7 bad habits of Malaysian train commuters

Hundreds of thousands of Malaysians choose to avoid the daily traffic snarls by using the rail networks instead.

While mostly uneventful, train journeys can be made uncomfortable through the efforts of thoughtless people.

Here is the list of the seven most prominent bad habits that make the daily commute onboard the trains a nightmare:

1. Rushing into the train before passengers disembark

It is simple logic, really.

When a train pulls into a station, the disembarking passengers are theoretically supposed to get off onto the platform, leaving seats and spaces to be filled by embarking passengers.

For some inexplicable reason, however, it is a common sight to see entire posses barging their way onto the train as soon as the doors slide open, blocking people who are trying to leave the carriage.

It is a foolish, selfish move which should rightfully be rebuked by inconvenienced commuters.

Imagine the rage if you end up missing your stop and are dragged off to the next station because you couldn’t leave the train!

2. Littering

It’s peak hour and you stumble onto a packed train. You’re tired and need to take a seat to catch your breath.

Then, in the distance, you spot something akin to a miracle: an empty seat.

You carve through the crowd like Moses parted the Red Sea and when you reach the seat, you find that it is already occupied by wads of disgusting used tissues.

The next time you think of leaving trash in the train, ask yourself the following questions.

Is this your home? No? Is this your rubbish bin? No? Then get off the train with your trash and be responsible.

3. Using the train as a dining room

While drinking water on trains is generally acceptable, it is pushing the envelope when passengers bring entire buffets on as well.

Perhaps you do have to eat on-the-go, but being hasty can very much result in accidental spills or entire burgers falling splat onto the ground.

Maybe more responsible citizens will do their best to clean up after themselves, but there is a reason why food is not allowed onboard trains in the first place.

It is one thing to eat a bread roll on a moving train however, and quite another to eat something with strong smells like pickles, sambal petai or rojak buah.

God help the passengers of the train with a durian onboard.

4. Taking up more than one seat

A word that entered the English vocabulary in 2015, “manspreading” refers to the practise of some men spreading their legs wide apart in a manner that will obstruct adjacent seats.

While postures such as this are not particularly annoying when the trains are practically empty, obstructing seats during rush hour is a massive no-no.

With limited seating in jam-packed carriages, keeping your hips closed is the considerate thing to do.

This also applies to shoppers and tourists who place their bags onto seats adjacent to them rather than keeping them on the lap or beneath their seat.

Seats are meant to be occupied by living, breathing humans, not inanimate objects.

5. Not giving up your seat to the pregnant, sick or elderly

Even from a young age, Malaysian children are taught in Moral Education classes to give up their seats to those who need it more than themselves.

It is a lovely gesture that really ought to be practised more in real life, but unfortunately, reality is often disappointing.

There is a bit of the “passing-the-buck” mentality whenever a needy person comes onto a train, with each able-bodied passenger half-expecting the next to offer their seat first.

It is usually made clear when a person needs a seat because they will be searching for one or trying to make eye contact with fellow passengers.

It is in these instances when you should do the right thing and offer your seat because if no one does, who will?

6. Thinking the train is a sound-proof studio

Train rides can be quite boring, and whipping out your headphones to listen to your tunes is a good way to past the time.

However, if it turns out that the person sitting opposite you can tell that you are listening to “It’s Raining Men”, you probably have to turn down the volume by a fair bit.

Same goes for conversationalists using transit time to catch up with family and friends.

There is nothing wrong with talking onboard a train, it’s not a library; but as is with elsewhere, use your indoor voice.

The world is not all that hard up to learn about your personal life.

7. Being a creep

While mostly applicable to women, people in general will have had some unpleasant experiences with “strange” train passengers.

They will stare at you, almost as if they are ogling you and there is a possibility that is exactly what they are doing.

It gets all the more alarming when you are forced to join the standing crowd together with the creep.

For those unfortunate enough, the hands of the creep may end up in places where it should not be.

What happens next depends on whether the crowd is willing to call out the pervert or just pretend to stare on into nothingness.