MRT Pole Dance

I took the above shot on my cell phone yesterday, riding the Taipei MRT from Longshan Temple to Dunhua and Chungshiao.

Here's the situation: person gets on the MRT and leans up against the pole that is in place for passengers to hold on to (see above pic again). People already holding on to said pole are forced to remove their hands. This in fact the second time this has happened to me recently. The first time, I was riding the brown line to Guanqian Station and a middle-aged man got on. He was about to take hold of the pole when he noticed my hand also attached, so he quickly retreated with an aghast expression, like I had cooties or something. After turning to another pole and finding his access blocked, the middle-aged man then turned his back to me and proceeded to lean up against my pole, crushing my hand in the process. 

I was talking to a friend about this. He told me he's also encountered the tactic, on numerous occasions too. What he does is flex his hand so his knuckles stick out, so that the offender can feel them in his or her back. Then he wiggles his fingers until he gets a response. Not preferring such antics, I go for the much simpler verbal appeal to reason: "我怎麼扶欗杆?" or "How the heck can I hold the pole now?"


EyeDoc said...

This is nothing. Just last week, Boston Globe reported this:

"The latest gripe of long-suffering straphangers? Seat hogs who take up extra space on crowded trains and buses with their bags, backpacks and dripping umbrellas — sometimes even stretching out for a snooze — and face no penalty."

NYC Subway system does it right: a $50 fine for any of the above.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"NYC Subway system does it right: a $50 fine for any of the above."

Actually, the police are pretty active on the Taipei MRT system. You can see them with their pads and pens at most stations. I'm thinking the pole lean is distinctive to Taipei MRT culture, but I may be wrong. It could be that I finally became sensitive to it. They've got all kinds of warnings now, like not to affect others with newspaper reading, to make EVERY seat a priority seat, etc. It's just a matter of time before they start cracking down on the pole lean.

Anonymous said...

actually, in Vancouver (Canada), people lean against the pole all the time. I'm like your friend, I just turn my hand with my knuckles firm so they can feel it. I don't know why, but there's been a disintegration of consideration everywhere.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"I don't know why, but there's been a disintegration of consideration everywhere."

I lived in Vancouver for many years and never noticed it; it must be like you say, a disintegration of courtesy.

Xiong Xiao Bing said...

There are similar occurrences in other western countries... it's not fun to have a stranger's sweaty hair/head pressed up against your hand (whilst holding on to remain standing).