Transport en commun

by Jinryu

I extrapolate from what I see around me all the time.  It doesn’t mean that my extrapolations are correct, but I make up theories about people and I test their behavior against these algorithms, trying to guess their next move– profiling them I guess.  I’ve been doing this for years, so I’ve gotten pretty good at it, without meaning to brag.

I was on the train this morning and was thinking to myself that there’s an increasing amount of university students from mainland China in Sydney.  Their profile: little or no first generation family in Australia, so likely sent to study and fend for themselves.  Used to the idea of a billion people per square mile, and not having been given any orientation in the way that Sydney life and culture differs, there are a few behavioral patters that manifest.  To a “Western-raised Chinese Canadian” like me, the best way of summing this up is in varying degrees of sociopathy.

I’m not just talking about old people– what’s more annoying to me are the younger generations of migrants who make little or no efforts to adapt, when really, they can.

My beef with “them”?

  • Generally ignoring situations that most people would line up– such as for getting on buses.  This is my big peeve.
  • Making a beeline for the reserved seating, if there is any, and just being oblivious as elderly people struggle to get to the seats deeper in the buses (instead of volunteering their seats as they’re supposed to: that’s what the sign for reserved seating says, doesn’t it?)
  • Pushing to get onto trains,  before passengers get off.  For bonus points, if waiting for people to get off first, pushing to get ahead of other people trying to get on.  It’s gotten to the point where I note that Sydney trains now have increasing numbers of employees specifically there to tell people, essentially, to stop blocking efficient flow of traffic.
  • Probably because they’re used to trains that are so crowded that you could never possibly fall down, these people tend to lean on handhold poles, thus blocking everyone else on the train from using them. This morning, I saw a girl leaning on two at once.
  • Generally incapable of washing their hands in public restrooms.
  • If they’re really oldschool, they tend to leave shoeprints on public toilet seats.

It is true that cultural expectations are different in Sydney compared to Asian countries– but if you’re going to go abroad, learn how to do as the Romans for crying out loud.

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