It was an ordinary day – stepped into the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train and continued my journey back home. Amazingly the only thing not very ordinary was the fact that there were empty seats and the train wasn’t crowded, so I decided to take a seat..
My eyes were glued to my usual iPhone games and I was gaming away just to kill time. And then I felt a gentle nudge on the left. I almost dropped my phone. A middle – aged man was gesturing to me while pointing to the train map. At that moment I wasn’t sure what was happening:
- I had my earpiece on
- The guy’s mouth wasn’t moving so was he talking? I’m not sure
- People around us didn’t even look bothered at what was happening between us strangers
I was quite frustrated; I almost dropped my phone and now there seems to be this guy who’s gesturing strange things that I do not understand. I took off my earpiece and sure enough he wasn’t talking.
That was when I saw him furiously typing away on his phone and he showed it to me.
“which stop do I have to alight to go bedok mall?”
I gestured back “7 more stops” and looked at him.
Soon, I was flashed with another message he typed on his phone
“Thanks, I deaf”
I immediately felt guilty.
Here I was, getting frustrated at him, but all he needed was help.
I struggled to understand again why was I angry at this man. He needed basic help and decided to ask me. Shouldn’t this be more important than my game?
We then spent the rest of our journey talking via text messages shown to each other. Apparently he tried asking the person sitting to his left but he refused to answer to his pleas of help.
Maybe I’m used to a cold society, where we are so cold towards each other, and harmony cease to exist. We bottle our frustrations from work, school or daily life and only care about our self interests.
I could have been just another guy whom he approach but yet ignore him. I could have been the one pissed at him for nearly tipping my phone off my hands and canceling the high score I was aiming for in the game. I could have just took the nudge for a bump on the usual train ride as nothing and continued playing.
I’m glad that I didn’t do any of the above and helped this guy answer his basic question, although I’m sure my frustration was uncalled for.
Soon, the warmness of the train slowly died as he alighted the train and said goodbye to me. And it was back to the cold journey back home…