IRECENTLY had the opportunity to board a Keretapi Tanah Melayu Komuter train to Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur.
It was a Sunday morning and yet, there was quite a crowd inside the train.
As the train arrived, I hopped onto the ladies’ coach and grabbed a pole to hold on to, as there were no seats left in the coach.
That was when I noticed something that irked me. I saw a man seated in one of the rows, and his eyes seemed glued to his phone.
I looked around and saw the signs, both words and images, all over the coach. It was unquestionably a ladies-only coach.
I was naturally annoyed because he was so consumed by whatever he was reading or watching on his phone that he failed to notice where he was seated.
To make matters worse, there were a few female passengers next to him who kept glaring at him, but he was blissfully unaware of it all.
He did look away from his phone every now and then, for all of five seconds before his attention was back to his gadget.
I could see the irritation and discomfort on everyone’s faces, but no one dared say anything to him.
I was standing quite far away from where he was. So, I decided that I would reprimand him when I reached my stop and was on my way out because I did not want to create a ruckus while the train was still moving.
Just as the train was about to stop at the Mid Valley station, I saw an auxiliary policeman walking on the platform outside.
He seemed to be walking hurriedly away. So, I raised my voice and yelled to get his attention.
He turned around and I told him there was a man inside the ladies’ coach.
It was unusually crowded and I had to talk loudly for the policeman to be able to hear me from afar and rush inside the train before the doors shut.
He thanked me and proceeded to get into the train to chase the man out of the coach.
I can’t fathom this. How is it that with ample signs all over the coach, both inside and outside, there are still some who flagrantly disregard simple rules?
Maybe, some people are illiterate. I can understand that these people might not be able to read the words, but what about the images? Even a 5-year-old (and some younger ones, too) would be able to understand pictures and graphics.
What excuse do these ignorant adults have?
This is the problem when one constantly has one’s nose buried in their phones. These people are oblivious to their surroundings which, most times, will only land them in trouble.
It really isn’t difficult to abide by simple rules. We are not young children who are uninformed about the ways of everyday life.
The whole concept of ladies’ coach isn’t new to us — it has been around for years now.
As a woman, it is a sad reality to have come to a point where we need to have something like this in order to avoid getting sexually harassed and/or assaulted.
However, with each passing day, we are unfairly, and very slowly, getting robbed of what little sense of security that we have.
This is not right.
This is not acceptable.
This just has to stop.
To all the ladies, I have messages for you:
If you see your rights being violated, speak up; and,
If you find yourself being wronged, speak up.
Keeping mum will most definitely not help you in any way. There is nothing wrong with speaking up and fighting for your rights.
It’s better to have said or done something rather than keeping it all in and suffering in silence.
We are better than passivity and apathy.
We have courage, and we are made of grit.
You have the power to voice out your opinions. So, don’t be afraid to make a little noise if need be.
Don’t let your fear override your emotions and make you either give in, or submit to injustice.
Be bold, and be brave.
ASHLEY GREIG, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/
Indian lineage. She believes in a
tomorrow where there is no racism and hatred