Ask nicely, and you might receive

Ask nicely, and you might receive

It seems that students are the latest to get it from the netizen crew.

Based on some online comments, you would think that there is no space at all to have your cupcakes and lattes, no thanks to their bags, books and laptops.

But is it that bad?

It's not like it's a new problem, if it's a problem at all.

I have mentioned in past columns how I wowed my teacher pals back in the UK when I told them that you can find Singaporean students mugging in fast food joints - and then explaining that does not mean assaulting people.

They think it's amazing - like some other dimension.

If you didn't know, kids in the UK don't study outside the home unless it's the library.

The increasing closures of libraries there should tell you how much they are used.

Not that I did that much studying at school, I hate to admit.

But as much as the keyboard warriors would like you to believe so, not every student acts entitled.

And there are plenty of others who hog seats with the excuse of a lone drink, but no books or learning to speak of.

Is it a case of people becoming less tolerant?

Even what used to be seen as a quaint local custom of "chope-ing" a table with a pack of tissue now seems to be viewed - mostly online, obviously - as a vile breakage of the social contract.

Sometimes, it can just be a case of actually asking.

"Can I have this chair?"

No, not all cases.

Yes, some people feel that their bags must have chairs of their own. Heaven forbid that they actually touch the floor.

Instead of assuming that a request will end in a stand-up argument destined to go viral, or staying silent and letting your ire bubble into a virtual rage, try communicating.

Nice words, that kind of thing.

It might just work.


This article was first published on November 2, 2014.
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