Photo from My Manila.Riding the MRT is an exercise in patience, especially during rush hour, when you don't even need legs to get in the train...you'll get pushed in by the sheer power of--as my friend puts it--football-playing women (and it's a wonder why football never quite took off in this country). I speak from the point of view of somebody who only takes the women's car, a unique place in this world where the words "woman" and "lady" aren't synonymous at all.
Besides patience--a character trait that keeps you from bopping anybody in the head--it's kindness you have to practice (to avoid getting bopped in the head). Here are some tips on how to be a kind MRT passenger.
1. Do not push anyone in. Ok. So you're late. That doesn't entitle you to be a bully. You should have considered the time and the crowd when you left the office or house. It's not the fault of the person in front of you that you're running late; so it's kind to just let her use her own legs to get in the train. You'll have your turn. Relax.
2. Do hold your bag close to your body. Don't take up too much space because many people want to get in the train too. Besides, the more compact you are, the less chances of having to unearth your bag from the sea of human bodies if you're getting off at Shaw or some other "middle" station.
3. As much as possible, do not use your cellphone in the train. Not only is overhearing half a conversation quite annoying to other people, but also, in a crowded train, dipping your hand in your bag to get that gadget out and putting it in your ear (or texting with it) requires a lot of elbow space. You can constrict somebody's breathing with an elbow in the wrong place.
4. If you have a wet umbrella, please please please wrap it in plastic or put it in your bag. No one wants to get their feet dripped on or their pants soaked from somebody else's umbrella. Fellow passengers won't ever tell you that because it sounds whiny, so I'm saying it now.
5. If you are lucky enough to find a seat, do be ready to give it up for pregnant women, women with babies, or disabled people. Have a heart. (If people can't tell when you're feigning sleep, do remember that Someone up there can.)
6. Going out of the train requires excessive use of excuse-me's. When no one is moving out of your way, say it louder but don't push. Chances are, no one is moving yet because the doors are still shut. Don't start worming your way out when the train hasn't fully stopped yet. Maybe you don't, but many people understand the Law of Inertia. Wait a while and you'll see a way out when the crowd gets moving.
7. Like that obvious rule regarding elevators, don't rush in when people are coming out. Is it true that in a top 100 list of character traits of harried train passengers, common sense tallies in at 99? Prove it wrong.
8. If you're a dad accompanying your wife and kid(s) in the women's car, do not take a seat. Your wife can sit, and your kids can sit; but you should be a gentleman and let a woman or an elderly person sit. That's why it's called the female car. Oh, and be thankful no one is giving you the evil-eye.
9. Be a lady. And treat everyone else like a lady too. Even those addressed in number 8.