22 March 2019
A young man on a high-speed rail train earned the ire of netizens after a video clip showed him refusing to give his window seat to a lady who had a ticket for the seat. Photo: Xinhua
A young man on a high-speed rail train earned the ire of netizens after a video clip showed him refusing to give his window seat to a lady who had a ticket for the seat. Photo: Xinhua

In this age of instant uploads, better behave yourself in public

A video footage showing a mainland student occupying a train seat assigned to a lady passenger  went viral on social media, fueling discussions on the loss of good manners, especially among many young people.

On a high-speed rail journey from Jinan to Beijing on Tuesday, the young man declined to give his window seat to the lady who had a ticket showing that it was assigned to her. 

The train conductor and a security guard came in to sort out the issue, but the man still refused, claiming he could not get up, and even got mad at those asking him to yield his seat.

He also told the conductor to arrange for wheelchair assistance upon arrival at the station in the capital.

Netizens who saw the clip were almost unanimous in condemning the male passenger for being rude, arrogant and selfish. None believed that he really could not stand up from the seat. 

How could a supposedly educated individual manage to display such an uncouth and unacceptable behavior in public?

Some netizens conducted a background check on the guy and posted their findings online. The young man turned out to be a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a PhD candidate at the Wonkwang University in South Korea.

It is said that the young man even bragged about triggering the commotion; he wrote on his WeChat account: “Today I caused a whole chunk of people including a train conductor, security – and a naïve girl – to be busy around me.”

Swamped by a torrent of criticism, the man later apologized on social media to the lady and the entire nation, saying that sometimes he could not understand himself. He begged for a chance to redeem himself.

Not too many netizens were ready to accept his apology, however, after it was alleged that he had cheated on his girlfriend and his university thesis might have been plagiarized.

In another tale of bad behavior, a Hong Kong mother was roundly attacked on social media for arrogating upon herself and her baby the entire nursery room at Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, after her flight was canceled because of typhoon Cimaron.

In a Facebook post, the mother said she stayed overnight with her kid in the nursery room, which was equipped with a sofa, a microwave oven, a hot water dispenser and a socket to charge her phone. 

She even boasted that she had saved about 1,000 yen (US$9), which she would have spent had she booked a room at a hostel instead.

Instead of getting “likes”, however, the mother earned the ire of netizens, who accused her of abusing her rights and depriving other mothers of the chance to use the nursery room and avail themselves of the service. They said what she did brought shame to Hong Kong.

Bad behavior is also on display in Hong Kong’s public transport. Buses and MTR trains have assigned priority seats for the elderly and those with special needs. Unfortunately, such seats are often taken by people who look hale and hearty, despite an old woman or an expectant mother standing in front of them.

Sometimes an argument ensues, and when a camera-phone footage of the incident is uploaded to social media, it spreads across cyberspace very quickly and triggers a storm of ferocious commentaries.

So lest you become an instant social media sensation under circumstances not to your liking, behave well when you’re in public. Better still, show a little kindness even to strangers. It will stand you in good stead.

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EJ Insight writer

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