SINGAPORE: A cancer patient has revealed that she was kicked by a senior citizen who wanted a priority seat, in response to an account by another commuter that they were criticised for not giving up their seat despite suffering from an invisible illness.

The latter took to the internet to share that he got criticized by an elderly man for not offering his MRT seat. According to his post on the askSingapore subreddit, he was seated in the corner of the train, where only two seats were available when the elderly man boarded and stood nearby.

The person next to him, who was in a priority seat, immediately stood up and offered it to the elderly man. However, the situation quickly became uncomfortable for him when the elderly man, now seated, looked at him and posed the question, “Are you Singaporean?”

“I replied yes and he said I didn’t act Singaporean because I didn’t give up my seat to him,” the man wrote. “I then told him I had a health condition where I needed to sit as I get nauseas easily with my migraines.”

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After he explained his health condition, the man noticed that the elderly man’s face turned sour. 

The incident left him feeling perplexed, as he couldn’t understand why the elderly man felt the need to criticize him even though another person had already offered him a seat. He questioned: “Why did he have to try to call me out? seems so rude. I’m young and obviously look able bodied and healthy but I have a lot of ‘invisible illnesses’ and some days i really need the seat.”

“It’s already difficult enough trying to prove to doctors and people about my pain and I hate having to justify myself to strangers,” the commuter lamented.

“As entitled as they are, don’t give up your seat when you really need it more than them.”

The man’s post struck a chord with many Singaporeans, prompting them to share their experiences in the comments section. One individual who disclosed that she was battling cancer shared a similar story.

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During her treatment, she said she regularly wore a ‘May I have a seat please?’ yellow card and lanyard while occupying the priority seat.

However, despite wearing the card, an old lady “still rudely asked her to give up her seat” and kicked her leg when she didn’t.

“I really need the seat because I am sick. She still got the cheek to ask me what sickness I have. I just said I have cancer and showed her my puke bag,” she recounted, “Ah ma retreated. As entitled as they are, don’t give up your seat when you really need it more than them.”

Another individual, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, also shared that he got scolded by two aunties on the train for taking up the priority seat.

Noting that there were a lot of empty seats during that time, he said, “Can’t wait to flash my PET scan to these entitled aunties if they ever scold me again.”

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Some Singaporeans also criticized the elderly man for his behaviour, saying that the way he questioned the man seemed off and leaned toward judging people by nationality.

This kind of behaviour, they noted, was ironically “not Singaporean-like” as well.

One individual remarked, “You kind of fell into his verbal trap, there was no right answer as the person intended to embarass/scold you passively-aggressively. You say if you’re singaporean -> he accuses you. You say if you’re not singaporean -> he is going to stereotype that non-locals are rude.”

Another commented, “This type of “old” person just wants to flex that he is old and demands respect. Whatever answer you give, he will pick a fight with you, not worth your time and breath at all.

Just ignore such “old” people next time it happens again.”

Read also: Sympathy for migrant worker who occupied 4 seats as he lay down in MRT

Featured image by Depositphotos