I would like to think that I'm not a fascist

But when you are a mother of two,

Who allows her two children (aged approximately six and four),

To run willy-nilly up and down a public bus that is in motion and subject to the vagaries of rush-hour traffic,

Even when there are two other adult relatives present to help you keep your monster kids in order,

Not to mention a polite bus driver who doesn't tell you off at first opportunity, but in fact waits till your boisterous four-year-old poses an actual threat to his own safety and that of other passengers by clambering all over little nooks and corners at the front of the bus that were not designed as an ersatz jungle gym, and then the bus driver tells you off twice within a fifteen-minute interval, to which you only make the lame and insincere response, "Sorry for the inconvenience (不好意思)" and do not, in fact, restrain your out-of-control child from further endangering himself, the bus or the other passengers,

Then you are a moron who clearly should not be allowed to reproduce,

And I should not have to stifle the instinctive urge to trip your children as they flutter up and down the aisles, or to club them on the head with my umbrella,

And I should not be mired in a bad mood because the tomfoolery of rush-hour traffic exacerbated by unseasonal monsoon-esque rains means that we are all trapped on the bus together for longer than we ought to be.

But life is unfair. The children continued to run free through the bus, their mother continued to act (or perhaps she truly was, frightening thought) oblivious, I continued to glower at them. Perhaps I should have spoken up, but with my mediocre Mandarin --- and it was clear from the bus driver's exchange with her that the family was only Mandarin-speaking --- I'm not sure I could've said anything besides, "Tell your children to stop playing here! This is not a --- " But even then, language fails me and I can't muster the translation for "playground".

So I sat, and stewed, and rehearsed my testimony should an accident befall the bus and I be called upon to testify that the bus driver took utmost care in conveying us to our destination, including warning the mother of the children of their inappropriate and dangerous behaviour, and that any harm that accrued to them was completely the fault of the indulgent and irresponsible mother.

Again I say: people like that are allowed to reproduce?

Fortunately, an hour of Pilates and several glasses of white wine afterwards dispelled the bad mood. Perhaps that is the secret to coming to terms with living in a (relatively) free society.

(I am not a fascist. But I loathe situations that tempt me to the Dark Side.)


At 9/02/2005 2:40 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

Since you look vaguely non-Chinese, she would have had the courtesy to converse in English.

At 9/03/2005 2:27 am , Blogger Terz said...

I say, trip them and look innocent. Then share a secret wink with the bus driver.

At 9/03/2005 2:39 am , Blogger Abigael said...

This is why you need super-lemon sweets in your bag. Give it to them with your saintliest motherly grin, then watch them turn into prunes by the next bus stop. That should fix them!

At 9/03/2005 12:51 pm , Blogger stellou said...

Um. Once upon a time, in a Singapore department store, I told a noisy child to use his inner voice. It shut him up for a couple of beats while he thought about it. No. Wait. He was probably trying to figure out if I was simply mad, or mad and dangerous.

At 9/03/2005 1:34 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I deal with this kind of stuff on a daily basis. I need a new job...

At 9/03/2005 10:08 pm , Blogger budak said...

In the bus, I have managed to tell off just the following:
- A lady with a toddler blowing incessantly into a toy whistle (I got up from my seat at the back and walked to her to ask her [fairly politely] to stop him, which she did.
- Two bengs and their ghetto-blaster at the back of the bus, whom I glared at with a finger (signalling hush!) to my mouth. They did, and I smiled at them.
- A guy on the lower deck who was testing all his stupid ringtones. I shouted from the upper deck stairway "Shut up!"
- A group of kids who tried to rudely push their way to the upper deck. I screamed at them to stop their antics and they spent the rest of the trip verbally abusing us (the parents didn't care).
Probably only 5-10% of such behaviour get an audible response from me. I could be too tired, too engrossed in other thoughts, too timid... one needs to work up the blood to boiling point before shedding all inhibitions..

At 9/04/2005 2:41 am , Blogger Rambling Alcoholic said...

I would have tripped them. And no, I don't think that would have warranted you being called a facist. izb

At 9/04/2005 9:03 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

iirc, 'playground' is 'er2 tong2 yu2 le4 cang3 suo3', which translates literally to children's entertainment grounds.


At 9/04/2005 9:43 pm , Blogger JellyGirl said...

Little monsters. I always want to throttle them when they run screaming up and down the aisles. What really gets me is when they get on their ghastly Wheelies in crowded shopping centres and zoom around.

At 9/05/2005 1:44 am , Blogger Terz said...

Trip! Trip! Trip!

At 9/05/2005 2:45 am , Blogger Unknown said...

these kids are the future of our world :(

At 9/05/2005 12:47 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Clearly, a lot of you are less passive-aggressive than I am :)

Agagooga --- Do I look vaguely non-Chinese? I get mistaken for Chinese all the time.

Anonymous --- Thank you! One more word recovered from my dormant memory of Chinese phrases! Only 35,000 to go...

At 9/05/2005 4:23 pm , Blogger Agagooga said...

The operative word being "vaguely"


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