Singapore—Ahhh… public transportation shoulder sleepers, nearly everyone has had to deal with them at one point or another. At best, a sleeper course corrects upon contact with your person, apologises, and tries not to do it again. At worst, they land on your shoulder and invade your personal space until your—or their—stop.
No big deal, it’s a minor annoyance, most of us would say. And if a child does it, we usually allow him or her to take a nap while leaning on us or shake them awake gently in case they miss their station.
However, one netizen snapped a photo of an auntie on the train holding a toothpick at her side, next to a child, who may or may have not been sleeping. The netizen posted the photo on the Facebook page All Singapore Stuff, with the caption, “Kid fall asleep on auntie. Auntie dulan, want to poke die him.”
Commenters took pity on the child and criticised the older lady for her seeming lack of charity toward the child beside her.
One commenter wrote that the auntie might even get herself into trouble if she caused the child harm.
Yet others warned that it is not good to be judgmental since no one knows if the older lady was simply sitting with the toothpick in hand, having just used it or something (still gross, though.)
If the auntie had intended to use the toothpick to wake a sleepy bus or train seat-mate, child or otherwise, this would have been a foul move.
There are several things that people can do if someone inadvertently falls asleep on their shoulder when riding in public transport.
One possibility is to shift your position, which usually wakes the person falling asleep on you. Most of the time, this causes them to make an effort to stay awake, or if it’s possible, lean in the other direction so as not to bother you anymore.
Secondly, and more directly, is to tap them awake. A few gentle pats to their hand or shoulder should be enough of a sign that they have invaded your personal space and that they need to go back to their own.
If you are seated next to the wall, you could also offer to swap seats with the sleepy person beside you.
If the person beside you persists on still using your shoulder as a pillow despite your repeated actions to get him or her to stop, try to move to another seat. This should send the message loudly and clearly to them, and moreover, solve your problem./ TISG
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