'Tired' MRT commuter slammed for refusing to give up reserved seat

Don’t you just hate it when train commuters don’t give up their seats to people who need them more?

A Celine Chia felt the same frustration when she was standing in front of an able-bodied man, who was snoozing away while sitting in one of the reserved seats of the MRT. The man refused to give it up for another woman – later identified as Clare Zhang - who was “struggling with a baby boy strapped to her chest”.

Chia, 32, shared her encounter on Thursday on Facebook, with a photo of the man sleeping.

In the post, Chia said she “politely” asked the man to give up his seat to Zhang. The man’s reply seemed to have caught Chia off guard.

Facebook screengrab of a post showing MRT commuter being slammed. 
Facebook screengrab of a post showing MRT commuter being slammed. 

“So what, it’s my choice and I’m tired after work,” she quoted him.

Chia felt "embarrassed" she had to stand in front him during the train ride.

The man later said to her, “ You shouldn’t be, (because) I am not even embarrassed of myself!”

The heated conversation ended, and then there was “dead silence” in the train cabin, Chia noted.

The post has since garnered close to 8,000 shares and it even led to a mini reunion between Chia and Zhang.

“Hey Celine! No wonder I find you real familiar. I'm the mummy with the baby boy onboard the train earlier on. Thank you for speaking up! The lady next to this guy gave up her seat to me…”

Zhang said she eventually let her elderly mother sit instead as her son couldn’t stop kicking around.

“It’s actually more convenient to be at the corner seat when I can move further out and not cause any disturbance to the one next to us. Really appreciate what you did there, Thanks!”

The post also attracted comments echoing Chia’s sentiment.

“He's outright rude. No chivalry and compassion,” said a Daisy Teh.

“There is no reason for him to be so tired, and then sleep at the train cabin. Some more (it) is reserve [sic] seating,” said a Lim Siong.

In what appears to be a response to the uproar, the man at the centre of this highlighted on Facebook on Friday, about his heart condition that's causing him to feel tired.

"Personally, I have not been well and tired. In fact recently, I have been feeling my heart conditions again. Previously, I have seen a heart specialist before. I think it is just malice reporting. People do not have X-ray eyes. I will just let it go. People have different opinions, well I have my own health to take care of," said Cuthbert Syn, who appears to be an accountant, according to his LinkedIn.