Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Japanese Etiquette in Singapore

Taken from HERE

What i am going to blog today may not sit too well for most people.

With due respect to all Japanese, i do have the deepest admiration for their culture, especially their consideration for the society. This admiration was further impressed by the various variety shows hosted by Mark Lee; namely It's A Small World (国记交易所) and Gracious Planet (放心出去看).

I remember vividly one episode of Gracious Planet, on a train in Japan; one where everyone was quiet and even answering a phone call was frowned upon.

But that's Japan. What about the Japanese in Singapore?

I am not too sure about the others but since working in NUS (National University of Singapore) for over two years, my bus journey from Clementi on 189 involves stopping opposite Waseda Shibuya Senior High School. This means that there are always Japanese students taking the bus in the morning and evening.

A few appalling observations:

Some (i wouldn't say all) Japanese students will put their bags at the empty seats beside them. Even with the passengers packed as sardines in the bus, they will just continue talking to their friends seated in front of them (yes, in front) or reading their books.

Granted it can be a matter of overlook, but the number of times i saw it happened does not justify this.

And if you are thinking about the volume they emit, they were super noisy! Where is the consideration for the society? Or does that apply only to Japan? Could it be a tourist syndrome, where one behaves at home but misbehaves overseas?

It was raining heavily in Clementi a few hours ago and a Japanese student, the first to board the bendy-bus at the bus stop, proceeded to swing round and round the pole at the middle of the bus. It was marvellous as he swung for like, 5 times around the pole.

I almost felt like applauding but i also noticed that he was effectively creating a backlog of passengers who wished to move to the back of the bus.

He must be feeling damn proud of the attention he was getting; positive and negative.

My purpose of this post is not to say that the Japanese is no longer as socially considerate as before since the sample size was too small to begin with.

Like all things, nothing's perfect and we cannot assume that everyone behaves the same, no matter how strong a culture is.

There's only one thing i can confirm; the above-mentioned students were all male and thankfully, the Japanese girls are still like their counterparts back in their home country.....

No biased prejudice, whatsoever, is involved in these observations!


  1. Anonymous7:16 AM


    they are students...
    and typically, students are mindless and stupid..

    if u take a train in japan now, they still frown upon phone calls...
    It's the adults tt can think and make the difference


  2. Michelle...

    My aim is to remind everyone that no matter how great a society is, there will always be a handful of black sheep around.

    It also brings to mind a question; if those students are based in Japan, would they be the same?

    With international boundaries getting more and more blurred, would the society change?

    One way to find out; sponsor me an air ticket to Japan!



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