SINGAPORE – A photo posted on the All Singapore Stuff Facebook page has attracted widespread attention and even the eyes of special needs advocate Ho Ching, who shared the Mothership.sg media story on it.
The photo features a man seated in an MRT train, closely listening to the speaker on his phone. Beneath his seat, rested a dog, seated as if to avoid taking up too much floor space.
The photo was taken by a fellow commuter and uploaded onto Facebook along with a sarcastic caption: ”Eh, nowadays, can bring pet to MRT ah?”
Instead of siding with the ignorant man, however, many netizens defended the dog’s owner and highlighted the possibility that he might be visually-impaired and thus, in need of a service dog.
Upon closer look, the dog appears to be a labrador which is a breed commonly trained as guide dogs.
It also looked like it was wearing a guide dog’s harness.
According to Mothership, Guide Dogs Singapore’s Facebook page also indicate that the dog’s harness is similar to the harnesses worn by service dogs.
Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) has also made it legal for visually-handicapped commuters to bring service dogs onboard trains.
However, “the handler is required to carry a photo identification and this must be produced upon request.”
While netizens criticise the poster’s ignorance and perhaps foolishness, it signifies a deeper and greater issue at hand where Singaporeans are still unaware of the legal presence of guide pets on public transport.
Some neitizens commented:
Perhaps, beyond Ho Ching’s simple act of sharing the story of the ignorant shaming of the disabled man, there lies a significant lesson that Singaporeans should be more aware of guide pets’ legally-allowed presence on public transport.