When Young and Old Collide

By now you’d have heard or even seen that video of the female youth engaged in a battle of words with a disgruntled auntie over an MRT priority seat.

Regardless of who was in the wrong, whether the whole idea of reserved seating in public transport has skewed our country’s sense of morals, or “how come Singaporeans can act liddat ah?”, the incident raised not a few eyebrows and surely caused plenty of discomfort for adjacent commuters in the ensuing few minutes of that ride.

An inevitable question will be raised among parents viewing the incident, squarely directed at the aggro young lady: what if she was your daughter? Or (dare I venture a more uncomfortable hypothesis) what if the auntie was your mum?

The same ensuing queries would apply to both ends of the spectrum: would she be viewed as a bully? Would you take pride in knowing she can stand on her own against an injustice? Or would you not know what to think?

This essentially being a parenting blog, let’s draw from the “daughter” scenario (because let’s face it, I’d draw a complete blank in dealing with the auntie as my mother). Parents Magazine recently published 8 tips on preventing your child from becoming a bully that does deal with how to treat others respectfully, both among peers and towards the elderly. It stems from a comparable incident in which a group of high school students bully a 68-year-old school bus monitor in the US, and provides much food for thought in helping to understand how such incidents can be properly dealt with – or even avoided – if any one of the tips provided had been incorporated into parental guidance. And frankly, I’m not just talking about the girl here. That auntie needs to learn restraint as well; it would save a lot of embarrassment on both ends.

More importantly, kids have to learn to respect the elderly for the years they put into making the place you live what it is today. As for the old folks, return the respect; the youth of today are inevitably our future, after all.

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