously know my existence and my baby bump. The worst case I had was an OL who cut into my queue and squeezed her way into the Reserved Seat, and held up her newspapers pretend not to see me when I was just standing right infront of her.
Never mind if I am not offered a seat, I believe in a thing call Karma. Wait till it’s their turns or their daughters’ to get pregnant, the same thing will happen to them. If I am really not feeling well, I can jolly take another train, hoping to meet a kind soul, or pull out my thick-skinned mask and asked for seat if possible. Preggy ladies really don’t have to so desperate for a seat, think of the good days when we did have a seat. =)
Not sure if anyone has noticed, this sacred seat used to be named “Priority Seat”. But the name prolly didn’t work successfully to encourage commuters to graciously give up the seat to those who need it, and worse, some people see it as a first-class seat because of the word Priority! Tsk tsk!
But changing the name to “Reserved Seat” doesn’t seem to make things any better in my opinion. It only makes people to rush for the non-reserved seats and leave the Reserved Seats for the last few who enter the train. This is the infamous kiasu-ism in Singapore. It shows the ugly side of the *residents in the country.
So much for promoting birth rate among Singaporeans, but so little campaign in teaching us the graciousness to give up seats to preggy?
If preggy has the privilege of no need to work, or working from home, or work lesser days/week, I won’t have to take this pain of squeezing myself in the train, facing little chances of getting a seat despite my baby bump is big enough to be seen, not to mention the backache I have to tolerate when standing in the squeezy crowd!
But wait long long, it is not going to happen, at least for now! Govt should know it’s not just the high living expenses affect the birth rate, it’s also the pain of suffering for the 9-10 months that make us think twice of having baby! Not everyone owns a car, and train transport is one of the most convenient and affordable for a group of us. Imagine squeezing myself in the train like almost every day throughout the pregnancy months?
So I face the fact, nothing is going to change (for me). I just have to be flexible with myself. Whining is getting me nowhere, but at least it makes me feel better.
Inorder to get myself a seat while travelling to work, I actually take the rebound train EVERYTIME in the morning peak hours. Even though Tampines is just one stop after Pasir Ris (Terminal station), there are very low chances to find an empty seat from Pasir Ris – Tampines. I have to take from Tampines – Pasir Ris – Tampines and all the way to the city.
On some days, I am even willing to pay slightly more to take the express private transport from Tampines to city, just to save the hassle and make myself more comfy during the 30-45 minutes journey.
But this morning, I suay la. I took the train and sat on Reserved Seat. I swear there were other Reserved Seats occupied by the less needy. But this ah-pek had to ask me to force my seat to him. I said force because he was very persistent.
I didn’t know why he entered from the other door which is also near another Reserved Seat but didn’t want the seats and had to walk to the cabin where I was. He then stood infront of me, staring at me. I ignored him. Then he stood nearer and nearer to me, I looked at him, he pointed to me the Reserved Seat pictorial. I told I needed the seat too. He said ok. (But later on I realized he was not okay with my reply!)
He then stood nearer and nearer, almost rubbing my knees! He nagged and I told him, “I am pregnant, don’t stand so close to me!”. He replied, “I know, but I am old, to avoid falling down, I grabbed the hand pole and must stand close!”
When I looked at my phone, he actually bent closer towards me like staring what I was doing. Damn. I had to hold my phone nearer to my chest to have some phone privacy, But he still didn’t’ give up and kept staring, like at my boobs area where I held my phone! I felt so uncomfortable!
He kept nagging and even talked to other commuters in English, “Is your newspapers in English or Chinese? I can’t read English, but I can read the word “Reserved Seat” labeled here.”
I was like HUH?? Obviously he was not happy with me.
So when he bent and stared at me again, I shouted at him, “WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?”
His reply, “This seat is written Reserved!”
Me, “Yes I know! But I am pregnant and falls under the same category as you!”
By then I was loud and crying. I lost control and became too emotional.
Two ladies tried to comfort me, one of them even wanted to gave up her seat to him, one other man tried to explain to ah pek. But the ah pek just “chao chao niam”and walked off, turning down the lady who offered her seat.
I was like, what’s wrong with me taking this seat, it’s first come first served, and his name is not written there. There are other Reserved Seats he could have asked, why me, a 4-month pregnant lady carrying a big bag and a packet of breakfast? I didn’t mind taking another seat (if it was offered to me) and gave the Reserved Sseat to him. But the thing was, I didn’t have an alternative seat at that point of time!
What a dramatic Friday morning I had. This incident has made me think twice of taking the Reserved Seat even when I have the privilege. Since I am always taking the rebound train, I shall take the non-reserved seats to avoid myself getting into another awkward moment.
I will really appreciate of the management can deploy more officers at the platform during peak hours. Especially during knock-off hours from work, I need their help to get me a seat. Many times, I have to squeeze in the crowd, so I don’t blame the seated commuters who are unable to notice me since I am mostly squeezed at the doorway. But if there officers who can help, I will be able to squeeze in and get a seat.
I do know there are some officers who do that at a few stations. I ever witness one officer tried to get one elderly a seat successfully and I thought that was a very nice gesture of her.
Let me take the graciousness of the Taiwanese as an example. Unlike we have only 1 Reserved Seat at each end of the stretch of seats, the trains in Taiwan had two. No one would take the Reserved Seats even on peak hours. No matter how squeeze their trains are, that few Reserved Seats would be untouched by the less needy. I was very impressed by their graciousness on this. I wonder how did their Govt educate the people and how did campaigns turn out so successful. *Salute*
Maybe our leaders should set some rules on the less needy who take the Reserved Seats.
- No sleeping is allowed.
- No to be too engrossed in reading papers or using the phone. When the train door opens, they should stop and look out for those who need the seats.
- Install a camera perhaps? Just like speeding cars, offenders will be fined?
I don’t know, I am getting sick with the crowded trains issue. Nothing has been improved despite the high-frequency of trains arrival.
I didn’t know it is that difficult to find a seat for preggy. Some kind commuters may have notice the preggy, but because of our society and culture, not many dare to speak up for the preggy, worrying of getting into trouble themselves.
At times, I feel so pathetic for what the society has become. When was the last time we had a comfortable train ride to work?
*Residents comprise of :
Educated and non-educated Singaporean, adults and teenagers
Talent and non talented foreignersSpoilt children who will whine and whine to the parent they want a seat, making the seated commuters embarrass
The elderly who are slow in their movement are worried they are to slow to grap a seat